Spain and Errington: Y2K was a graduate exam in critical thinking : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Most people overestimate their writing ability, artistic taste and love making abilities. We can add to this list critical thinking skills.

The vast majority of people never took the Y2K "test." From my perspective, there were intelligent, articulate people on both sides of the debate. The key to passing the test was to remain logical, rational and objective throughout the entire debate. Most people failed. The biggest error was to allow preconceived notions (or premature conclusions) to drive the analysis of the data. The folks who scored well considered all the available information and let the data drive the analysis. Another common error was letting social pressures of the forum compromise one's thinking. I'm sure forum veterans can name many others.

Some who blew the exam were "shocked" they were wrong. A few seemed like intelligent folks who held a fairly high opinion of their own analytical abilities. Steve Heller comes immediately to mind.

Should we be concerned that most people didn't bother taking the Y2K test? Should we be concerned that some people flunked... badly? My concern is the overal decline in critical thinking skills... unless I am simply more aware of this deficiency through the miracle of the Internet.

-- Ken Decker (, September 29, 2000


I agree with your last statement. I am more aware of how diverse the world is because of the internet. Most people only associate with people of similar backgrounds and experiences, work being the biggest "social ground". Through the internet we can communicate with a much broader group.

To directly answer the questions, no. People have had these skills (or lack of) to varing degrees. The only difference with Y2K is that the internet provided a conduit to allow you to view these varing levels.

-- Maria (, September 29, 2000.

To Ken Decker:

And where, specifically, have I "failed the test" in your estimation?

-- Peter Errington (, September 29, 2000.

I hate to say it, but I have to agree. Gawd, you would think, after all the time and effort (and thinking, to the best of my obviously limited ability) into understanding the potential impact of Y2K computer glitch, that SOMETHING significant SOMEWHERE would have urped and SOMEBODY would have noticed. True, I always said, "Nobody knows what is going to happen", but I expected a lot to happen. And I mean a hell of a lot.

All of us, I'm sure, have indeed blown tests for which we studied hard for. After the test is returned, we can usually see where we went wrong. Maybe, as Ken notes, we simply overestimated our understanding of the subject. Or we might have excelled in one particular aspect of what the test covered (e.g., software metrics) but were woefully unprepared for the rest of the test (e.g., social infrastructure).

Unfortunately, even now, with Y2K I have to ask: How could so many people have been so wrong??? And I don't mean JUST the doomers, either. Many pollies conceded that there would be some level of significant impact, albeit nothing that would come close to TEOTWAWKI, and certainly not in the U.S. and other nations that had been aware of the glitch and had devoted attention to it.

At this point, all I can offer as a personal opinion, is that: 1) The whole Y2K experience looks, smells, feels, and tastes like a hoax that was perpetrated on the unsuspecting; 2) Yet, I don't believe that it was a hoax; at least, not an intentional one.

Go figure.

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.cum), September 29, 2000.


Frankly, I don't remember enough about your specific position to gauge how well you analyzed Y2K. In general terms, I'd say you earned a decent grade if you presented a sound analysis that correctly determined the risk of a Y2K "meltdown" was infintesimal. You lose no points for making the modest preparations suggested by FEMA or the American Red Cross. You failed the test if you predicted rolling power outages, shortages, social unrest, bank runs, etc. In fact, you are still taking this exam. The extra credit question is: Can you correctly determine why you passed or failed part one of the exam?

-- Ken Decker (, September 29, 2000.


It just seemed like many people were wrong. No economist of note predicted a meltdown. The gloomiest, Ed Yardeni, put the depression risk at five percent. No major IT publication predicted significant problems. By the way, the "Wired" article was a joke in the IT world. I can go down the list, but for every "doomsayers" datum, I can see a thousand alternatives. Why do you think the Kia commercials were so successful? Because most of the world was laughing at the Y2K hysteria... not participating it.

-- Ken Decker (, September 29, 2000.

To Ken Decker:

Regarding your questions, about my past positions:

1. I never presented an analysis which concluded that TEOTWAWKI, a meltdown, would not happen. I just said so, a couple of times. Also, my continual point, that a recession was what I was afraid of, clearly indicated my view on this matter.

2. I wound up not prepping at all (though I initially gave consideration to prepping a little).

3. I didn't predict anything on your list (rolling power outages, etc.) This country has had recessions before without any of these.

Extra credit: I suppose you are referring to remaining "logical, rational, and objective throughout the debate." I think I pass with flying colors. Any bad language I have used has always been used logically, rationally, and objectively.

-- Peter Errington (, September 29, 2000.


I suppose that Y2K was a hoax in a mannner of speaking. It was a hoax to the extent that it was viewed as TEOTWAWKI. It wasn't a hoax in that there were things that had to be fixed but, they didn't have to be fixed to prevent TEOTWAWKI - they had to be fixed to prevnt a loss of business and profits. Even if nothing had been fixed, things still would have worked. They might have been slower, cost more, and not been on time, but we would have muddled through.

Business hates uncertainty so the fixes were to provide some certainty that the survival of the business wasn't threatened. Beyond that, a lot of the decisions were that things would get fixed as they broke - just like everyday in the real world. Somehow, this date problem got blown up into something that could cause real, huge, unsolvable problems. None of us who were working on Y2K thought that even a small number of big problems was likely and we did our best to communicate this. As Ken has written, most people chose to believe us. In your case, you didn't. Why? That's the question I still can't get my arms around. What was so different between the pessimists and the rest of the world? I still feel this goes much deeper than Y2K and it's going to happen again, someday, and maybe without such relatively innocuous results.

-- Jim Cooke (, September 29, 2000.


Several months ago someone did toss up a single intelligent post directly addressing the early 'mind control' aspect in a compelling way - including links. { My addled mind thinks that one was to one of the founders of computer sciencedom, who had an interest in this potential.} Unfortunately, the poster was a one time anon, & I don't think I bookmarked it.

Similar territory that Paula the Chowbabe was mining, but in a RADICALLY different presentation. Does Doc Paulie happen to have any meat to contribute in this area?

-- flora (***@__._), September 29, 2000.

We called Y2k doomerism a "kult". In reality it was "kult like thinking and behavior". The subject has been covered completely by Aaron Lynch. It was analogous to any "movement" with "True Believers" who take it as an article of Faith.......THEY MUST CONVERT THE NON-BELIEVERS. That is nice for the Kult Founders and propagators because that leads to PERPETUAL *RE-INFORCEMENT" of the "True Beliefs". HOW IT HAPPENED: 1. Based on a few "facts", an edifice was constructed that seemed "logical" (to those lacking either technical knowledge or knowledge of MacroEconomics and Banking). 2. By "extending" the "thinking" a bit, out came the "dominoes". 3. To re-inforce the thinking, EVERY LAST EXAMPLE OF "evidence" that backs the Edifice is/was used and ALL CONFLICTING INFORMATION was either ignored or relegated to "minor" or worse, deliberate "spin". 4. A Minister wrote me in 1998 that he had watched many "go down the slippery slope of conspiracy thinking and pessimism". 5. The opposite of the doomerism is FAITH IN YOURSELF AND OTHERS and their ability to perform. 6. AS NORTH POINTED TO ONE OF MY POSTS ON DE JAGER THAT IS STILL ON THE NET: ..........AMERICA WAS BUILT AND CONTINUES TO GROW BECAUSE.......THE FOUNDING CREDO OF AMERICA IS :




-- cpr (, September 29, 2000.

Damn, I think I was finally starting to get a clear picture of where I went wrong, until CPR popped in with that wacky "Kult" crap. But this is (for the most part) a good thread with excellent comments.

Of course, maybe I'm just hopeless (even though I have never be prone to "doomerism" other than Y2K). Maybe I should just throw in the towel, and get a tattoo that says, "Born To Be A Doomer".

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.cum), September 29, 2000.


I find that to be one of the more meaty areas about all of this, which was seldom discussed. Doc Paulie said on another thread,

In looking back on Y2k, many of us are left with the opinon Y2k was more about this medium than any supposed risk from a date issue in computers.

I am convinced of this, personally. Surfing the internet is hypnotic. I don't need an expensive brainwave monitor to know that I am in an altered state after most surfing sessions which are not studiously and consciously disciplined and directed by ME, from start to finish. This is something I have learned by observing myself. It is fairly subtle but if "I" just blithely follow the bouncing ball (the www hyperlinks) I do become increasingly suggestible, complete with alertness-reduction and thought-stopping, known correlates of greater suggestibility and also of meditation. This can be beneficial when intentional, the opposite when not.

And I mean not just that the www can become a time-waster unless I'm disciplined (it sure can), but that the very mental processes I engage when going on the internet for ANY purpose will wear down my will, my concentration, and even my sense of self. I sometimes come away from long internet sessions feeling like I literally don't know who I am any more, having fallen into a negative energy vortex and it takes me hours or even a day or more to reign-in my center of gravity so that it's in here [pointing to self] again and not somewhere OUT THERE. Sounds drastic I guess. It is a fairly subtle process that I do not know is happening until well under way. The hyperlinks start the process and it goes from there.

I sometimes think a pretty good definition for ADD is someone whose brain is on "permanent hyperlink" They carry around a world wide web in their brain! Critical thinking involves way more than jumping from thought to thought and receiving massive input. Essentially this is what you are doing when you surf. The basic "stuff" of thinking has to be introduced by YOU, and it had better be done consciously!

Perhaps some can relate to this experience? I wonder if a lot of it is me. I know I can be weird. But if there is a common thread here, this has obvious implications for the Y2k experience, to the extent that a great deal of the more wild and woolly speculation took place almost exclusively ON the internet. Also there was an early idealization of the democratic potential of the internet, which I think is still very much there. Just not enough cautions about its downside. Well, I have rambled enough. [grin]

-- Debbie (, September 29, 2000.

There was a TEST?

-- helen (b@q.f), September 29, 2000.

I find it funny that some cannot handle the concept that others might be (were) wrong. Somehow, I doubt that anyone is ever correct on every situation that has ever been presented to him or her.

Is it as Ken suggest, that people could not pass a graduate exam in critical thinking? I doubt it. People are People, and thus do not live up to others expectations. Not every person alive has had the opportunity to take graduate classes, let alone graduate classes in critical thinking. (Ken, please send me a university catalog of a University which offers this course, as I would love to sit in on it.) This is what makes up the wonderful world which every one of us lives. Wouldn't it be boring if all that existed were Kens? Or Flints? Or Cpr's? or KOS's? or Invar's? That sounds like a world which I wouldn't want to participate in. Hell, I would have a hard time living in a world with nothing but carbon copies of myself.

What some here refuse to acknowledge is the fact that if there hadn't been the differences of opinions on the possible outcome of an unknown, then there would not have been a debate. Granted a few people took things to extreme, on both sides of the line. Oh well... life goes on.

Sure, some people over did things, thinking that TEOTWAWKI was about to rain down on their heads. That is their right. Why should anyone try to stop them from their right to prepare for the end if that person isn't hurting anyone but themself?

Sorry, but I get so sick and tired of 9/10ths of the threads here that even remotely deal with the Y2K issue screaming about the extreme. Get a clue people, they aren't on this board anymore. You are preaching to the choir. But if it makes you, somehow, feel better about yourself, go for it. But why not address the issue with the people which you seem to have the problem with? Go get a logon to the other forums and take up the issue that they were wrong with them.

Turning My Rant Mode Off,


-- (Sheeple@Greener.Pastures), September 29, 2000.


Nobody is claiming that critical thinkers will all agree, anymore than skilled painters will all produce identical art. Thinking is a worthwhile skill to develop. While I agree that those whose minds simply shut down provided variety and entertainment, there is still value in learning from your mistakes. *Provided* you can admit you made one. I think that in some ways, watching the contortions some people go through to avoid this admission is as entertaining as the original errors -- *especially* since both phases rely so heavily on the same techniques, among which critical thinking is glaringly absent.

You can always skip threads that discuss thinking, of course. No need to offend yourself unnecessarily.

-- Flint (, September 29, 2000.

Logic was a required at the Jesuit University I attended for every student. Critical thinking was honed through the many required philosophy, theology and mathematics courses. I'm sure these classes are still available....

Clarity of thought is hardly boring. Insightful thinkers have the ability to disagree and it is the clash of genuine thinkers that often advances serious thought. It is not that we agree on the conclusions, but that we agree on the rules of logic, proof and method.

In my opinion, what is truly mind numbing is sitting around listening people spouting new age crap thinking they are re-inventing the laws of the universe. At university, this was known as getting really stoned.

What happened in America was that our native egalitarian streak somehow became twisted into this notion that all ideas have equal merit. Not only is this wrong, but it's dangerous. It slides the advancement of knowledge into the slum neighborhood of subjectivism.

Yes, Donna, people have the right to act out of sheer stupidity. They can buy "healing crystals," call the psychic hotline and look for winning lottery numbers in tea leaves. They can prepare for a Y2K apocalypse. Sure, celebrate our diversity, but let's not confuse the right to act with the rightness of an action.

-- Ken Decker (, September 29, 2000.


I actually enjoy threads that encourage thinking, even a debate. What I was really trying to say, for the most part, is that all of us on this board agree. However, there are a few exceptions that cannot get this simple fact into their gray matter.

When I see someone that paints me as the worst doomer simply because I made modest preparations for what could have been a downturn in my personal economy, I have to laugh. To the so called "doomers", I was a "Polly". To the "Pollies", I was a "Doomer". Compared to me Flint, you would have been one of the worst "Doomers" in regards to the actual preps that you made. If it is a matter of learning from ones mistakes, then I must ask you if you learned your lesson well, as you had a far more extensive lesson to be learned.

As far as myself, I never saw the end. I did see some potential problems, but nothing which would have brought the end of humanity, or even humanity as we know it.

But you are more than welcome to assume that I do not have the ability to think. Its a free world afterall.

-- (Sheeple@Greener.Pastures), September 29, 2000.


My personal favorite is, "There was no way of knowing what would happen with Y2K." As you aptly note, this ignorance is only possible through a careful avoidance of the available facts.

-- Ken Decker (, September 29, 2000.


A Logic class is not the same as a class in critical thinking. Critical thinking is not the subject for philosophy, theology and mathematics courses either, however most students do learn this valuable ability, especially at the graduate level.

How can people agree on the rules of logic, proof and method if they are not on the same level in thinking abilities?

If your logic thoughts are so correct, that the proof was out there, then how come hundreds of thousands of companies actually paid people to be on call for the actual rollover? I personally saw many huge companies willing to pay huge sums to have people standing-by for this non-event. Why not let them be with their friends and families to enjoy the celebrations. There were many collective *sighs* of relief in the hours just after the event. Guess they didn't have your logic. My thoughts, they were just trying to cover their butts just in case.

-- (Sheeple@Greener.Pastures), September 29, 2000.

Well, we all have to be alert for mental mistakes we might be making.

For example, Flint, it seems possible to me that you are allowing your experience with embedded systems, which is your field, to overly influence your judgements regarding software, which is not your field.

-- Peter Errington (, September 29, 2000.

Logic is the bedrock of critical thinking. Logic also lies at the heart of both philosophy and mathematics. Of course, philsophy also extends to aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology.

Unfortunately, critical thinking is not often taught except at the few institutions clinging to a classical education. Personally, I think we would be far better served as a society if we focused on skills like critical thinking and spent a bit less time spoon feeding our children revisionist history... but I digress.

Intelligence helps critical thinking, however, intellect is no assurance of clarity of thought. Do I really need to provide examples of bright individuals with addled thought processes? Just check any graduate school of social work.

As for why companies paid people for Y2K duty... I can only speak for the firms where I have some personal experience. I do know that corporations and government agencies make mistakes. I mean, what about "New Coke?" Firms do act out of self interest, even if this interest is based on imperfect analysis.

-- Ken Decker (, September 29, 2000.

Donna: Do you like to mudwrestle?

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.cum), September 29, 2000.

Spain, the mighty intellectual struggling with the great questions of Y2K... until he sees a female name. Gosh, Spain, I just can't figure out why no one takes you seriously. It would be much easier for you to forget about all this complicated Y2K stuff and just pop a porn video in the VCR.

-- Ken Decker (, September 29, 2000.

Konsidering that I is a product of the publik skools, I am serprised thet I have lernt as much thinking skilz as I got.

-- Uncle Deedah (, September 29, 2000.

Ken -- that last comment was not worthy of you. Other than that, I greatly appreciate your contributions to the forum. You are (in my opinion) one of the few who consistantly makes valuable and interesting observations.

-- E.H. Porter (Just, September 29, 2000.


I have to agree with E.H. on this one. I always found the King's invitation to mudwrestle provided a little humor in some otherwise grim debates. It's not clear to me that this diminishes anything else he says in the non-mudwrestling arena.

I also agree with E.H's assesment of your other contributions here. Since neither of us were on the receiving end of the type of vitriol that you were, I can understand some residual bitterness.

-- Jim Cooke (, September 30, 2000.

This is a delightful conundrum you bring to light here Ken. Much like asking the proverbial question "If y2k were a tree, which tree would it be?" The more this question is asked, the more relevant it becomes. Not just to the masses who could care less whether their next meal came out of McDonald's or a garbage can, but more to the myriad of experts who despite being so smart could at the same time be so wrong.

It reminds me of the '63 Phillies who prepared for the World Series but never made it that far. Were they failures? Were they doomers? Or were they the true optimists? I believe they as well as all who prepared for TEOTWAWKI were "the glass is half full" type of people.

The '63 Phillies were quite wrong, and to my perpetual amazement they did this without the internet. Could you imagine how wrong they would have been if they had been able to benefit from the internet? I am salivating just thinking about it as I am sure as you are.

Also, Ken, not to belittle your excellent observations, but I would not be too concerned that his highness (and I don't mean Sysman when he is smoking his doobs) continually asks women if they mudwrestle, I would be concerned though if he started asking men this question.

-- Euruodites (, September 30, 2000.


Here is one of Ken's messages to you from another thread:

"Spain, You miss the point. The personal attacks were just a smokescreen. You were a member of a cult defending your faith against heretics like Flint and me. The vicious attacks only proved that the true believers could not defend their faith on its own merits. This was pretty obvious to people outside the cult. Here's a lesson. When you're in a debate and the other guy starts calling you a dirty dog... you're probably winning.

-- Ken Decker (, September 29, 2000. "

Are you a smokescreen in this debate, since Ken went to the level of a personal attack against you?

-- (Has@Ken.LostIt?), September 30, 2000.

Decker didn't lose anything (he had little to start with). this case, he is correct. The Y2k Doom Set on TB-I WAS A CLOSED LOOP KULT OF "TRUE BELIEVERS". There was a agreement on the basic founding 'credos' and the mad desire to "proselytize" far and wide. When they were rejected by friends and family, they went "long distance" over the net. For a long time, many outposts of chatterers about Y2k existed but by Fall, 1999, the True Believers had condensed to TB-I and Hyatt-ski's. only part of the "cult like" behavior. It was identified by Aaron Lynch and popularized by the De-Bunkers who exposed it all.


-- cpr (, September 30, 2000.

Cooke, Porter and friends....

I suppose you'll find a "joke" asking black men if they sing the blues and tap dance equally amusing. Oh, how about Jewish sounding names? Spain can ask them if they are rich. Just wait for the ribtickler when Spain asks someone with a Native American handle if they "rain dance." Shall I continue, gentleman, or do you get the point?

Perhaps I just don't share your sense of humor. Asking an anonymous woman if she will perform in a sexually suggestive manner (with another woman) just doesn't strike me as terribly amusing. In fact, Spain's boorish question seems to extend the notion that it is permissable to treat women like sexual objects.

I will continue to confront statements I find offensive... including statements of a racist or sexist nature. Of course, the truly dense will interpret this as a personal attack.

-- (, September 30, 2000.


I think that Ken, Flint and many others do have some residual bitterness over the way they were treated by the "forum bullies" (like me) back at ye olde TB2K. I'm surprised that it does not surface more often than it does, considering.


I never saw the forum at ye olde TB2K as cult-like. There was a feeling among many that it was a PREPARATION forum, meant to be a place where people who had ALREADY DECIDED that Y2K was going to be bad enough to prepare for, could exchange information, brainstorm, compare notes, share feelings, etc., etc. There was, I think, a lot of resentment towards people who came there to simply want to debate the entire premise as to whether Y2K would be all that worrisome.

There are a lot of things that, in hindsight, would have helped the entire "doomers vs pollies" mentality. If Ken's original post at TB2K -- which he himself did not actually post, it was pasted by someone from another forum -- had been presented differently, it would have been recognized as actually providing a wealth of technical information for those who were taking a fortified approach to Y2K. If there had been established ground rules as to what would be grounds for censorship, that would have avoided a lot of conflict, too. That is what is so great about hindsight....

To summarize: Put a bunch of very worried people together, trying to do their best to prepare for themselves and their families, with a fast approaching deadline, and mix in people who want to calmly debate whether preparation is necessary, or whether it is even feasible (as many of Ken's posts touched upon), etc., and what you get is what we saw. I'm sure that this would apply to a lot of situations. I doubt it constitutes a "cult". (Though people who rattle on about "memes" tend to act, in my opinion, like cultists. Take away the imaginary "meme", and their entire belief system caves in.)

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.cum), September 30, 2000.

Actually, Spain, I have no personal grudge against you. You simply remind me of the man who is still telling racist jokes. You just don't get it. News Flash: What you find amusing may offend others. Querying every woman about their interest in sexually suggestive entertainment is not only rude, it is sexist. If you tried this boorish behavior in real life, it wouldn't take long before someone opened a can of "whoop ass" on you... and rightfully so.

Congratulations, Spain. You are officially part of the inevitable price a civil society pays for freedom of expression.

-- Ken Decker (, September 30, 2000.

Just because there was not a TEOTWAWKI, and
the press abruptly quit reporting on Y2K
glitches after the roll-over, does not mean
that there were not a significant impact
because of the Y2K problem.

The same articles written about pre-roll-over
were splattered with references to Y2K. The
same problems when reported in the year 2000
had no mention of the dreaded 'Y' word. Why is

Rolling blackouts world-wide, oil shortages,
computer glitches all happened as predicted.
True, the scenario painted by the Gartner
Group never materialized, but there was and is
a significant disruption in many areas of
society throughout the world.

There is a strong disincentive for any
organization to report that they had a Y2K
related problem. The insurance industry in
December of 1998 stated that they would not
cover any losses that were Y2K related. The
courts are full of cases where the insurance
companies are being sued because of not
covering Y2K related problems.

If one has his/her head in the sand, all that
they will see is sand.

-- spider (, September 30, 2000.

Decker is right, spain. It was funny the first few times, but you are really milking it. sorry

-- cin (cin@=0.)), September 30, 2000.


You may be overestimating your own ability - to appreciate satire.

Note that he didn't get around to querying all the women, and some were miffed. When KoS recently returned to this board, consumer complained that he'd never asked her sister! What I want to know is how did he keep them all straight? { Did he keep a list?} Speaking of straight - the time he asked Dana, who turned out to be a guy, was one of the funniest things I remember. It took him a long time to get around to asking Git - I think it was ony after much pressure, and her experience with the hurricane or flood. Didn't it crack you up when Paula quoted him, using his e-mail addy? Come on now...

Humor is not always supposed to be politically correct. It may not fit into to your 'method', but to me it is a valuable quality in discourse. Actually, your wit is often a saving grace, but your style is obviously decidedly different. It takes all kinds. I enjoyed the opportunity to let off steam in a time and place where everything was taken way too seriously. Sheesh, it was the best running joke we had, & something all of us will remember - one way or another.

Gotta agree with Cooke.

-- flora (***@__._), September 30, 2000.

Thanks, flora; sorry, cin. It is pretty off-beat. And it does take all kinds, and when discussing deadly serious topics, sometimes off- beat can be a blessing.

Of course, in Ken's case, it was only when he dropped the "Mr. Decker" handle that he seemed to mellow out a bit. Or, at least, people started feeling a bit more comfortable discussing anything with him. As opposed to the very pompous image he projected, intensional or otherwise.

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.cum), September 30, 2000.

King of Spain,

Thank you for the offer to mud wrestle. I take it as a compliment that you should ask me to perform such for you.

To Ken,

When I see such an offer from KOS, I assume (maybe wrong) that he is in agreement with the female to which he offers the invite. If ever I should have a problem with the King offering to watch me mud wrestle, I shall release my sharp tongue upon him with a lashing he would not soon forget.

I told you that I would continue the discussion which we have started this morning, and I shall have to postpone until later on today, as I have some important things to complete. Finished laundry and clean toilets are the rule for the morning. I do so hope that your shopping excursion was successful.


-- (Sheeple@Greener.Pastures), September 30, 2000.

In keeping with the spirit of nostalgia that has recently washed over the forum:

"Will someone here plese give me some background on the King of Spain?" {asked by Lady Logic}

"OT King of Spain...put up or shut up!"

"More on ice balls in Spain:"

-- flora (***@__._), September 30, 2000.


No need to despair. Even critical thinking has been prepackaged for you. See:

Critical Thinking Community

Go to it!

Best wishes,,,,


-- Z1X4Y7 (, September 30, 2000.


You know, while we're on the subject, I recall being involved in a serious discussion on a thread last fall. Then you came on and envisioned me and two other female posters involved in the discussion -- LL and a poster named Marti (I think) -- as the Petticoat Junction chicks cavorting around together in some sort of mud-related scenario. I think barrels had something to do with it. And you had the chutzpah to blast it out on a public forum.

Well, I think you should know something about the feelings I've been carrying around with me all this time on that. And I finally get a chance to to vent my spleen on it. Well, I think I can boil my response to you down to just two words, from which maybe you'll get a hint of what that did to me and to my respect for you:

Thank you.

-- eve (, September 30, 2000.


Last thought { & suprisingly back on topic! )

"Should we be concerned that most people didn't bother taking the Y2K test? Should we be concerned that some people flunked... badly?"

Yes we should be concerned that most didn't bother to take the test, because most aren't prepared to the degree recommended by FEMA & the Red Cross, despite the fact that this 'potential threat' got lots of press and had a known date. Should it matter that preparation wasn't needed this time? Do you think the impact of sailing through the CDC might make folks even more blase about attending to their own more likely risk factors?

We should absolutely be concerned that some flunked. In looking for the Spain threads, I found it quite illuminating to go through the archives a spell. cpr will be gratified to know I cruised the threads with 'cult' in the title to follow the thought processes. { I'd also like to ask you the question about NORM's identity that Flint dodged, - do you know? }. I don't understand why more people aren't interested in exploring their own Achilles heel, 'cept for the feeling that salt is being repeatedly rubbed into the wounds. We invested a great deal of ourselves, it's worth attending to. {Cue Santayana, please}.

In pawing through some old papers, I found one from the National Institute for Urban Search and Rescue dated 2/99. Their focus is on incident command for potential risk factors, not including the 'bug'. Here's an excerpt that I feel pertains to this discussion:


Emergency Managers today, are living in the Age of Information. However, as a profession, we have not embraced the changes, either in technology or in society that the new age has brought. There is one obvious area for immediate rectification. Risk information pertaining to the area must be available to the emergency manager and to the survivng community..."

As a manager, I assume you're concerned about critical thinking skills - even as they relate to appropriate levels of preparedness. I don't have any answers, but I would appreciate reading your further thoughts on the topic.

-- flora (***@__._), September 30, 2000.

Helen, LOL, LMAO, Exactly my thought. If I knew it was an exam I would have studied!

-- Maria (, September 30, 2000.

"My concern is the overal [sic] decline in critical thinking skills... unless I am simply more aware of this deficiency through the miracle of the Internet."

We are fortunate to have a self-appointed head master to look over us poor, non-critical, thinkers. America is a wonderful place.

"Ah, Finnegan, why did you fail me and die."

Best wishes,,,,,


-- Z1X4Y7 (, September 30, 2000.


You mentioned the "New Coke". Yes, consumers didn't care to much for the taste, so CCB brought back the classic. Funny, but somehow that classic just didn't quite taste like the origional, much as they claimed it was the same. The consumers noted the difference, but I guess it could be faulty logic that the new classic would taste like the origional version.

Again, I must ask you, if your analysis is so perfect compared to huge corporations imperfect analysis, how come you are not consulting with these corporations to make sure they are using your perfection. The end consumer, which is practically everyone, would be ever so grateful for you. You could leave your mark on mankind.

Think of the pharmaccology field, and how it could greatly benefit from your services, as they do spend so much effort on analysis. This would keep the price of needed drugs down, as the research would be shortened. The elderly of this country would cherish you.

-- (Sheeple@Greener.Pastures), September 30, 2000.

***I shall release my sharp tongue upon him with a lashing he would not soon forget. ***

Sheep, great line. Mind if I use that sometime? LOL

-- cin (cin@=0.)), September 30, 2000.


I think I understand your objections over KOS' mudwrestling comment to women, but I believe they are misplaced. I, like Donna, always felt that KOS' intention were that he was either impressed by the post a woman made, or expressed his agreement with her in his own humorous way. I also felt that KOS used the anonymous cloak of the internet to express a deep hidden fantasy of his, in a harmless way. I never took this as being sexist, because it was a question reflecting on him and meant humorously. If however, he made a comment to any women such as, "You don't know what you're talking about, go back to mudwrestling you're more interesting that way", then to me this would have been an offensive sexist comment (as opposed to an offensive non-sexist comment if "go back to mudwrestling" was left out.)

I believe that the sexism issue women have with men is misunderstood and misinterpreted. For me at least, the knowledge that men have fantasies, desires and many misconceptions about women as much as we do about men, enables me to discern a truly sexist comment as opposed to an inoffensive suggestive comment.

BTW, I find both yours and KOS' comments and insights on this forum very interesting and valuable.

-- Sweet Lady (who@doesn't.mudwrestle), September 30, 2000.

I wrote a long response that was "eaten" by the server. I'll consider it divine intervention.

Flora, I did answer your question about preparedness. If I can boil it down to one point... Y2K was like "Desert Storm." Both situations allowed a maximum response time to bring ample resources to bear. The next war or crisis is not likely to be nearly as easy.

Donna, the "Reader's Digest" version of my response... Whatever my talents, who are you to suggest I pursue other work? In this suggestion is the judgement that my current job is less "important" than what you would have me do (if I am really smart). While I appreciate the interest, I must respectfully deline your offer to manage my life.

By the way, the fact I was relatively accurate in my Y2K (if not my economic) prediction does not qualify me for leadership of the free world. I did pass the Y2K exam. Maybe I got lucky. Maybe I'll fail the next big test.

-- Ken Decker (, September 30, 2000.

No disrespect intended, but you guys are making this (hiccup) way too hard. You may wish me happy birthday. KOS had better ask me to mudwrestle again now that I'm older.

-- helen (b@q.j), September 30, 2000.




I have a feeling that some may be even more apathetic in their personal lives, as if they'd heard the 'boy who cried wolf' & further neglect their own responsibilities. Will elaborate more tomorrow, if you want, but I figure you've got the gist.

Later gators -

-- flora (***@__._), October 01, 2000.

Happy Birthday Helen!

-- LetMeBeTheFirstToSAy (Happy@Birthday.toyou), October 01, 2000.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO: helen, Mud Warrioress

Throughout all of Spain, she is revered,
The common people do love her so.
For her beauty, for her courage, for her prowess,
The magnificent helen, mud warrioress.

When she rides into a village upon her horse,
The men look upon her with lust,
And the women with envy.
For her beauty is so overwhelming,
Her sleek body so sensuous,
Her eyes so captivating.
The magnificent helen, mud warrioress.

When night falls, all come to watch her do battle,
With the women who would try to take her glory.
Even as the mud is oozing,
And the damsels are struggling,
Their passionate cries exciting,
She is at peace.
The magnificent helen, mud warrioress.

When the morning comes,
And she departs for the next village,
She is satisfied with her victories,
With which she honors herself, her family, her village,
But most of all, her King.
The magnificent helen, mud warrioress.

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.cum), October 01, 2000.

Spain, have you been watching Xena? LOL

-- cin (cin@=0.)), October 01, 2000.

Happy Birthday, helen!

And a wonderful and deserving tribute, your highness.

Hey helen...I'm glad to see that "hiccup" of yours was dated September 30 (from your party, of course -- what else?), and not from this morning.

-- eve (, October 01, 2000.

Happy birthday Helen.

Ken, your thread has been hijacked, lol.

-- Uncle Deedah (, October 01, 2000.

Thank you guys! KOS -- I'll cherish THAT to my grave!

Sorry for hijacking your thread, Ken. Please continue with the debate.

Does anyone know where we keep the aspirin around here?

-- helen (b@q.l), October 01, 2000.

Ah, well, I'm not sure this thread was going anywhere. Congratulations, Helen, on your birthday.

I'm not sure what is more offensive, Spain's sexist comments or his bad poetry. (chuckle) However you individually might feel about invitations to mudwrestle, I think the behavior inappropriate. An important part of a civil society is taking care to avoid offending others. I think this concept has been eroded, particularly during the American 60s. We have become a coarse and vulgar society, largely because there are no longer social sanctions for boorish behavior. Look at "road rage," or professional wrestling matches, "Jerry Springer," or children who treat their parents like servants. This is millieu where manners are considered far less important than "candor."

Oh, I believe in "free expression." The appropriate balance to this right is a responsibility... one enforced by social contract, not by law. Rude people should be ignored, or chastized. They should face social consequences for ugly behavior. The should not receive the approval (or even tolerance) of a civil society.

-- Ken Decker (, October 02, 2000.

Oh hum...Such righteousness in civility need a closer look.

"An important part of a civil society is taking care to avoid offending others."

That is a correct statement, Ken. And a big part of taking care to avoid offending others is to not be condescending and self-righteous. KOS does not come across as self-righteous nor condescending in anyway to women in general. Yourself on the otherhand, continually demonstrate condescention in your posts. Condescention is disrespect by another name. Disrespect does not lead to civil discourse.

"We have become a coarse and vulgar society, largely because there are no longer social sanctions for boorish behavior."

That is also relatively correct. In so far as every classes of society can now communicate with each other via the internet and the media in general much more easily than in prior generations. I would like to point out though that there's always been the vulgar and the boorish in society. You are simply not sheltered from them as well in this day and age.

The most "civil" societies in history have done the greatest harm to humanity. The British and the French, with their highly sophisticated code of conduct and decorum, have plundered, raped and destroyed less "civil" societies to dominate them.

My opinion is that you have a distorted view of what civility should be. Your intentions are obviously to dominate the conversation and come out on top. Your thin cloak of civility actually looks vulgar to me.

-- Ms. No Manners (, October 02, 2000.

Sheesh, Deck,

Even Shakespeare had his Motley Fool.

-- flora (***@__._), October 02, 2000.

Ms. No Manners: Do you like to ... uh .. you know...

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.cum), October 02, 2000.

Since in forum tenure I'm fairly long in the tooth, I'd like to add another two cents.

To the best of my recollection, the mudwrestling hit first on a particularly rough, contentious thread with Maria. Now you know that she can give as good as she gets, and let me tell you - she was taking no prisoners. Way down the thread comes this absurd, uncomfortable, yet simple question. It seemed so out of place, yet right on the mark, that I was immediately howling. Folks just took offense, or politely ignored the weirdness for a long, long time. But he was as steady as they come, never being more elaborate or vulgar than to first ask 'Do you like to...?'.

I too remember when I was asked. It was on a long thread where an anon named 'wifey' claimed that her husband watched Howard Stern, or something terribly sinful. Her descriptions of her marrige were pretty hellacious. I posted that I didn't know what scared me more - her version of Marital Law - or Martial Law. Without missing a beat, His Majesty popped the question.

Of course society has changed, with a rougher surface. But you're starting to sound like 'a' & his 'good old days'. Do you think Jack Benny's career was wrong because as a Jew, he shouldn't have reinforced a stereotype by playing a skinflint? How about Mae West as a 'woman of ill repute'? Or Gracie Allen as a ditzy dame? Stan Laurel portraying a menatlly challenged person? Richard Pryor crossed the race line from both directions, as Chris Rock continues to this day. Maybe these things serve highlight our insensitivites, in a bearable way, and have the effect of tricking us into reconsidering our own behavior.

You sound like you're afflicted with nostalgia, gussied up in another guise.

Want a Walnetto?

-- flora (***@__._), October 02, 2000.

"Ms. No Manners: Do you like to ... uh .. you know..."

Mudwrestle? No thank you. Way too beneath me and dirty. But I don't mind a good pillow fight...on a bed with satin sheets, scantily clad in silk lingeries, feathers flying with our long hair and sticking to our sweaty bodies...

-- Ms. No Manners (, October 02, 2000.


-- cin (cin@=0.)), October 02, 2000.

First, I am sorry you find my writing "condescending." I use complete sentences and (generally) correct grammar. I do have limited patience for sloppy thinking, but you will not find me engaging in racist or sexist behavior.

There is a substantive difference between criticizing ideas and attacking people. I have no qualms about deconstructing a bad argument. The gender, race or faith of my opponent is never an issue.

The fact that you find Spain amusing does not change the character of his remark any more than if you had a good belly laugh over a "black joke." As a sign of progress, racist jokes are far less acceptable today than they were 100 years ago. Society has become less tolerant of the many "isms."

Unlike "a" I have no desire to return to the past. In many areas, however, it is difficult to discern much progress. I do think educational standards have dropped, as have the requirements for respect in some settings. Some students have always been poorly behaved, but a greater level of disrespect is tolerated today.

My real issue here is the flawed thinking that defends Spain's knee jerk retort to any female handle on the forum. The simple fact is that Spain's remark will offend some women (and some men). Should we encourage a standard of civility that says all long as some people find a joke funny, it's OK?

-- Ken Decker (, October 02, 2000.

Sorry Ken, I think we're talking past each other here. Maybe I just don't agree with your definition of flawed thinking in this particular case. Is it because I was warped at an impressionable age by a great passion for the Theater of the Absurd? { My profound apologies to Ionesco for slighting him on the 'Spain's character' thread }. Though I concede that you do make a compelling argument, my personal opinion will remain different from yours.

-- flora (***@__._), October 02, 2000.

Ken, come down a level or two for a minute and consider this:

Myself for example, find your critisism of KoS about his mudwrestling comment as doubly condescending. One, you consider KoS sexist and uncivilized because he does not meet your standards of good taste and civil manners, and two, you imply that women cannot defend themselves from his comment if they find it offensive. (Chivalry is chavinist when women don't need the help.)

It's obvious to me that women on this forum find it cute and are not offended, and it's also obvious to me that KoS is flirting with them, not being sexist, and it's apparently working for him.

If you're not careful and drop the issue, I'll start wondering wether you're jealous of KoS' success with women ;)

-- (, October 02, 2000.


My first point involves condescending writing. Tone indicates more the condescending nature of any writing, instead of complete sentences and correct grammer.

If the women of this forum have no problem with King of Spain posting his invitations to mud wrestle, then why should you? Are you not trying to impose your thoughts onto him or this forum by attacking him when he posts such inviatations? If you don't like them, scroll on by.

Here is a link that starts to address the digital divide that is occuring because of the internet. Since more and more people are getting access to the internet, this divide is growing. People either need to learn to accept this fact, or simply unplug.

-- (noone@nowhere.nohow), October 02, 2000.

I consider Spain sexist because he asks women if they mudwrestle and usually extends this question with other sexually suggestive remarks.

Consider this action taken in a social context. A man walks up to an anonymous woman on the street and asks, "Would you take off your clothes and dance for me?" This would be considered an impolite request by most community standards.

If I witness this event, your argument says that if I say anything, I imply a woman cannot defend herself. This is simply false. My comment to Spain is not based on a woman's ability to defend herself, but rather my sense of affront.

Let me use a different context. If a Klansman is standing at the corner yelling racial slurs, it offends me. If I choose to express this opinion to the Klansman, it does not mean I think African- Americans are unable to speak for themselves. It simply means I share a sense of outrage, even if the slurs are not directed towards me.

Even if some African-Americans find the Klan amusing, I still have a right to be offended. I don't have to like the word "nigger" even when used by Blacks.

Expressing my opinion is not "imposing" my thoughts on Spain or anyone else... it's exercising the same right that Spain uses every time he asks a woman to "mudwrestle." I do not "scroll by" because it is that very willful ignorance that has allowed sexism, racism and other problems to continue.

The world is full of people who think they are fair, unbiased and decent... and yet they laugh at the "blonde" jokes, "fat" jokes, Black jokes, homosexual jokes. Frankly, I'm not sure which group I find more deplorable... the people telling the jokes or the people pretending not to listen.

-- Ken Decker (, October 02, 2000.

Fine Ken, I understand your position, and I'm not trying to change your mind. You're who you are.

"The world is full of people who think they are fair, unbiased and decent..." and "Most people overestimate their writing ability, artistic taste and love making abilities. We can add to this list critical thinking skills."

Well then Ken, your problem is that you're obviously way superior to most people and you suffer in concequences. C'est la vie.

-- (, October 02, 2000.

"Consider this action taken in a social context. A man walks up to an anonymous woman on the street and asks, "Would you take off your clothes and dance for me?" This would be considered an impolite request by most community standards."

Of course, that's a no brainer. But in context, that's precisely what made it funny. I can't speak for all the dolls, but I've never been asked IRL. Usually guys ask tacky, slimey questions when nobody else can hear. In front of Gawd & everybody here was 'the King of Spain' in madrid... on the internet discussing TEOTWAWKI, for Pete's sake. In context, it's all too bizarre, and it still amuses me.

I imagine feminine pangs of jealousy reverberated throughout all of 'Spain' at helen's pome {yes, I meant P-O-M-E}

We were/are an eccentric bunch, hasn't it dawned on you yet?

-- flora (***@__._), October 02, 2000.


I am, at best, an average writer and possess woeful artistic taste. I cannot sing, play any musical instruments nor hit a 20' jump shot with any regularity. But all this is beside the point, because I am not the issue here!

The real concern is how people deal with sexism, racism, etc. It does not take a "superior" person to stand up to prejudice. All you need are principles and a bit of grit. Of course, it is easier to hide behind the notion of "free speech" and "tolerance." It's more convenient to ignore the racist joke, the off color innuendo. I'm surprised no one has dusted off the old "boys will be boys" cliche in Spain's defense.

After all, Smarty, isn't that the intellectual high water point of your argument? "Hey, the women don't seem to mind, some even think it's funny." "If you're offended it's your problem... and you ain't even a woman." The poverty of your argument is highlighted by your personal attack... the sarcastic suggestion that my "superiority" is the problem here.

It is wrong to make sexually suggestive comments to random women. It is wrong to treat a Internet forum participant like a sexual object because they post under a female handle. Please note, I'm not talking about mutual flirtation or friendly banter... I'm talking about Spain asking about lap dances before he says, "Hello."

If you want to prove this is appropriate behavior... please feel free. But don't insert a gratuitious personal attack and expect me to treat it like a real argument.

-- Ken Decker (, October 02, 2000.

I am a blonde and I happen to love blonde jokes. Know any good ones? heehee =)

-- cin (cin@=0.)), October 02, 2000.


I have no problem with eccentricity. As for context, Spain has done this same shtick dating back to the old forum. Anyone posting under a female name has been fair game. OK, you found this funy. Does this mean no other woman (or man) has the right to be offended? If you hear a really "entertaining" black joke, does your amusement make the joke acceptable? How about "clever" quips about the disabled? How long do you think Spain would stay employed if he made a habit of asking female coworkers to mudwrestle?

The Internet is an anonymous medium. Spain can misbehave like a naughty little boy with virtually no real consequences... but does this make his behavior appropriate? If you wouldn't say something in real life, isn't that a reasonable guide to propriety on the 'net?

-- Ken Decker (, October 02, 2000.

Hey Ken,

Didn't you once call Old Git a crone? That, coupled with your references to the biddy eve, could be construed by a politically correct person, possessing superior writing skills, into to a rational argument that you may have ageist & sexist issues of your own which you air in public.

Good thing I couldn't & wouldn't turn those tables, huh.

-- flora, Queen of the run-on sentence (***@__._), October 02, 2000.

Ms. No Manners:


Yes, that is fine, that is close enough. Whew. Thank you for sharing....

Breathlessly yours,

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.cum), October 02, 2000.

Ken, thank you for the birthday greeting. I NEVER find your writing style condescending.On the flip side, KOS never offends me either. To help illustrate why that is, I've got a story.

My husband, bless him, never got around to giving me a wedding ring. After the first few kids, that lack led to welfare-mother lectures in public from people with more time than manners. The last time I was pregnant, I worked in an office. A very nice man rented a room in our building for a conference he was leading.

I knew that man. He was dating my friend. He was a martial arts instructor, and he had punched me and I had punched him on several occasions over a couple of years. On the day of the conference he was pressed for time and I had my hair combed, so he didn't recognize me. I thought he had recognized me by the friendly way he spoke to me, and I responded to him as a friend.

The next morning I found a note under my office door ... um ... it was very, very sweet and complimentary. He asked me to call him so we could go out for dinner.

I was five months along with my umpteenth child. I hadn't been asked in out years. Maybe you just have to be a woman to know how much his interest meant to me. It meant I wasn't invisible. I can't explain it any better than that.

We got things quietly straightened out, and my husband gave me a wedding ring.

-- helen (b@r.w), October 02, 2000.


I defend your right to be offended. You go awry in my eyes when you take it out of context to evaluate it.

I know you saw this above, but you're barking up the other side of the tree:

"Do you think Jack Benny's career was wrong because as a Jew, he shouldn't have reinforced a stereotype by playing a skinflint? How about Mae West as a 'woman of ill repute'? Or Gracie Allen as a ditzy dame? Stan Laurel portraying a menatlly challenged person? Richard Pryor crossed the race line from both directions, as Chris Rock continues to this day. Maybe these things serve highlight our insensitivites, in a bearable way, and have the effect of tricking us into reconsidering our own behavior."

To anwer a couple of your questions, many jokes are not funny and they do offend. I've worked in hostile environments, and had men come up to me on the street with improper advances. You've got an interesting topic here, though. I wouldn't still be here otherwise.

To me, true comedy is an art form, not unlike poetry. It moves us emotionally.

-- flora (***@__._), October 02, 2000.

If memory serves, I called Git a "harridan." The essence of this insult is not in gender, but in character. Upon reflection, "harpy" would have worked equally well. As for Eve, I have never called her a "biddy." I simply said her arguments do not reflect 48+ years of real world experience. She writes as if the world works according to the most recent book on her nightstand.

Like most veterans of last year's forum, I became entangled in some bitter arguments. If you were there, you might recall I fought with men and women on equal terms. Unlike my willing opponents, I apologized when my behavior was excessive.

So... Spain's behavior is OK because I called Old Git a name last year? And you wonder why I have little patience for lousy logic.

-- Ken Decker (, October 02, 2000.

Good grief helen,

My former dentist hit on me big time when I was very pregnant. Nothing like sitting whale-like in a dentist's chair, with a broken tooth, & a guy getting verbally 'friendly' with his hands in your mouth. Yipes!

Uh, Ken,

Your thread's been hijacked again.

-- flora (***@__._), October 02, 2000.


I agree that men and women are often flattered by attention. If you have a daughter, how would you want a young man to express his interest towards her? The "Spain" school of romance is the verbal equivalent of grabbing a woman's backside. Do you really want young men asking your daughter if she mudwrestles? There are classy, elegant ways to express interest... and I think women should expect better than "Hey, baby. Hey, baby."

-- Ken Decker (, October 02, 2000.

Harridan is a female reference - like hag, shrew, or HARPY.

I call eve 'biddy' in jest, as I'm right between her & your whippersnapperhood in chronology, yet I often feel older than sin.

The logic was one of situational ethics, toots.

-- flora (***@__._), October 02, 2000.

arrghh...Ken, you're way more tenacious and articulate than I am, and it's frustrating for me trying to point out to you your own quirks.

Someone quoted a line from Robert Burns on another thread which meant "if only we could see ourselves as others see us", so appropriate here.

"I am, at best, an average writer and possess woeful artistic taste. I cannot sing, play any musical instruments nor hit a 20' jump shot with any regularity. But all this is beside the point, because I am not the issue here!"

You don't see yourself as the issue, but flora, Ms. No Manners, me and others defending KoS' comment do. (I'm not defending KoS, I'm defending his mudwrestling comment as not being sexist.)

The real concern is how people deal with sexism, racism, etc. It does not take a "superior" person to stand up to prejudice. All you need are principles and a bit of grit. Of course, it is easier to hide behind the notion of "free speech" and "tolerance." It's more convenient to ignore the racist joke, the off color innuendo. I'm surprised no one has dusted off the old "boys will be boys" cliche in Spain's defense.

I completely agree with you that one doesn't need to be superior to stand up to prejudice, but since only you seem to think KoS' comment is prejudiced, the issue then reverts to WHY YOU see it as prejudiced. As flora has pointed out, the context in which King of Spain (funny egotistic handle) makes the comments, are seen by women as just that. He's PLAYING a role of a sexist sex crazed egomaniac, and the women play along. The sexist man on the street would be offensive because he would be taken as serious. And equating KoS' comment with a racist making "nigger jokes" is a stretching it to the breaking point. Jews and blacks will take some mild ribbing at themselves from non-jews and white friends, but not from strangers. Here we're NOT all strangers, we're a forum community.

"After all, Smarty, isn't that the intellectual high water point of your argument? "Hey, the women don't seem to mind, some even think it's funny." "If you're offended it's your problem... and you ain't even a woman."The poverty of your argument is highlighted by your personal attack... "

You've downgraded the quality of my argument to below my own education, I don't talk this way and haven't written it this way, but in essence, yes.

"...the sarcastic suggestion that my "superiority" is the problem here.""

Well at least you can discern sarcasm, if not inofensive suggestive humor. And aren't you sarcasticly retaliating back with the way you parapharased me? We could be throwing daggers at each other all day with white gloves, but civilized or not, it's still flaming.

"It is wrong to make sexually suggestive comments to random women."


"It is wrong to treat a Internet forum participant like a sexual object because they post under a female handle. Please note, I'm not talking about mutual flirtation or friendly banter... I'm talking about Spain asking about lap dances before he says, "Hello." "

See my prior response about context.

"If you want to prove this is appropriate behavior... please feel free. But don't insert a gratuitious personal attack and expect me to treat it like a real argument."

Thank you for allowing me to attemtp to prove anything. But let me here again point out that you yourself attack my reasoning and observation gratuitiously. This behavior should be below you, because you do have excellent critical thinking skills (IMHO, ofcourse), and your rationalization does not appear logical to me, but defensive.

-- (, October 02, 2000.

The gentle art of hijacking...

There's a semantic difference between what KOS does on a bulletin board and what flora's dentist did. (I said it was a NICE man, flora...that's the very difference I'm trying to point out.)

If KOS were emailing his mudwrestling invitations to my daughter, of course I'd have him hunted down and exterminated according to the thousand-year-old traditions of my people. His invitations are on a public bulletin board and made as a joke. I've had my butt grabbed by a stranger in a public place -- this just isn't the equivalent.

-- helen (b@r.w), October 02, 2000.

Ken Decker is a true gentleman, one of the very few. Very charming and quite endearing. It's too bad he finds pleasure in killing poor defenseless animals. What a waste. =)

-- cin (cin@=0.)), October 02, 2000.


The dentist is a nice man, too. My husband still goes to him, and I had a lovely little converstaion with him by phone not long ago. He was going through marital trouble at the time of weirdness. Would I ever plunk myself down in front of him in a chair again - hell no.

-- flora (***@__._), October 02, 2000.

flora -- I agree with you 100% on that. I take it you didn't sue the dentist or press charges? I wonder if guys know how much of that goes on and not much is ever said or done about it? Oops...hijack! Sorry, Ken.

-- helen (b@p.a), October 02, 2000.


It just creeped me out. I made sure to tell all the women folk I knew, so they didn't go in there preggers!

I can be a bit of a goofball magnet. Imagine that.

-- flora (***@__._), October 02, 2000.


"If you wouldn't say something in real life, isn't that a reasonable guide to propriety on the 'net?"

Now this is becoming a damn good question, without any obvious answer quite yet. Quite a few pundits have observed a sort of "in anonymity veritas" principle in action on the internet. Some regard this aspect of the net as a safe outlet for antisocial agressions, some comment on how very thin civilization's veneer really is, some see yet another sort of filter of the kind that distinguishes formal writing from in-person conversation.

The internet has introduced an interesting dynamic, where one can join a virtual mob and engage in mob behavior with near-perfect safety and impunity, where one can spout insults and imprecations behind an assumed identity, where one cannot be held responsible for even the most hateful speech or for all manner of lazy, incoherent, or stupid expression. The near-universal delight people derive from such "freedoms" at the very least says volumes about our educational system, if not about human nature generally.

Whether real life OUGHT to be a "reasonable guide to propriety" on the net seems a question of personal morality. Some of us really DO care how we present ourselves to the world, while others see anonymity as a license for poor behavior and worse spelling. I tend to regard the net as a test of character, both for what we say and how we react to what others say. Perhaps what's evolving on the net is a ghetto mentality, where "acting educated" is the mark of Cain. In any case, life is too short to waste time being offended by buffoons. The marvelous thing about bad internet behavior is, it's so very easy to ignore.

-- Flint (, October 02, 2000.

"Perhaps what's evolving on the net is a ghetto mentality, where "acting educated" is the mark of Cain."

You're lumping the intire internet fora together. Each forum on the internet has it's own level of civility and morality.

" In any case, life is too short to waste time being offended by buffoons. The marvelous thing about bad internet behavior is, it's so very easy to ignore."

I couldn't agree with you more on this. But that begs the question; if one disagrees with the prevalent attitude and moral standards of a forum, then shouldn't one ignore that forum entirely? Isn't continuing debating the forum's prevalent attitude a kind of moralistic crusade?

-- (, October 02, 2000.


From the top... a handful of people on a single thread in an obscure forum hardly constitute a community standard. This is a public space, not someone's living room. There is the illusion of a social context, but it is really a gathering of strangers even more anonymous than the average city bus station. After all, at a bus station we can see to whom we're speaking and people generally don't use silly pretend names.

You agree, simply, that it is rude to ask an anonymous woman if she mud wrestles. This is exactly what has happened. Spain does not "know" the women to whom he is speaking. The familiarity is an artifice.

As Flint aptly notes, the anonymity of the Internet divorces the speaker from the usual accountability. One of the balancing elements of social interaction has always been the connection between a person and his or her statements. If Spain makes a sexual comment in the workplace, he faces real consequences. If he tells racist jokes, he may lose some friends. If he spouts silly ideas, people may form a negative opinion about his critical thinking ability.

The Internet is the moral test alluded to by Aldo Leopold. We are measured by what we do when no one can see us.

I fully agree with Flint that the Internet has bred an anti- intellectual movement. People who write well are castigated as "arrogant" or "condescending." Your solution, Smarty, is simply to have the literate walk away. This same suggestion was made many times on the old forum. After all, people like Flint and I had the the annoying habits of speaking clearly and refusing to leave.

If the decent people leave, I think everyone loses. If the racists are allowed to rant with no voice of dissent, we all are diminished. Our hope, as a society, is that there will be enough voices who decry the culture of the cheap, the coarse and the vulgar.

-- Ken Decker (, October 02, 2000.

Spain's behavior only offended me ONCE. Someone from Spain [as in the real world country] began a thread asking KOS some stuff [assuming he really was from Spain.] Someone then posted something in Spanish, in response to the same thread. KOS came into that thread and said, "Gawd...What are all these foreigners doing here?"

I was offended by that remark, as we all know that the internet is world-wide and not exclusive to our little neighborhood.

The other time [not really offensive, but funny] was when KOS posted that he was tired of the polly trolls coming in and asking stupid questions. I responded with "You mean like Would you like to mud- wrestle?" Spain took it like a main and replied, "Touche".

The mud-wrestling stuff never bothered me, but even if it had, [and Ken knows this well], I wouldn't have said anything about it. I'm not going to waste my time responding to every fool in the world. I complained exactly ONCE to Diane on the old forum about the cannabalism thread. I thought it extremely tasteless to talk about Swedes becoming Swedish meatballs, etc. Her response was that people were scared.

-- Anita (, October 02, 2000.

I would like to point out with considerable pride (and I am sure I speak for King of Spain as well) the fact that this thread with our two names on it has garnered more responses in a short time, surely, than any other thread in the history of this forum. And that probably applies to old TB2000 as well.


I hardly think so.

-- Peter Errington (, October 02, 2000.

Ken, you said,

People who write well are castigated as "arrogant" or "condescending."

No they're not. People who write in an arrogant or condescending fashion are labelled that way. (At least IMO, if you have some sort of proof of your assertion that proper grammar is associated ((in people other than you)) with arrogance, by all means post it!).

Ah yes, I've been working too much again,


-- Someone (, October 02, 2000.

Ken, see my response to your last response to me in this thread

I had to go through a long contortion to answer you, I'm sorry, but I found out why I had such a problem inserting my response on this thread, and I think my discovery will benefit everyone (at least those like me who didn't know about the length of posts reaching limits on this forum.)

-- (, October 02, 2000.

Hey Flint,

Aren't you the same fella who had rather broad definitions for 'bad porn'?

{no pun intended - heavens to Besty, no!}

-- flora (***@__._), October 03, 2000.

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