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Bullying at 35 thousand feet

One of the hot social media items this morning is a woman who made a big fuss about a delayed flight because Thanksgiving and a guy who retaliated. The point of the item seems to be that the guy did a great job of schooling the woman. I beg to differ.

Elan Gale Live-Tweets his Feud with Asshole Woman on Flight

This note war on a plane is hilarious. I have no idea who he is but I want to be his friend.

Hmm, yeah, I don’t.

He tweeted about her. Fine. The tweets are funny, and she’s anonymous. But then he sent her a note, and she replied to say his note was not cool, and he sent another.

View image on Twitter

 No. That has tipped way over into bullying, and sexist bullying at that. Not cool. And that’s before you even see what was posted to the Storify later:

“Diane is my cousin. I want to thank you for not pressing charges against her for slapping you. She would have been arrested for that, and spending a few days in jail would have been a particularly cruel irony under the circumstances. I am a bit surprised you said you could hear her breathing, because Diane has stage IV small cell lung cancer. This would have been her last Thanksgiving with us. I say “would have” because she did miss her connecting flight. She arrived this morning, having spent the night in a hotel in Phoenix. Admittedly, Diane hasn’t been handling her imminent death very well, but she really was looking forward to being with us and the rest of her family- all of whom were flying in for one last Thanksgiving with her. In her defense, she was very contrite and upset about her behavior on the plane. Certainly everybody wanted to get where they were going, but perhaps she can be forgiven for thinking that her need was more pressing than most. Thanksgiving has always been Diane’s favorite holiday, and her comment about the stuffing is true- she was the “keeper of the family recipe” and all of her nieces were planning to be instructed (one more time) in the mysterious ways of Auntie Diane’s stuffing. Since she missed her connecting flight, this did not occur. We are going to try to get as many of the family together as we can tomorrow, but that is up in the air. The plans were all for yesterday. I wish you had known her before she got cancer. You would have loved her. She was bright, funny, and compassionate, and had a self-deprecating sense of humor. She taught elementary music. She loved kids. She loved to laugh. She was everybody’s favorite aunt. Actually, she still is”

Not amusing.

Comments

  1. screechymonkey says

    Kerry @399:

    It’s not rude when it’s funny. Or so his worshippers are trying to tell everyone.

    But wait, I thought it wasn’t supposed to be funny, I thought it was supposed to be a great morality tale that inspired us all to go forth and harass the Dianes of the world? I’m so confused.

  2. says

    Lynsey@373
    [...] little pussy Elan[...]
    Elan probably has a very small dick
    It’s not classy
    He’s a complete moran, jerk and a dumbass, who craves attention in any form. Pathetic piece of crap bully for picking on the “easy” target.

    The fall collection of trolls certainly is unpleasant. Ophelia, if I donate a bit on your paypal jar, can you afford some that at least know what ‘classy’ is?

  3. Slocomb says

    tigtog #262, I never disagreed with what you said. Seems my comment got lumped in with the guys screaming about how Diane was the real problem here, which is not my opinion in the least. My point was only that this was obviously fake, and it’s bad enough thinking Elan was sexually harassing this lady, even more awful to know he routinely makes these stories up where some woman needs to be put in her place with threats and inappropriate sexual comments.

    I had coincidentally started following Elan on Tumblr about a week before all this went down, and when I saw his post about Diane, it just reeked of gloating, primarily because I was supposed to have known what happened without him even bother to link to anything — he just knew he would be basking in so much attention he could self-fellate and 99% of his followers would either already know how “awesome” he was or just believe it without questioning. And THAT is a huge problem, the delightful second layer to this pile of shit he created.

  4. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    someone who had already dished out insults

    I must have missed that part, along with the part where she also murdered Elan’s family. “This isn’t about you” is rude. However the flight attendant was seemingly dismissive of her individual concerns. Even though there was nothing they could do, even if she was unreasonable in her demands, you do not tell a paying customer that they’re not being reasonable when they are visibly upset about the situation. That’s just fuel on the fire and will make someone, from their perspective, justifiably indignant. Sending a letter telling them that they’re in the wrong, before they’ve had time to cool down, and couching it in patronizing and belittling language, concluding with what was essentially a “shut the fuck up forever”, is no less an insult simply because it isn’t “personal” per your wacky standard.

  5. Dan says

    I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy this… This is the internet after all, and that messages sounds pretty contrived and designed to generate maximum sympathy for the … *cough* “victim. In fact, I’d go as far to say it’s quite likely that it was contrived by this Dianne herself to make people feel less pleased about the serve she copped for her nasty and selfish attitude.

    Really, you can complain about his use of “eat a dick” as being sexist if you like, but that’s seriously clutching at straws. At the end of the day what has happened here? An incredibly self-important, inconsiderate and rude passenger has loudly and unfairly let her frustrations on the poor cabin staff of her flight. These are people who have zero power to make the plane take off any quicker, and to hold them to account is both stupid and cruel.

    Just pause there for a moment. Ophelia, have you stopped for even a moment to consider that perhaps, just perhaps, this was actually worse bullying?

    People like Dianne are the way they are because everyone is always too polite and forgiving. You can call this Elan guy a bully if you like, but he was hardly the antagonist in this case.

  6. A. Noyd says

    Gosh, I just love the newcomers who question whether Ophelia has put any thought into the topic of bullying.

  7. A. Noyd says

    (Oh and for all the newcomers who aren’t doing the equivalent of shitting on the carpet and running away: Ophelia’s been one of the targets of a misogynistic bullying campaign within the atheist/skeptic community for the last several years and has written extensively about it.)

  8. says

    Dan #405,

    At the end of the day what has happened here? An incredibly self-important, inconsiderate and rude passenger has loudly and unfairly let her frustrations on the poor cabin staff of her flight.

    Hey Dan, you’re at least 20 comments late to the Elan-admitted-he-made-the-whole-story-up afterparty. It’s basic netiquette to at least page up a few screens to read the latest few dozen comments before you decide to contribute your opinion. Tends to make one look a little less foolish, anyway.

  9. chigau (違う) says

    Dan #405
    “poor cabin staff”
    because the Flight Attendants are a bunch of wilting daisies who need a ManlyManMan to save them from a cranky passenger.
    Have you ever been on an airplane?

  10. says

    Isn’t it just adorable how so many people are so certain that the placement of a penis into the mouth of a female-bodied person for the purpose of silencing her has nothing to do with sexism?

  11. Kerry says

    First, Ophelia, thank you for being patient as some of us, who found this via twitter, discussed the situation on your blog. It’s been an engaging discussion and many of your regulars are interesting and intelligent people.

    Second, I have to share this twitter exchange with Elan and one of his peers.

    Someone is touchy that his peers didn’t think he was funny.

  12. ChasCPeterson says

    this is one nutty thread.
    All these folks came over here from twitter?
    I will continue to stay far away from twitter.

  13. says

    Chas, I suspect most of them came from Buzzfeed, Jezebel etc and Facebook where people were discussing this long after the eruption had mostly subsided on Twitter. Any other post of Ophelia’s that got linked in a mega-comment thread on Buzzfeed/Jezebel etc would bring in the same sort of folks not familiar with more traditional blog discourse.

    Twitter’s just a publishing platform. It’s structure encourages rapid-fire interaction because the timelines are more ephemeral than blog posts, but that’s the only difference between it and any other online publishing platform.

  14. carlie says

    Isn’t it just adorable how so many people are so certain that the placement of a penis into the mouth of a female-bodied person for the purpose of silencing her has nothing to do with sexism?

    Of course not – it’s sexism when a really mean guy says “I refuse to hire you because you’re a woman, and for no reason other than that!” to a lady who has multiple graduate degrees and a trust fund. It’s not sexism when a bitch just needs to be put in her place.

  15. Myrna Loy says

    So how does this “poor Diane with cancer trying to see her family” square with his having just announced that the entire thing was made-up?

  16. 'nuff much says

    My, this thing has got a cross section of humanity coming forth, hasn’t it!

    First of all, I don’t know if I believe the thing happened at all. It might have, but then, by now, there would have been some corroboration, I would’ve imagined. I haven’t come across any.

    Second, sure, this hypothetical Diane didn’t behave like a complete darling. I would have been very annoyed at having such a loud whiny person on a flight with me, especially when odds are, I would’ve already been fairly annoyed at the delay.

    Third, it sounds as if the situation had been sorted out by flight staff, who are trained to sort such stuff out with minimal fuss. So why on earth would this guy decide to poke around and cause more trouble? There are two reasons why a person might interfere in a situation like this. It’s irritating and you want it to stop and have a pleasant flight, plus you see that staff is being hassled, so you step up. There was obviously no need for that – the fuss was over, Diane might still have been steaming, but only in her head. Even if you felt it was necessary, what on earth is the point of needling an already annoyed person? Will that calm them down any?! The second is if Elan felt she needed to be taught a bit of a lesson.

    Well, I question Elan’s qualification to teach anybody any lessons, and if this is the way he goes about it, I’m quite right to do so. If he had gone over and said something along the lines of ‘We all want to be home, please calm down and stop making an annoying situation worse. They said they’re doing everything they are, I’m sure they are. Going on about it will not help any, will it?” it would’ve been understandable. Passing notes? Sending wine and vodka? Telling her to eat his dick!? He’s quite lucky she didn’t march up to him and ask him to please hand his dick over in a ziplock bag so that she could marinate it and braise it, after which they could share the meal!

    Slapping him was not a good move and he might’ve pressed charges, but if she had in her possession notes where he told her to eat his dick, he might’ve been the one in trouble, not her, if there had been an investigation. That could very well be why he didn’t press charges.

    I see both classism and sexism in this, with the way Diane treated those who might’ve been seen as beneath her, and the way he made such a comment, especially about ways of keeping her mouth shut. Though really, only Elan seems to have used profanity – Diane might’ve been loud and whiny, but it sounds as if she didn’t abuse anybody. If that cousin’s note thing is true, well I can see why she would’ve been distraught. It doesn’t excuse her behaviour, but it does explain it some. Either way, she seems to have been fairly obnoxious, as most can be. He seems to have gone out of his way to show himself up to be a lot more obnoxious, though.

  17. says

    My point is that no backstory, no bad day justifies this kind of behavior…

    “This kind of behavior” being complaining about something loud enough for someone else to hear. Peepee, you have no right to tell anyone else when they’re justified in speaking up in public. (And you still haven’t justified YOUR stupid obnoxious behavior here, for that matter.) And the fact that you just did so, with no particular expertise or experience to justify your opinion, pretty clearly proves you’re the most hateful vindictive narcicist on this thread (so far).

  18. carlie says

    Or, worse, he based it on an actual person on his flight who was the Diane in question, who may or may not have complained about the delay, and a real person and her family have been run through the mud for just his own entertainment.

  19. says

    But hey, if he made it all up, then no Diane was harmed at all…

    …and you’re spewing countless idiotic comments supporting a guy who made up an incident out of nothing. What does that say about you, peepee?

  20. Hibernia86 says

    Yeah, if a woman had made vulgar comments in a note exchanged with a man, I highly doubt anyone would be accusing her of sexism. No one would be accusing her of bullying. It seems like if anyone is sexist it is this blogger. (yes, I know that the whole story was made up, but I’m referring to the reaction to it)

  21. shari says

    @421 – Above, Ophelia (at #376) called out others using slurs against men. So take a moment to apologize to Ophelia. Or at least admit that you didn’t feel like reading the thread to figure out where Ophelia is at.

  22. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    Yeah, if a woman had made vulgar comments in a note exchanged with a man, I highly doubt anyone would be accusing her of sexism. No one would be accusing her of bullying. It seems like if anyone is sexist it is this blogger.

    Someone put out that strawperson. Open flames are dangerous.

  23. Ha ha ha! says

    I love this story, actually. It teaches two lessons at once: (1) if you don’t know first hand, then the story could be fake in a world full of attention seekers, and (2) fake or not, what a helpful reminder that we never know a stranger’s real deal in life when we encounter that stranger in a bad moment**. Love how the “fake Diane’s cousin” was so heartfelt and well composed that it too went viral, and made Elan have to eat his own dick, metaphorically speaking. Hope it tasted like crow penis, Elan.

    **One of my teenage memories that really stayed with me was I was in line with a friend at the corner store, and the older woman in front of us, paying at the counter, was slow and confused, really out of it. My friend muttered all kinds of clever obscenities about her under his breath and I snickered along. Then the woman turned to leave and I recognized who she was, she was the friend of my Mom’s whose daughter had just committed suicide a few days prior. So congratulations, “fake Diane’s cousin” — you too were a hoax but you pointed out a basic truth about us and the people we encounter everyday.

  24. says

    Well it’s good to know that no real Diane had to experience what Elan described, and it’s unsurprising to learn that Elan is a lying thug.

    I wonder (since I haven’t looked yet) what he thinks his story demonstrates? To me it demonstrates only that there are WAY too many people who are just thrilled to hear of a thuggish man harassing a woman who had been irritable and mildly rude about a delayed flight.

  25. says

    425 – oh god ouch! But she didn’t hear you, right?

    But yes. Exfuckingactly. That urge to mock people in public? JUST CHOKE IT DOWN. I learned that after I once failed to do so in childhood. I wasn’t lucky enough to be not overheard. It was horrible.

  26. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    And here we have “your the real sexist”.

    None of them can explain how “eat my dick” is not sexist, while numerous posts here have explained how it is, indeed, sexist. Apparently holding your hands over your ears and shouting “you’re the poopy head” is considered equivalent to a well-argued point.

  27. Peebee says

    Raging Bee at @417

    Coming from someone who deliberately changed my handle to a childish nickname for genitals, and continued to do so during each reference, I highly doubt you are qualified to judge hateful, vindictive, or narcissistic behavior. Or is it that you publicly, regularly, and loudly dump on service workers and really resent anyone telling you that’s a shitty thing to do?

    I have the same right everyone else has (but rarely exercises) to stand up for working people who serve others for a living, and as a frequent flyer, I also get to call rudeness when I see it confined within a small flying cylinder trapped next to a couple of other hundred stressed-out people in cramped seats. It’s your right to disagree with me….just as I disagree with the practice of crying sexism anytime a woman gets schooled, even if it has little to do with sexism and much more to do with her own rude behavior bringing it on herself. There’s so much systemic and substantial sexism in the world that in my opinion, railing against an insult to someone who was herself first insulting people who can’t fight back doesn’t even begin to register.

    But I’ll keep your thoughts in mind the next time I’m trapped on a flight near an asshole of the male persuasion berating a female flight attendant over something she can’t control….that I should just let it go because he might be having a bad day or might have cancer. Or because he might hit me.

    As for it being fake, that’s even better, because you don’t even have the “Elan told a woman with cancer to eat his dick” leg to stand on, which of course let people deflect from what Diane did to initiate things, and her escalation to physical violence, which a man would never be allowed to do without consequences. If Elan provoked a national conversation about appropriate treatment of service workers AND sexism, taking the hit for being a douche *without ever harming anyone,* that’s brilliant. He accomplished way more than anyone could to deliberately provoke that conversation, and believe me, a number of us have tried, personally and professionally.

  28. A. Noyd says

    Gen (#428)

    None of them can explain how “eat my dick” is not sexist

    No, no, they “explain” it by saying “it’s just a turn of phrase” or “it gets used against men, too.” Basically every idiotic, irrational justification we heard years ago in defense of “cunt,” short of “it means something different in England.”

  29. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    Peebee @ 429:

    But I’ll keep your thoughts in mind the next time I’m trapped on a flight near an asshole of the male persuasion berating a female flight attendant over something she can’t control….that I should just let it go because he might be having a bad day or might have cancer. Or because he might hit me.

    Or because the situation was well under hand and your involvement, especially derisively calling them out, would just stoke the coals and fan the flames.

    As for it being fake, that’s even better, because you don’t even have the “Elan told a woman with cancer to eat his dick” leg to stand on

    Wait, what are you saying? That people are defending her because Elan was by his own account using violent, sexist language at a women in a confined space? That she does get a “free pass” for any of this? That’s not what I’m saying. I don’t think that’s what anyone is saying. So no one is even resting on such a leg in the first place, congratulations kicking that strawleg out from under that strawperson.

  30. says

    I have the same right everyone else has (but rarely exercises) to stand up for working people who serve others for a living…

    By mindlessly supporting an idiot who’s already known to make shit up on Twitter? You really think you’re doing working people any favors? Once again, you show yourself to be a self-important narcissist, pretending to have an Important Cause.

    …as a frequent flyer, I also get to call rudeness when I see it…

    First, little man, being a frequent flyer doesn’t make you anyone’s Manners Cop, nor does it give you a superior right to criticize anyone else. And second, you didn’t “see” the (alleged) rudeness, you heard about it from an unreliable source.

    As for it being fake, that’s even better, because you don’t even have the “Elan told a woman with cancer to eat his dick” leg to stand on…

    It also means YOU don’t have ANY leg to stand on — you’re just mindlessly blathering your support for someone who is making up stories about imagined incidents. What kind of pathetic loser to you have to be to keep on doing that? Don’t have the guts to admit you backed the wrong horse?

  31. says

    Yo, peepee, I just read the post about Elan’s explicit admission that the WHOLE INCIDENT was fake, and “Diane” didn’t even exist. Please explain to us what that says about you and all the others who took Elan’s side and based their moral reasoning — and merciless condemnation of his imagined foe — on such total fabrications. Then tell us exactly how your support of a liar like Elan helps working people who are paid to serve others.

    Your pompous and self-inflating moralizing about proper public behavior is based on nothing but “just kidding, folks!” I’m still shaking my head at what an idiot you (and Elam’s other fanboys) turned out to be.

  32. Peebee says

    Throwaway at 431

    What I’m saying, and there are plenty of examples of it sprinkled throughout the comments, is that all the people who said “Diane’s behavior was bad, but Elan’s behavior was infinitely worse,” don’t have anything left to complain about once it’s clear that what he supposedly did (i.e., use ” violent, sexist language at a women [sic] in a confined space”) never actually happened.

    Have you never overheard the words “fuck you” “shut the fuck up” “eat shit and die” or “eat my shorts” (popular back in my day) or “sit and spin” (the prior generation, apparently)? If saying them on the internet perpetuating a comedic hoax (not directed at an actual live person who may be fearful he will actually try to cram his penis in her or his mouth even when it’s clear from the context there is absolutely no intent to do so) is violent and sexist, I must be really violent and sexist when I tell my friends to “suck my clit” or “eat a bag of dicks” when they’ve said something rude or need to back off. I’d sic my fellow feminist warriors on myself, except, you know, they’re a little busy suing people who pay women less, or make ongoing daily sexual harassment a requirement of keeping their jobs or getting women on panels at tech conferences or responding to death threats from internet and IRL crazies.

    As for the people who didn’t think the fictional Diane did anything out of line, there’s not really anything left I can say. If you think that being loudly rude to flight attendants, insulting someone’s family or slapping someone is all part of being “human” and is OK if you’ve had a bad day or are sick, no one is probably going to change that behavior. I mean, you’re already the center of the universe, right? But I do hope the next time you pull that shit in public, there’s a witness who decides to tweet about it, for realz this time. And hey, if it’s me, I’ll even buy you a drink.

  33. says

    Dan blithered thusly:

    In fact, I’d go as far to say it’s quite likely that it was contrived by this Dianne herself to make people feel less pleased about the serve she copped for her nasty and selfish attitude.

    Okay, Dan, now that Elan has admitted that HE made the whole thing up, and “Diane” didn’t even exist, would you care to tell us how that changes your assessment of things?

    In other worrds, how does that crow taste?

  34. says

    What I’m saying, and there are plenty of examples of it sprinkled throughout the comments, is that all the people who said “Diane’s behavior was bad, but Elan’s behavior was infinitely worse,” don’t have anything left to complain about…

    Actually, since “Diane” didn’t even exist, Elan’s behavior really was (and still is) infinitely worse. You can’t avoid admitting you’re wrong here, little man.

  35. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    What I’m saying, and there are plenty of examples of it sprinkled throughout the comments, is that all the people who said “Diane’s behavior was bad, but Elan’s behavior was infinitely worse,” don’t have anything left to complain about once it’s clear that what he supposedly did (i.e., use ” violent, sexist language at a women [sic] in a confined space”) never actually happened.

    We can still criticize a hypothetical situation as if it were real, whether those people existed or events actually transpired. Leg still firmly attached.

  36. says

    As for the people who didn’t think the fictional Diane did anything out of line, there’s not really anything left I can say.

    No one said anything of the sort. You’re making up stories about people who don’t exist. I guess that’s why you have such a huge crush on a fellow fabricator like Elan.

  37. Peebee says

    Raging Bee

    Do you really think you’re getting somewhere by trying to insult me with “Peepee” and “Little Man?”

    Especially since I’m female? Cisgendered female, actually, so I’ve identified as one my entire life.

    One would think that tossing around gendered insults would be the last thing you’d want to do in trying to convince the world of Elan’s grievous sexism.

  38. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    I’m really just arguing against the people who would use the tactics exemplified by Elan’s bullshit story. I really don’t give a shit that it’s fake. So many people, like yourself. have come forward to say that “Diane got what she deserved.” That’s hypocritical at best, endangers women at worst.

    Peebee, you have taken a thinly outlined situation and I believe you have filled in the blanks of what allegedly transpired with the worst possible caricature of Diane, according to the story’s fabricator, to exonerate Elan by way of citing some kind of Karmic justice. You’ve implied there were insults hurled by Diane when the only thing reported was a single rude line addressed to a dismissive flight attendant, and breathing, and a rude response to multiple unwelcome engagements by a stranger.

    I can tell you want the last word here. Have it. I’m done and can no longer maintain my patience with you.

  39. says

    Do you really think you’re getting somewhere by trying to insult me with “Peepee” and “Little Man?”

    No, I think I’m getting somewhere by pointing out how dishonest, stupid and dead-wrong you’ve turned out to be every step of the way. And I’m also getting somewhere by noting your cowardly refusal to acknowledge this fact.

  40. Kerry says

    I’m done and can no longer maintain my patience with you.

    For the best. I walked away when she started with the passive-aggressive insults.

  41. Peebee says

    So it’s right to be rude to flight attendants over something they can’t change or fix? It’s right to loudly complain about a situation applicable to everyone like you’re being specially singled out? It’s right to slap someone in FAA-controlled space? (It certainly isn’t legal.)

    In my very first comment here, I acknowledged that Elan shouldn’t have said “eat my dick.” So I don’t know what it was I’m supposed to acknowledge, except some concession that it’s OK to walk around acting like you’re the center of the universe and inflict your rudeness on everyone in your immediate proximity. Which I’ve made pretty damn clear along the way I will never think that it is, so don’t hold your breath. If all you have is name-calling (which is all you’ve really had all along, from your very first post), then I think we’re done here.

  42. DG says

    How embarrassing for this website to publish a note that is entirely fake considering the whole thing was hoax. And how embarrassing for everyone who believed the note….

  43. says

    It’s not embarrassing at all. I posted what was published. It’s not a hoax that it was published. Elan Gale now reveals that he lied about the whole thing. That’s not an embarrassment for me.

  44. says

    So it’s right to be rude to flight attendants over something they can’t change or fix? It’s right to loudly complain about a situation applicable to everyone like you’re being specially singled out? It’s right to slap someone in FAA-controlled space?

    No one here said anything of the sort. You’re pretending to argue with people who don’t exist. Just like your BFF Elan Gale.

  45. A. Noyd says

    Peebee (#443)

    So it’s right to be rude to flight attendants over something they can’t change or fix? It’s right to loudly complain about a situation applicable to everyone like you’re being specially singled out? It’s right to slap someone in FAA-controlled space?

    Holy shit, but you’re stupid. NO ONE IS SAYING THOSE THINGS ARE RIGHT. (Well, some people are in favor of the slap, but they’re not the ones arguing with you.) If you’re really so fucking dense and/or dishonest that you can’t get such a simple point through your head, you really should go away. It would be more productive to argue with a stale cheese waffle than with you.

    So I don’t know what it was I’m supposed to acknowledge…

    That Diane’s misbehavior does not justify Elan’s attempts to “put her in her place,” much less him bullying her the way he did. (Or didn’t because it was fake, but the principle remains.)

  46. says

    A. Noyd: she also needs to acknowledge that making up stories about nonexistent persons and incidents is a form of lying, and therefore wrong, even when the liar retroactively decides he wasn’t really as serious as he was pretending to be. What if one or more of his idiot fanboys had mistakenly accused a real person of the bad behavior Elan had made up? As Peebee shows here, that lot aren’t really good at admitting mistakes once they’ve committed to them.

  47. Hibernia86 says

    (the non-existent) Diane was acting rudely in the story. Elan pointed that out to her. That isn’t bullying. If the genders were reversed, this blog post would have never been written. He is only labeled a thug by Ophelia because it is a man calling out a woman for bad behavior. That is why she is being sexist.

    Also the whole idea that saying “eat a dick” is a crude insult if said to a man but horribly sexist if said to a woman is again another sexist double standard. An insult is an insult. You can argue that crudeness wasn’t the best response but saying that the gender of the person you are talking to matters is a sexist view.

  48. maddog1129 says

    As a thought experiment, I wonder what, in the imagined upset-passenger-who-is-rude-to-a-flight-attendant scenario, counts as “not getting a *free pass*”? Suppose the passenger is ill or upset or momentarily frustrated, or whatever, and mouths off once to a flight attendant. So many people have said, “if the person has cancer, that doesn’t give them a *free pass* to be abusive.” Okay, what kind of “not getting a *free pass*” is the optimal solution here? The story of what Elan did to Dianne is NOT optimal, and shouldn’t be inflicted on anybody.

    In my experience, normally when I have encountered someone in a similar situation, the complaining eventually subsides and then everyone carries on. Usually, you never see the person again, so it’s not like you have to deal with the same individual repeatedly doing the same bad behavior over and over again.

    I also think everybody can imagine at one time or another having an inappropriate emotional meltdown, that (speaking for myself) I felt bad about having occurred, and sorry for having inflicted on the people around me, if any. I’m exceedingly thankful that nobody did to me what Elan said he did to Dianne. That wouldn’t have helped. When I recovered myself, I have usually tried to apologize or make amends to the people/bystanders I’d bothered. Sometimes, that doesn’t happen — the incident is simply over. Sometimes, it wasn’t possible to apologize to the actual people, because everyone had dispersed, so I have tried to think about how to apologize or make amends in that situation, where you don’t know who it is. In 12-Step work, one of the tasks is to make amends to others when possible … some ways of doing so is to be more mindful of my behavior in the future, or to “pass it forward” to someone who isn’t the same person as the person I’d bothered, but at least some karmic balance is restored. In an example like this, I might write a letter to the airline apologizing, even if I don’t know exactly who was working on the flight, and I can’t find all the passengers who might have been annoyed. There may be other possibilities for how to recover, or apologize, or make amends after an incident of poor behavior.

    So, what to do, that isn’t a “free pass”? Or, maybe (unless it’s something that *IS* repeated over and over), perhaps we *DO* want to let people have a “free pass”?

    P.S. @ Raging Bee

    You are deliberately misusing Peebee’s handle to make a sexual innuendo or toilet-humor “joke.” Not funny, not nice. “The standard you walk by is the standard you accept.” I don’t think, in conscience, I can “walk by” someone doing that. I certainly wouldn’t like it if it was done to me.

  49. shari says

    @ 449 – I see you’ve decided to keep going on about sexism on a blog you……are pretty familiar with, I guess.

    Pointing out that someone is being rude (“you may want to apologize to Ophelia”) isn’t harassing.

    Continuing unwanted contact (even written) is. A woman goading at a man who is upset and taunting him is still harassment. Ophelia has written on that topic. Other FT Bloggers do as well.

    Telling a woman to accept a drink so she shuts up is harassment. Telling her what he wants her to do with his private parts is sexist and hostile. I am sorry you think it’s acceptable treatment of any human being. Glad we’ve never met.

  50. says

    (the non-existent) Diane was acting rudely in the story. Elan pointed that out to her. That isn’t bullying.

    Nonsense. He didn’t just “point it out to her.” He did much more than that, over an extended period. In the story, that is; if he made it all up he didn’t do all that, but he did say he did.

    If he had merely pointed it out to her, I wouldn’t be calling it bullying.

  51. says

    (the non-existent) Diane was acting rudely in the story. Elan pointed that out to her. That isn’t bullying.

    First, since it’s a totally imagined scenario, I guess you can call it whatever you want.

    And second, making up stories about bad behavior is, as I said before, a form of lying, and can cause harm to real people. Think of racial stereotypes, or boys falsely bragging about having sex with girls they never even kissed. It’s wrong and indefensible, whether or not you call it “bullying;” and quibbling over the use of that word at this point in the controversy is just a stupid small-mided dodge.

  52. Peebee says

    That is just rich, Raging Bee, coming from the person who assured us it was fake long before Elan even came out about it. You knew he was a reality TV producer who had a history of faking public interactions for expanding his social media profile, yet it’s oh so evil that he um, did this thing, this thing that he always does, this thing you knew he was probably doing, in a way that didn’t harm anyone, much less a cancer patient in mom jeans. But look what Elan’s hoax actually did….

    *he started a national (global?) conversation about appropriate behavior on planes and sexism in which tens or hundreds of thousands have engaged in some way.
    *he has allowed people who think this way to share that they find “eat my dick” to be violent, offensive, sexually harassing, etc. so that some of those who use it jokingly without sexist intent might be less likely to either use the expression at all or use it addressed to a woman or any person who might take it literally.
    *he has allowed people to share and debate about what sort of behavior is appropriate on a plane/with a flight attendant or other service worker, as it’s clear we have really varying standards about this (perhaps proportional to the amount of time we spend on planes, but possibly not. In my personal circles, the big division was between road warriors and homebodies, not men and women or conservatives and liberals).
    *he has alerted a number of people to the possibility that their public actions can be monitored and potentially shared via social media, and that it’s maybe not a good idea to indulge your meltdown on a plane where other people can hear you or to be rude to someone who can’t fix your problem.

    Here’s what Elan didn’t do…
    *intervene in a situation that was essentially over to escalate it
    *buy someone a drink to shut them up
    *stand menacingly over her seat to take a picture
    *keep sending notes even once it was clear that she was having a meltdown
    *ask a woman with stage 4 cancer to eat his dick

    Let’s be clear: those are all bad things to do — it’s just how bad they were that we’re debating.

    Given what he did do and what he didn’t do (since it was all that he didn’t do that took away from the purpose of his attempt to encourage people to be nicer to each other over Thanksgiving weekend), I’d say what he attempted was a raging success (which I guess makes me a fangirl, going all the way back to Orson Welles).

  53. says

    *he started a national (global?) conversation about appropriate behavior on planes and sexism in which tens or hundreds of thousands have engaged in some way.

    Oh please. More mature people, with more understanding and direct experience, have been having that conversation since 1971, if not longer. Elan’s childish bullshit didn’t “start” any such thing. You’re really getting desperate to excuse that lying turd, aren’t you?

    *he has allowed people to share and debate about what sort of behavior is appropriate on a plane/with a flight attendant or other service worker…

    What, no one was ever allowed to talk about such things before Elan arrived on the scene? Are you TRYING to sound ridiculous?

    *he has alerted a number of people to the possibility that their public actions can be monitored and potentially shared via social media…

    Who on Earth was unaware of this fact before Elan showed up? Certainly not the people who follow social media looking for shit to gossip about. And how does making up a story alert such people that their real actions can be monitored?

    Given what he did do and what he didn’t do (since it was all that he didn’t do that took away from the purpose of his attempt to encourage people to be nicer to each other over Thanksgiving weekend), I’d say what he attempted was a raging success…

    Blah blah word salad therefore Elan wins whether or not anything he said was true or credible? Are you really dumb enough to think your excuses even sound plausible?

    Face the fact, Peebee — you backed the wrong horse (or should I say, the wrong horse’s ass), the horse’s ass crashed and burned, and you’re still trying to defend him, even after he admitted he was lying, and even after he tried to rebrand the whole thing as “comedy.” Congratulations — you’ve just made yourself more pathetic than he is.

  54. Jacob Schmidt says

    Given what he did do and what he didn’t do (since it was all that he didn’t do that took away from the purpose of his attempt to encourage people to be nicer to each other over Thanksgiving weekend)…

    What he did do was support bullying behaviour. ’tis a funny way to encourage others to be nice.

    …I’d say what he attempted was a raging success (which I guess makes me a fangirl, going all the way back to Orson Welles).

    Right. He intended to be called out for being an asshole; he intended to be used as an example of what not to do. It’s all an elaborate ruse.

    The fact of the matter is, what good comes of this is not his doing, nor is it to his credit. Elan’s still an asshole. Perhaps not as much of one, given the divide between being a bully and encouraging bullying. But the good that comes of this? The people who are arguing against sexism, bullying, and the like? They’re arguing against Elan; against the sort of behaviour Elan supports.

  55. Peebee says

    maddog1129 @450

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I, too, have wondered what the best way to respond was that supports the flight attendant and doesn’t give a free pass. Here’s what I intend to do next time — a note that says something to the effect of the following:

    Dear Passenger in 7A:

    I’m sorry to hear you’re having such a stressful holiday: perhaps this drink, on me, will make your day a bit brighter (or if you do not drink, please feel free to pass it along to a fellow passenger.) I hope you make it to see your family, but I also hope that on the rest of your journey you’ll consider many of those around you are similarly stressed with connecting flights and like you, also just want to see their families (attend their business meeting/whatever the situation appears to be). Let’s all strive to be a little bit kinder, especially to our flight attendants who are doing their best to meet the needs of a number of stressed-out passengers and can do nothing to change the flight schedule.

    Best wishes, Your Fellow Passenger Peebee

  56. Kerry says

    Seriously, I’m beginning to think Peebee is Elan. I know he was sent this link and commented about it. And I can’t believe anyone sees him as anything more than a troll doing it for the lulz lat alone as some great thinker using humor for social change.

  57. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    Dear Passenger in 7A:

    I’m sorry to hear you’re having such a stressful holiday: perhaps this drink, on me, will make your day a bit brighter (or if you do not drink, please feel free to pass it along to a fellow passenger.) I hope you make it to see your family

    This is where that letter should end. I know you don’t agree with me on this, but I think that the rest of your note conveys condescension and an attempt to lecture someone on proper behavior. That will be taken the wrong way, as an affront to their character, especially the patronizing “Let’s all strive to be a little bit kinder” part. It’s not “all” the people you’re writing the letter to, it’s one specific person who knows they’ve just made a spectacle of themselves.

  58. Peebee says

    >>Seriously, I’m beginning to think Peebee is Elan.

    Wow, you people really can’t accept that a woman with more than a passing familiarity with sexism might disagree with you. Or is it that most women would have backed down once someone started calling them sexist? From the very first response, I was called childish names and insulted, and now I’m supposed to quake in my boots that you think I’m Elan? While I doubt much of any of this beyond “get hundreds of thousands of new followers” and “be kind” was part of Elan’s grand scheme, I do find it quite interesting and noteworthy what came from his initial tweets.

    I see what you did there, Kerry….saying someone was using passive-aggressive insults by, you guessed it, using passive-aggressive insults. Very meta of you. When you think about it, pretty much all internet debate is passive-aggressive. Most of it takes place anonymously or at least among people who you don’t know and are unlikely to encounter IRL. If it were just passive, someone would have backed off at the first hint of dissent. If it were just aggressive, it would have violated someone’s TOS or commenting policy, or not even provided anything to debate. So passive – aggressive means what: that someone feels strongly about their position and is willing to advocate for it, but does so politely without resorting to name calling and non-responsive arguments? clarifying their positions when it’s clear they’ve been misunderstood or distorted? Or it just means, “I don’t like what she has to say and I think calling someone passive-aggressive is better than calling them “Peepee” or “Little Man.””

  59. Me says

    So, in responding to the end of this piece (“Not amusing.”) I ask, is it amusing now that the entire episode was revealed to be a hoax, and therefore that the follow up response by a fake cousin of “Diane” was just a fellow troll?

  60. Jacob Schmidt says

    Wow, you people really can’t accept that a woman with more than a passing familiarity with sexism might disagree with you.[1] Or is it that most women would have backed down once someone started calling them sexist?[2] From the very first response, I was called childish names and insulted[3], and now I’m supposed to quake in my boots that you think I’m Elan?[4] While I doubt much of any of this beyond “get hundreds of thousands of new followers” and “be kind” was part of Elan’s grand scheme, I do find it quite interesting and noteworthy what came from his initial tweets.[5]

    1) I won’t speak for others, but I’ve long made my peace with stubborn idiocy. I don’t find it surprising that you’d stick with yours.

    2) What the fuck? Where did you get that idea?

    3) Blatantly false, as anyone who is capable of searching your ‘nym on this page can verify.

    4) No seriously, what the fuck? You seem to have a penchant for non-sequiturs.

    5) Really? They strike me as pandering; he picked a target he thought was easy. He pushed an idea that was thoroughly uncontroversial. Were it not for him being an asshole, there’d be nothing of note here.

    So passive – aggressive means what…

    That whole bit of word salad just boils down to this point. There is an actual meaning behind the phrase. It is not merely advocacy of a given position.

  61. John Morales says

    Me @462:

    So, in responding to the end of this piece (“Not amusing.”) I ask, is it amusing now that the entire episode was revealed to be a hoax, and therefore that the follow up response by a fake cousin of “Diane” was just a fellow troll?

    It’s even less amusing than merely not amusing, to answer your question.

  62. A. Noyd says

    Peebee (#461)

    Wow, you people really can’t accept that a woman with more than a passing familiarity with sexism might disagree with you. Or is it that most women would have backed down once someone started calling them sexist?

    You have noooooo idea how funny it is to suggest that on this blog of all blogs.

  63. John Morales says

    [addendum]

    “The point of the item seems to be that the guy did a great job of schooling the woman. I beg to differ.”

    Vindication.

  64. Hibernia86 says

    @maddog: Yes it is nice to give someone the benefit of the doubt, but I don’t blame anyone who calls other people out on their bad behavior. If someone shoves in front of you in line, we shouldn’t automatically assume “oh maybe their dog died today.” Sometimes that person is just an asshole. When bad things happen to people, normally they don’t take it out on others or at least apologize if they do. Normally if a person does something rude and doesn’t apologize, then they are just a self centered person.

    @Shari: I’ve been to this blog before. Normally it would be via connections within Atheist blogs, but today it was via blogs talking about this story specifically. Apparently this post has gotten some outside press which is why there are almost 500 comments on it.

    If you consider the notes to be continued unwanted contact then why aren’t you criticizing Diane just as much for her continued notes? Why is it only harassment if Elan does it? They are each responding to each other’s notes. If she had asked him to stop (without insulting him or without threatening to call the authorities) then I could see your point, but if she goes with the “I’m speaking last and then no one else is allowed to speak” ploy then that is just childish.

    If Diane was rude to the others on the plane, telling her to shut up isn’t out of place (though it would be better to focus on what she did wrong rather than just what she can do to correct it). The phrase “eat my dick” is an insult. It means “fuck you”. It does not mean that he literally wants someone to do it. And seeing as it is an insult that more commonly used among heterosexual men insulting each other, it makes no sense to call it sexist. I’m not a fan of name calling and insults, but I am even less of a fan of people taking things out of context like you’ve done.

    @Ophelia: he traded insults with Diane in the story. If you think that wasn’t appropriate, then she would be just as much to blame since she did the same in her first note.

    @Raging Bee: you can not cause harm to a non-existent person. I don’t like the fact that he lied or that he used crude language, but people who are suggesting that he was worse in the story than she was or that it was somehow sexist should be criticized as for their distortion as well.

  65. says

    Hibernia – good grief – that’s morally obtuse. Diane wouldn’t be “just as much to blame” (if the story were true) because she is not the one who initiated the contact.

    Yes shoving in front of someone in line is rude. On the other hand it’s not so rude that it merits a campaign of harassment for hours afterward. What Diane was said to have done was not as rude as shoving in front of someone in line. Saying “this isn’t about you” to a flight attendant is not very high on the rudeness scale.

  66. Jacob Schmidt says

    If you consider the notes to be continued unwanted contact then why aren’t you criticizing Diane just as much for her continued notes? Why is it only harassment if Elan does it?

    It’s not harassment if they fight back, don’tcha know.

    They are each responding to each other’s notes. If she had asked him to stop (without insulting him or without threatening to call the authorities)[1] then I could see your point, but if she goes with the “I’m speaking last and then no one else is allowed to speak” ploy then that is just childish.[2]

    1) Ladies and gentlemen, you must be polite to your harassers, otherwise you retroactively justify their behaviour.

    2) Yes, either she responds to harassment politely, or she’s just trying to get the last word. There are no other possibilities.

    And seeing as it is an insult that more commonly used among heterosexual men insulting each other…

    With all the sexuality attached. The insult is meant to be sexually demeaning; it says that the act of eating dick is degrading, and that she deserves to be degraded in such a manner.

    I’m not a fan of name calling and insults, but I am even less of a fan of people taking things out of context like you’ve done.

    Amusing, given the above.

    …but people who are suggesting that he was worse in the story than she was or that it was somehow sexist should be criticized as for their distortion as well.

    Really? Even if we ignore that Elan’s behaviour was persistent, the phrase “eat my dick” alone is more rude than Diane’s behaviour. The sentence “I hate you very much” is more rude than Diane’s behaviour. Honestly, the sum total of Diane’s rude behaviour was the phrase “It’s not about you.”

  67. Jacob Schmidt says

    And seeing as it is an insult that more commonly used among heterosexual men insulting each other…

    Also, this isn’t entirely true. It’s often used by men against women they don’t like, among other sexually degrading insults.

  68. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    Jacob Schmidt @ 471

    [re: Hypernia]
    And seeing as it is an insult that more commonly used among heterosexual men insulting each other…

    Also, this isn’t entirely true.

    I’d say it’s a bald-faced lie. Where does Hypernia’s “more commonly used” excuse come from? Why does the “usual” target of the insult matter when the insult does splash damage no matter the target? If it’s used against hetero men by hetero men, what is the implication for the one to suck the other’s dick? It’s that they’re gay. And we all know being gay is a huge insult to hetero men. So what Hypernia is actually arguing for is that it is in fact bigoted and not sexist at all. *fatal eyeroll*

  69. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    Er, Hibernia86, actually. Apologies for not double checking the nym.

  70. maddog1129 says

    @ Hibernia #468

    @maddog: Yes it is nice to give someone the benefit of the doubt, but I don’t blame anyone who calls other people out on their bad behavior. If someone shoves in front of you in line, we shouldn’t automatically assume “oh maybe their dog died today.” Sometimes that person is just an asshole. When bad things happen to people, normally they don’t take it out on others or at least apologize if they do. Normally if a person does something rude and doesn’t apologize, then they are just a self centered person.

    Yes, it is nice to give people the benefit of the doubt. I certainly have had my doubtful moments and can be relieved that no one particularly decided to “call me out” on it. I think most of the time, people do give each other the benefit of the doubt, because we’ve all been there ourselves. Couldn’t “giving them the benefit of the doubt” be a good default position or response?

    “Calling people out on their bad behavior” — depends a lot on what’s said and how it’s done. A lot of times, someone behaving rudely will get a little bit of other folks being slightly testy or rude back/too. Doesn’t escalate much, and pretty soon, everybody just carries on. Mild social disapproval can modify behavior, but it’s not really very pleasant to experience, either giving or receiving.

    If someone does something rude, ” we shouldn’t automatically assume *oh maybe their dog died today*.” I agree, it’s not possible to know, and therefore we can’t assume, something specific like “maybe their dog died.” But maybe we *can* assume that there could be some forgivable reason or stress for why they did that. After all, we all have the experience of lapses ourselves, don’t we? (e.g., cutting in line … maybe they didn’t see where the line was? … I’ve certainly done that before, stand where I think the line is, and find out that was just a gap. Oops! Sorry! and go to the back of the line.) Maybe we *can* assume that most people don’t act badly, by and large. Hardly anybody I know acts like a jerk very much of the time, and hardly ever on purpose. What role does the Golden Rule play? Treat others as you’d like to be treated; imagine yourself in their shoes. If they become aware that they’ve screwed up, I know in their place I’d feel ashamed and confused. I’m not sure that being “called out” would help.

    Yes, perhaps, when we see/hear/experience someone behaving badly, it might be true that the person “is just an asshole.” But I don’t know very many people who behave badly on a consistent basis, enough to assign them the general character of “just a jerk” or “not a nice person.” Most people, I think, do try to behave well most of the time. It’s not either/or or totally black/white. David K. Reynolds (who wrote “Constructive Living” and other similar books) wrote that people may have *moments” of certain feelings or behaviors, but people are much more complex than on/off yes/no black/white this way/that way. So a person may have sad moments, or stressed moments, or moments when they act like a jerk. But that’s not the sum of their character or substance.

    ” When bad things happen to people, normally they don’t take it out on others or at least apologize if they do. Normally if a person does something rude and doesn’t apologize, then they are just a self centered person.” I’m not sure this is nuanced enough. When bad things happen to people, *normally* they don’t take it out on others, but it’s also pretty normal for people under stress of bad things to have bad moments when they *do* take things out on others. If somebody does something rude, and doesn’t apologize (at least where you can see/hear it) that doesn’t make them 100% “just a self-centered person.” Maybe, as could happen to anyone, they had a self-centered moment. Maybe they felt too ashamed and awkward to speak up (apologize) afterward, esp. in a way that is noticeable to everyone around them; maybe they were just thankful that the momentary lapse is over. Again, it’s not either/or or black/white for me.

    I’m not sure where the strength of the feeling or impulse — to *make sure* personally that someone else doesn’t get a “free pass* — comes from. It feels a little bit like “an eye for an eye” notions of retributive justice, as if someone does something bad, so something bad must be done back to them because that’s what they “deserve.” Over the course of history, our notions of justice have, I hope, become a bit more sophisticated. Compassion and empathy are, in my view, better starting principles than rigid tit-for-tat “accountability.” Maybe a “free pass,” most of the time, is the best result? “Do nothing” might be the best answer in normal circumstances? Putting the question out there.

    N.B., the hypothetical I’m dealing with here is the semi-anonymous strangers-in-a-crowd kind of rudeness, such as cutting in line, or co-passengers on a transport, or other scenes where you probably will never see each other again. I’m not talking about dealing with chronic problem behavior from someone you interact with regularly.

  71. maddog1129 says

    @ Hibernia #468

    Responding to Shari, you say:

    If Diane was rude to the others on the plane, telling her to shut up isn’t out of place (though it would be better to focus on what she did wrong rather than just what she can do to correct it).

    If a Diane-type-person is rude to others on a plane, it’s certainly possible or expectable that someone might tell her to shut up (i.e., be rude back to her), but I’m not sure it isn’t out of place. Who, in your estimation, would be “telling her to shut up”? I’m not convinced that, in most circumstances, that’s the most optimal response.

    I’m wondering what you mean, why would it “be better to focus on what she did wrong rather than just what she can do to correct it” ? What do you have in mind? Who is doing the focusing? Why isn’t it more helpful to think about or focus on what she could do to correct it ?

  72. Peebee says

    Jacob @ 463

    Not sure what you crawled out from under to join the insult parade, but if you want to accuse people of blatantly lying, you might just consider that comments are easily documented. I’ll ignore 1 and 2 because they don’t contain anything capable of being responded to.

    3: My first post (277): http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/11/bullying-at-35-thousand-feet/#comment-1006347

    Shortly thereafter, Raging Bee started calling me Peepee (“progressing” to call me “Little Man,” for which even the post author (no fan of mine, it would seem) eventually called her out on): http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/11/bullying-at-35-thousand-feet/#comment-1011752
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/11/bullying-at-35-thousand-feet/#comment-1027673

    In the next comment, Ingdigo Jump told me to “sit and spin,” the 20th century equivalent of “fuck you,” or yes, “eat my dick.” It’s a insulting and sexual reference that everyone who hears it generally understands that it’s not meant to be executed on the spot — or at all (or at least I thought so until this debate). http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/11/bullying-at-35-thousand-feet/#more-10989

    4. Non-sequitur? Perhaps you didn’t read Kerry’s comment @ 459. http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/11/bullying-at-35-thousand-feet/#comment-1028474

    5. “they strike me…” “nothing of note here…” sheer opinion. Which I disagree with.

    Passive-aggressive definition: why yes, it does have a definition…which doesn’t even fit this debate. The Wikipedia article you cite has as the definition “procrastination, hostile jokes, stubbornness, resentment, sullenness, or deliberate/repeated failure to accomplish requested tasks for which one is (often explicitly) responsible.”
    *Procrastination (just mine in hanging out here instead of doing some other task I’m avoiding)
    *Hostile jokes (didn’t make any)
    *Stubbornness (Kind of circular, don’t you think? Since you get to define as stubborn someone continuing to debate something you don’t agree, and I of course can do the same.)
    *Resentment (None here, so move along)
    *Sullenness (Ditto)
    *Deliberate/repeated failure to accomplish requested tasks (Not applicable here.)

    And I know Kerry would never diagnose people over the internet (http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/11/bullying-at-35-thousand-feet/#comment-1017222), so Kerry couldn’t be talking about “passive-aggressive personality disorder” out of the DSM-IV. It was just your run-of-the-mill oblique dig: the “I stopped responding to her directly because she’s so passive-aggressive, but I’m going to make a comment about her to another person in a public thread I know she’s reading, because that’s not passive-aggressive at all. Neither was calling me Elan.

  73. Brea says

    This has turned out to be quite the interesting, if unintentional, social experiment. People decided to support either Elan or Diane then subsequently reduce and/or exaggerate Elan or Diane’s behaviour based on whether they were trying to justify and/or condemn it. Throughout all of this every report I’ve read has cherry-picked the parts of the story that will sustain the polarisation for as long as possible. Then, finally, people have tried to use the revelation that it was all a hoax to support their argument further and try to identify egg on their opponents faces.

    There have been so many parallels between how this has played out and how the fictional confrontation played out that Elan and Diane’s childish back and forth offers us a perfect microcosm of how poor discourse in gender politics is.

  74. says

    @Raging Bee: you can not cause harm to a non-existent person.

    You’re misrepresenting what I said. Lies about nonexistent people can, and do, cause harm to real people. As I already said, think of racial stereotypes, or boys lying about their sexual exploits.

    Not sure what you crawled out from under to join the insult parade, but if you want to accuse people of blatantly lying, you might just consider that comments are easily documented.

    Are you kidding me?! Your entire argument is based on blatant lies by Elan, which you still defend even after he admitted he’d made it all up! You’re not in a position to lecture ANYONE about “blatantly lying.” Your conduct here strongly implies that you wouldn’t know the truth if it bit off your leg.

    If Diane was rude to the others on the plane, telling her to shut up isn’t out of place…

    It’s not out of place for airline officials to enforce the rules they’re paid to enforce. NO ONE ELSE has that responsibility or any of the powers that go with it. If you want to be the Commercial Airlines Manners Police, then get a job with an airline.

    Dear Passenger in 7A…

    Really, Peebee? After all the batshit-stupid things you’ve said here, after all the ways you’ve been shown to be a craven sucker for a pathological liar, you really think you have the chops to lecture someone else about anything? What a fucking joke. I’m half-inclined to ask you how much more asinine you can get, but I don’t think I’ll like the answer. (And the fact that you’re pretending to lecture someone who doesn’t exist just makes your efforts even sillier.)

    And like I said before, if you think it’s your calling to be the Commercial Airlines Manners Police, then go get a job with an airline. Go ahead, apply online, then tell us how impressed they are with your resume.

  75. Anthony K says

    Lies about nonexistent people can, and do, cause harm to real people.

    Like Reagan’s Cadillac-driving welfare queen from Chicago.

  76. says

    Seriously, I’m beginning to think Peebee is Elan…

    Seriously, that’s a very real possibility. Sockpuppetry is known to happen, and a person who makes up a story of a confrontation with a nonexistent person, would certainly not be above making up an online persona to agree with him. That would, in fact, make a lot more sense than a real person taking Elan’s side long after Elan himself had admitted he was full of shit the whole time.

  77. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    Peebee @ 477

    for which even the post author (no fan of mine, it would seem) eventually called her out on

    There was no interaction between you and Ophelia that would suggest such an idea. Trying to weasel word it with “it would seem” does not excuse your making shit up. In fact, Ophelia said nothing at all to you directly that would even give you that impression. So where the hell do you come off making that bogus claim?

  78. Jacob Schmidt says

    Not sure what you crawled out from under to join the insult parade…

    I actually hopped in at 457, and refrained from any insulting language (except that which I aimed at Elan). You ignored that post for some reason. My guess is that you merely wish to whine about those mean people on the internet, and can’t be bothered to put up an actual argument.

    I’ll ignore 1 and 2 because they don’t contain anything capable of being responded to.

    You can’t explain where you get your ideas from (that is what I asked you in point 2)? Are you merely reactionary, banging on thoughtlessly?

    …but if you want to accuse people of blatantly lying, you might just consider that comments are easily documented.

    -SNIP-

    My first post (277)

    See posts 281 and 282; the actual first responses, devoid of insults. I don’t deny that you’ve been insulted, but it has not been “from the first response.” In fact, it’s been mostly from one person, who has since been told to stop by two others, including the blog owner.

    Non-sequitur? Perhaps you didn’t read Kerry’s comment @ 459

    I did, and there’s nothing about quaking in your boots; fear is simply not a subject in that post. Yet somehow, it is a subject you leapt to. A non-sequitur, in other words.

    …sheer opinion.

    Supported opinion. He did pick an easy target. He did push an uncontroversial idea, one that pretty much no one has disagreed with. Given his field of work and his history, pandering is something he does. This is merely another attempt at it.

    Do you actually have something that supports your opinion, or are you again merely being reactionary?

    Passive-aggressive definition: why yes, it does have a definition…which doesn’t even fit this debate.

    Look at your first sentence: “Not sure what you crawled out from under to join the insult parade…” Could that be *gasp* and indirect expression of hostility? Why yes, it is. That list is an set of examples, not a list of criteria.

    *Stubbornness (Kind of circular, don’t you think? Since you get to define as stubborn someone continuing to debate something you don’t agree, and I of course can do the same.)

    :sigh:

    This is just a peave of mine. Circular reasoning is when the premise and the conclusion are the same: “The line is straight, therefore it is not curved.” Something like, “She’s being stubborn, therefore she’s passive aggressive” is not circular.

    (ps: there are quote tags, like so: <blockquote> text here </blockquote>)

  79. Peebee says

    Jacob @485

    Boy, you do love to parse things literally, don’t you? (“Boy” is just an expression and not used derisionally such as with African-American males.) It’s a game that more than one person knows how to play, however. Sorry, I don’t use blockquote tags when they’re done like this blog: with the indentations, large quotation marks and lines, it makes long posts even longer and things even more dreadful on mobile devices. (I will use italics if you worry my HTML skills might be deficient.) (I know Chigau @ 397 does.)

    Your first post directed at me (463) accused me of “blatantly lying” and “stubborn idiocy.” If you don’t consider those insults, then you have no room to accuse anyone of passive-aggressive behavior or “not being bothered to put up an actual argument.” I get it: you think Elan’s an asshole. It’s not a news flash: I think Diane’s an asshole. I actually think they’re both assholes, and made that pretty clear throughout my posts. For some reason, and maybe it’s just the nature of those who comment on this blog, this particular issue has seemed to turn everyone into a bunch of assholes, between the name-calling and the throwing around of words like “liar,” “stupid,” “idiot,” etc. If you don’t want to debate the issue, that’s fine, but throwing around language like that doesn’t impress anyone, and certainly doesn’t persuade anyone to change their minds. “Debate the issue, not the person” is a pretty simple maxim that seems to have escaped a number of people here. When I see how riled up people get from a simple difference of opinion, I think I understand why some don’t think the fictional Diane’s behavior was too far out of line, and why they feel so strongly that Elan caused her meltdown by riling her up, fictionally of course.

    >>>See posts 281 and 282; the actual first responses, devoid of insults.
    The first one was a needlessly sarcastic, non-substantive response, while the second’s question “did you bother to read?” was certainly rude and insulting. I didn’t engage, but clarified what I said, thinking that the rude initial responses came from the mistaken impression I hadn’t read any of the comments (which I had). Then the name-calling kicked in. I’ve been part of the blogging community for over 10 years, and this is one of the most hostile set of responses I’ve ever seen to a newcomer. I gather a bunch of people are unhappy about being linked from Buzzfeed and want to keep playing in their tiny sandbox with people who all think the same way — not engage in legitimate debate. That’s fine, I can’t see wanting to stay once this is played out when the author/mod takes a day and a half and over 150 comments to shut down the most juvenile and obvious name-calling (and only after someone else objects).

    >>>I did, and there’s nothing about quaking in your boots; fear is simply not a subject in that post.
    You’ve created the non-sequitur: I was accused of being Elan. If I really were Elan, I would be worried about being exposed. Hence fear, which can cause one to “quake in [her] boots.” That’s not a literal expression, BTW: I might not be wearing boots, and I might not actually be “quaking” – save that for my boyfriend. Elan looks like a Chucks or Skechers kind of guy, but I could be wrong: I’ve never met him, and hadn’t even heard of him before all of this. You can’t even find me among his Twitter followers.

    >>>Supported opinion. He did pick an easy target. He did push an uncontroversial idea, one that pretty much no one has disagreed with. Given his field of work and his history, pandering is something he does. This is merely another attempt at it.
    You can’t support an opinion with another opinion. “easy target,” “uncontroversial idea”, “pandering.” All your opinions.

    >>>Could that be *gasp* and indirect expression of hostility?
    Boy, you walked right into that one, didn’t you? Read my post at 461, the one that set you off initially. What, pray tell, is labeling someone guilty of “blatant ly[ing]” and “stubborn idiocy? That’s not indirectly hostile, so it’s not passive – aggressive: I guess it must be just aggressive aggressive. What I said? It’s more precisely mild to moderate sarcasm, which pales in comparison to the tenor of many to most comments around here (and those of St. Diane of the Traveling Sisterhood of Mom Jeans, certainly) (see what I did there?[sarcasm] in case it needs to be tagged ).

    >>>Circular reasoning is when the premise and the conclusion are the same: “The line is straight, therefore it is not curved.” Something like, “She’s being stubborn, therefore she’s passive aggressive” is not circular.
    A peeve of mine is when someone is being needlessly obtuse. From our friends at Wikipedia who’ve already courteously obliged with the passive-aggressive definition: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circular_reasoning)
    “the reasoner begins with what he or she is trying to end up with” “Circular reasoning is often of the form: “A is true because B is true; B is true because A is true.” Stubborn = passive-aggressive; passive-aggressive = stubborn. So if I decide someone is stubborn (because they don’t back down from disagreeing with me), then I can decide they are also engaging in passive-aggressive behavior.

  80. John Morales says

    Peebee @486:

    I get it: you think Elan’s an asshole. It’s not a news flash: I think Diane’s an asshole. I actually think they’re both assholes, and made that pretty clear throughout my posts.

    But since Elan is a real person and Diane is a figment of Elan’s imagination, there is only one actual “asshole”.

    [meta + OT]

    Stubborn = passive-aggressive; passive-aggressive = stubborn. So if I decide someone is stubborn (because they don’t back down from disagreeing with me), then I can decide they are also engaging in passive-aggressive behavior.

    Since your decision is based on a false equivalence, it is obtuse — and since you claim to consider needless obtuseness to be peeving, you are either peeved at yourself or you don’t imagine your obtuseness to be needless.

    (You’re doing yourself no favours)

  81. Peebee says

    John Morales at 487:

    >>>But since Elan is a real person and Diane is a figment of Elan’s imagination, there is only one actual “asshole”.
    Elan is a real person, but the “asshole” things he did were also figments of his imagination. For all we know, he’s never said “eat my dick” or written “I hate you very much” notes to any woman ever. Hell, maybe he’d even earn a rose from a Bachelorette if he appeared on his own show. We don’t know the real Elan: all we know is that he stages hoaxes to gain more social media followers. Millions of authors write fictional books to gain money, fame, and recognition. So what? You assume everything you read on Twitter is true?

    The “false equivalence” is from the very definition Jacob suggested I use, and I already pointed out its limitations, multiple times.

  82. Peebee says

    Throwaway at 484:

    Should have known your reasonably civil response at 460 was an anomaly. Trying to goad me into attacking Ophelia, are we?

    What I said was my impression: it would have to be considering I don’t know Ophelia, can’t crawl into her brain, and wasn’t aware of her or this blog until this particular post. FWIW, I also have the impression that you don’t like me very much. Do using the words “making shit up” and “bogus claim” count, or do I have to go back to find everything else you’ve said about me?

    Here’s the basis for my impression:

    The namecalling started in 296, and I pointed it out in 312. In the very next post, 313, it was followed with “sit and spin,” which apparently is not considered as offensive here as “eat my dick,” even though they mean essentially the same thing, i.e., “stick my penis in your orifice.” (I sincerely doubt that anyone was inviting me to use their Playskool toy, since I’m a grownup and wouldn’t fit.)

    In 319, Ophelia directly replied to my post 312 (the one where I pointed out the name calling) to say “You have NO IDEA whether her voice was loud or not” (even though Elan had said he heard Diane from 5 rows away). Using ALL CAPS usually means you’re ANGRY or UPSET with the person you’re responding to, and no mention was made of the name-calling.

    In fact, the childish name-calling continued up until Ophelia intervened in post 451, 150+ comments and 1 1/2 days later. That directly followed maddog1129′s admonishment in 450, and well after I pointed out the addition of the gendered comment “Little Man” at 439. In the meantime, Ophelia said in 376, in another post directed at my comments specifically (claiming I was exaggerating) to not “call people pussies, don’t talk about small dicks, none of that.” Again, pussies and small dicks, not OK; peepees, not even mentioned.

    Since the level of commenting here appears to be unusually high, I could understand if Ophelia just gave up trying to police the comments and cross out the most offensive ones as she had been doing earlier (I have no idea how many she deleted before deciding not to). But she was certainly aware of the name calling well before Raging Bee was told to knock it off, and well after she made other admonishments regarding gendered comments. Again, you may not agree with my assumption (and neither may Ophelia, by the way), but I’m not “making shit up.”

  83. Jacob Schmidt says

    Your first post directed at me…

    Was 457, not 463.

    accused me of “blatantly lying” and “stubborn idiocy.” If you don’t consider those insults, then you have no room to accuse anyone of passive-aggressive behavior or “not being bothered to put up an actual argument.”

    The former is not an insult; it’s a description of your behaviour, and an apparently accurate one at that. The latter, however, is an insult, and intended to be.

    I actually think they’re both assholes, and made that pretty clear throughout my posts. For some reason, and maybe it’s just the nature of those who comment on this blog, this particular issue has seemed to turn everyone into a bunch of assholes, between the name-calling and the throwing around of words like “liar,” “stupid,” “idiot,” etc.

    That’s not the nature of my contention. Though, the idea that Elan is an asshole is at odds with some of your posts, such as 488 (where you argue that his asshole behaviour is a figment of imagination) and 455 (where you argue something similar, and seem to credit Elan with encouraging others to be nice, calling it “a raging success”).

    The first one was a needlessly sarcastic, non-substantive response[1], while the second’s question “did you bother to read?” was certainly rude and insulting.[2]

    1) So not insulting than. In other words, you lied.

    2) What response do you honestly expect when you rehash a point that everyone has agreed with? People will question whether or not you’ve been reading along if your just repeating the same old argument again and again.

    I mean, honestly, look at this: “So it’s right to be rude to flight attendants over something they can’t change or fix? It’s right to loudly complain about a situation applicable to everyone like you’re being specially singled out? It’s right to slap someone in FAA-controlled space?”

    All ideas that no one has put forward. Something you’d know had you been reading. Are you really that surprised that people are questioning whether or not you’ve been keeping up?

    You’ve created the non-sequitur[1]: I was accused of being Elan. If I really were Elan, I would be worried about being exposed.[2]

    1) I don’t think you know what non-sequitur means.

    2) Not necessarily. Indeed, given that not all language is literal (a point you like to bang on about, though no one has argued otherwise), it may be that Kerry was not being literal, but noting that your behaviour is more appropriate from one who is being personally defensive as opposed to pointless stubbornness (that is, in fact, how I would use such phrasing). Maybe not; I honestly am not sure.

    You can’t support an opinion with another opinion. “easy target,” “uncontroversial idea”, “pandering.” All your opinions.

    Who has argued that being rude is ok? Wait, no one. So the idea was uncontroversial. Honestly, this isn’t hard.

    Read my post at 461, the one that set you off initially.[1] What, pray tell, is labeling someone guilty of “blatant ly[ing]” and “stubborn idiocy?[2] That’s not indirectly hostile, so it’s not passive – aggressive: I guess it must be just aggressive aggressive. What I said? It’s more precisely mild to moderate sarcasm, which pales in comparison to the tenor of many to most comments around here[3] (and those of St. Diane of the Traveling Sisterhood of Mom Jeans, certainly) (see what I did there?[sarcasm] in case it needs to be tagged ).

    1) Once more, nope. See 457.

    2) Directly hostile, certainly.

    3) Tone trolling won’t work around here. Most of us don’t care if you couch your idiocy in polite terms.

    Stubborn = passive-aggressive; passive-aggressive = stubborn

    Neither has been presented as true. Neither is true, for that matter.

    So if I decide someone is stubborn (because they don’t back down from disagreeing with me), then I can decide they are also engaging in passive-aggressive behavior.

    If stubbornness could only be explained by indirect hostility, than yes, such reasoning would be valid. However, since stubbornness is a thing unto itself, separate from indirect hostility, the reasoning still wouldn’t be circular. You’ve simply assumed that one begets the other, and therefore reasoning is circular. That’s not enough. The premise and conclusion must be the same. “If A, therefor B; A, therefore B” is not circular reasoning. The premise (A -> B) is separate from the conclusion (B). “If stubborn, therefore passive aggressive” is similarly not circular reasoning. Once more, the premise (stubbornness is only a product of passive aggression) is not the same as the conclusion (he/she is passive aggressive).

    Elan is a real person, but the “asshole” things he did were also figments of his imagination.

    No, he really did support bullying; he really did present such behaviour as good. As I noted in 457, whether or not he ‘s just as much of an asshole is up for debate.

    The “false equivalence” is from the very definition Jacob suggested I use, and I already pointed out its limitations, multiple times.

    No. Not at all.

  84. John Morales says

    Peebee @488:

    We don’t know the real Elan: all we know is that he stages hoaxes to gain more social media followers. Millions of authors write fictional books to gain money, fame, and recognition. So what? You assume everything you read on Twitter is true?

    So, I draw your attention to the OP: “One of the hot social media items this morning is a woman who made a big fuss about a delayed flight because Thanksgiving and a guy who retaliated. The point of the item seems to be that the guy did a great job of schooling the woman. I beg to differ.”

    Not only did he not do such a great job (you yourself believe him to have been an “asshole”), but he did it while channeling Walter Mitty. So, we do know something about the real Elan.

  85. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    Should have known your reasonably civil response at 460 was an anomaly. Trying to goad me into attacking Ophelia, are we?

    Non-sequitur. You’ve already “attacked” Ophelia by way of stating she’s being unfair specifically to you because she dislikes you. No need to goad you into doing something you’ve already done, what.

    Do using the words “making shit up” and “bogus claim” count, or do I have to go back to find everything else you’ve said about me?

    Please, be my guest. While you’re scrolling back, maybe you can answer my 345.

    In 319, Ophelia directly replied to my post 312 (the one where I pointed out the name calling) to say “You have NO IDEA whether her voice was loud or not” (even though Elan had said he heard Diane from 5 rows away). Using ALL CAPS usually means you’re ANGRY or UPSET with the person you’re responding to, and no mention was made of the name-calling.

    Is that REALLY the ONLY interpretation of completely capitalized words? Could it POSSIBLY have anything to do with EMPHASIS? The mere FACT that YOU CHOSE the single worst interpretation of capitalized words betrays YOUR biased interpretation in order to project onto someone your perception of how they feel about you. You’re doing it to me now because you have nothing but circumstantial evidence to back up your weasel-worded claim about Ophelia, therefore I must secretly dislike you because I said your claims were bogus and you were making shit up. I could hide behind MY impression of YOU, and I could point out and quote things YOU’VE said and done which would seemingly support my interpretation of your inner-thoughts, but such surmising would be UNFAIR and would rightfully be perceived as simply an insult by you.

    In fact, the childish name-calling continued up until Ophelia intervened in post 451, 150+ comments and 1 1/2 days later. That directly followed maddog1129′s admonishment in 450, and well after I pointed out the addition of the gendered comment “Little Man” at 439. In the meantime, Ophelia said in 376, in another post directed at my comments specifically (claiming I was exaggerating) to not “call people pussies, don’t talk about small dicks, none of that.” Again, pussies and small dicks, not OK; peepees, not even mentioned.

    I bolded the exceptional phrase. If you were arguing in good faith, or weren’t just being self-serving in your argumentation, you would give the benefit of the doubt to Ophelia that “none of that” also included other belittling diminutives. Yet again, you’re going with the interpretation that her “none of that” was specifically about genital-based diminutives. Circumstantial.

    but I’m not “making shit up.”

    You’re making shit up about the reality of the situation. You may perceive the events as corroboratory with such a reality, but the second you try to project YOUR assumptions based on actions which you DO NOT know the motive behind, you are making shit up.

  86. Peebee says

    John, Jacob (don’t know any Jingleheimer Schmidts on here or I might include them too.)

    Let’s clear up this asshole/non-asshole thing.

    At the point where we were operating under the assumption was that the incident happened, I considered them both assholes. Since I knew nothing about Elan prior to this incident, I had no basis upon which to judge whether he was telling the truth: all I had to go on was the Twitter stream detailing his conduct and Diane’s conduct. Because I didn’t consider Diane blameless, I didn’t think Elan’s conduct was that much worse than hers, but obviously not everyone agrees with that.

    Once we knew that the incident never happened, then neither was an asshole: Diane, because she didn’t exist and thus the conduct which made her an asshole never happened, and Elan, because the conduct that made him an asshole also never happened. Some want to make Elan out to be an asshole for fooling them, even though a number of those same people were proclaiming that it was probably a hoax in the first place.

    But John Morales, please tell me I’m misunderstanding you, because it seems like you’re saying that Elan is an asshole because the fictional character of @theyearofelan behaved like an asshole in the tale he told? (Isn’t it abundantly clear yet that @theyearofelan has assumed the persona of a fictional narrator, not a first-person journalist chronicling the real-life adventures of Elan Gale the reality TV producer?)

    And Jacob: “No, he really did support bullying; he really did present such behaviour as good.” No, the Twitter persona @theyearofelan did, if he did anything at all (“bullying” is once again your opinion, not a fact capable of being proven.) How is anything @theyearofelan says less fictional than anything else @theyearofelan says? And now that it’s proven to be fiction, how is it any more indicative of his true personality than anything else a writer of fiction would say? Boy, that Charles Dickens must really be an asshole, because that Ebenezer Scrooge is a terrible man, who supported abusing his workers and family members.

    Please do me a favor, both of you, and stay away from the library or the movie theater, if that’s the case. It could really send you over the edge. Cruella DeVil doesn’t really skin puppies; nor does “Buffalo Bill” skin young ladies, BTW, because they’re not real.

  87. A. Noyd says

    Peebee (#488)

    We don’t know the real Elan: all we know is that he stages hoaxes to gain more social media followers.

    And you think that doesn’t tell us anything about the real Elan? Really!?

    Millions of authors write fictional books to gain money, fame, and recognition. So what? You assume everything you read on Twitter is true?

    Uh, those millions of fiction writers don’t generally try to portray their inventions as truth. Rather the opposite. In fact, there’s usually a motherfucking disclaimer on the copyright page that goes something like: “This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.” (Taken from here.) Authors who do try to sell their fiction as non-fiction get in trouble when they’re found out. See James Frey, for instance.

    Is there any subject at all you’re capable of getting right?

  88. A. Noyd says

    Jacob Schmidt (#490)

    it may be that Kerry was not being literal, but noting that your behaviour is more appropriate from one who is being personally defensive as opposed to pointless stubbornness

    Peebee seems to understand hyperbole as well as she understands fiction, bullying, standing up for people, B&W culture, blockquotes, passive aggressiveness, non sequiturs, false equivalences, all caps, etc.

  89. Peebee says

    A. Noyd

    Once again, do you believe everything you read on Twitter is true? If you don’t have any basis to assume that, then why would a disclaimer be needed?

    In books and movies with dollars at stake, the disclaimers are important to ensure they are categorized correctly (I know some people who only read one or the other, fiction or non-fiction, or who only watch documentaries) and that profits are allocated correctly: that an actual person who could be either defamed or enriched by the existence of the work is identified and acknowledged, but not if no such person exists.) And given the plethora of @theyearofelan’s hoaxes, would you really have any basis to believe that what he’s saying is true?

    So it says he’s a shameless self promoter….not a quality I put at the top of the list, personally, but certainly in a whole different universe than a bully or a sexual harasser or misogynist.

  90. John Morales says

    Peebee @493:

    But John Morales, please tell me I’m misunderstanding you, because it seems like you’re saying that Elan is an asshole because the fictional character of @theyearofelan behaved like an asshole in the tale he told? (Isn’t it abundantly clear yet that @theyearofelan has assumed the persona of a fictional narrator, not a first-person journalist chronicling the real-life adventures of Elan Gale the reality TV producer?)

    But the point of the OP (does it annoy you that I keep referring to the ostensible subject of discourse?) is that, regardless of the veridicality of the series of tweets, the purported schooling of the unruly passenger was less than estimable.

    Now, if you want to hold that whenever he tweets under that identity it’s as a fictional persona rather than as himself, that’s your prerogative — but that’s irrelevant to the merits of the behaviour of the fictional persona no less than its own indictment regarding the person.

  91. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    And given the plethora of @theyearofelan’s hoaxes, would you really have any basis to believe that what he’s saying is true?

    It’s really more about the quality of the pranks and what they were about. Given that his pranks have generally belied a mean-spirited tinge to them (the Asian food, the phoney receipt) it is not unreasonable to assume that this type of behavior was accurately reported by Elan himself.

  92. John Morales says

    Peebee #496:

    So it says he’s a shameless self promoter….not a quality I put at the top of the list, personally, but certainly in a whole different universe than a bully or a sexual harasser or misogynist.

    On the contrary; granting all of your claims and the facts at hand, it also says that his shameless self-promotion involves adopting a persona who indulges in putting down a distraught woman by telling her that he hates her very much and to “eat [his] dick”.

  93. says

    Peebee #409:

    And Jacob: “No, he really did support bullying; he really did present such behaviour as good.” No, the Twitter persona @theyearofelan did, if he did anything at all (“bullying” is once again your opinion, not a fact capable of being proven.) How is anything @theyearofelan says less fictional than anything else @theyearofelan says? And now that it’s proven to be fiction, how is it any more indicative of his true personality than anything else a writer of fiction would say? Boy, that Charles Dickens must really be an asshole, because that Ebenezer Scrooge is a terrible man, who supported abusing his workers and family members.

    Not every character in a story is there to be celebrated, Peebee (and there’s also a world of difference between an alter-ego and a fully fictional protagonist). The whole point of A Christmas Carol is that Scrooge starts out as an arsehole whom the readers are meant to despise and via a transformative experience he becomes a non-arsehole, and it’s only the transformed Scrooge whom Dickens means for us to celebrate.

    Compare and contrast with Gale’s alter-ego protagonist @theyearofelan.
    * No transformation: he starts out as a smug arsehole and ends as a smug arsehole.
    * Gale clearly wants his readers to cheer for @theyearofelan’s witty bullying strut rather than despise his flaws.

    So, Dickens points out the destructiveness of selfish nastiness via Scrooge’s initial behaviours and invites the audience to examine their own shortfalls and improve themselves as Scrooge ends up doing, while Gale frames @theyearofelan’s selfish nastiness as a *constructive* social force and invites the audience to indulge their own selfish nastiness because he showed them how to justify it as punishing other people’s rudeness. The character arc, problem to be solved, and take-home message of the two stories could not be more different.

    Framing @theyearofelan’s selfish nastiness as a constructive social force is the act which has critics describing Gale as an arsehole.

  94. Peebee says

    Throwaway at 492:

    Tell you what, I’ll attempt to answer your obviously rhetorical and unanswerable question in 345, if you’ll live up to your statement in 440.

    ALL CAPS as EMPHASIS doesn’t get you very far at all…since emphasizing “NO IDEA” was just making clear that she believed I was wrong, even though the “facts in evidence” were very much in support of Diane’s loud voice in the fictional dossier of her behavior.

    Benefits of the doubt are typically awarded on a very limited basis, until evidence removes all doubt. But what you call “weasel-worded” was in fact continuing to grant the benefit of the doubt, couching my terms in ways that could be interpreted favorably or non-favorably, however the shoe fits. And given that Raging Bee continued to use “Peepee” well after post 376, if “none of that” could considered to be inclusive, it certainly wasn’t understood to be so by the person who needed to (417, 420, 433, 436 (with “Little Man” in 432, 436)).

    Most evidence is circumstantial, but that’s why we are given brains to make reasonable inferences. I really don’t care whether or not the name callers get shut down by the moderator, because not shutting them down demonstrated more than I ever could their lack of interest in civil debate, and willingness to be completely down with gendered insults when THEY wanted to use them.

  95. Peebee says

    Dead horses abound here: it’s like Custer’s Last Stand after the human bodies were hauled away.

    But you’re the moderator, and asking me to wrap it up, so consider it done. Since Throwaway wasn’t also so instructed, I think my point has been more than adequately proven.

  96. A. Noyd says

    Peebee (#496)

    Once again, do you believe everything you read on Twitter is true? If you don’t have any basis to assume that, then why would a disclaimer be needed?

    The point (and missing those seems to be the only thing you excel at) is that your “but, but, fiiiiiction!!” analogy fails because fiction books don’t work the same way at all. That James Frey’s hoax was a scandal proves that.

    but certainly in a whole different universe than a bully or a sexual harasser or misogynist.

    Not a different universe at all. (Nor are racist jokes anything other than racism just because they’re also jokes.) Elan’s hoaxes are based on portraying bullying, sexual harassment and misogyny in a positive light. And he seems to earnestly believe his actions would have been appropriate and justifiable. He’s certainly encouraging other people to think that way. And that’s shitty-person behavior.

    What you’re too clueless to realize is that when people with high social status condone or promote the bullying and harassing of those with lower social status, even when it’s fictional, it reinforces harmful norms that do genuine damage as they’re played out in reality again and again. That you don’t believe that doesn’t make it any less true.

    Anyway, I’m done with you.

  97. Kerry says

    I still don’t believe that he intended to call it fiction until he started being heavily criticized, even by his peers.Then he pulled the “haha only joking” and blamed the believers “But it was so ridiculous, I didn’t think anyone would believe it!” and “my followers know I lie on my twitter. I do it all the time!”

  98. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    Tell you what, I’ll attempt to answer your obviously rhetorical and unanswerable question in 345, if you’ll live up to your statement in 440.

    See, now we’re getting somewhere. You have NO IDEA whether Elan’s behavior, or the act of calling someone out, even as disingenuously polite as you did with your proposed note, will actually lead to fewer people exhibiting behavior towards service personnel such as Diane’s. So why state that as a fact? Why presume that a bunch of Elan’s running around passing derisive notes to people whose behavior they deem uncouth is a net positive? I can foresee that proposed outcome become immediately untenable when such happens to you personally.

    As for letting you have the last word, I changed my mind. I found some more patience to deal with your tenacity, and have had a lot of fun with this discussion/argument. I hope you don’t think I was personally insulting you as you implied I had done with your question about looking up my prior comments. I didn’t appreciate that and it actually hurt my feelings a little bit that you felt my “civil” behavior was an anomaly. Then I realized that your standards of behavior are a bit demanding and got over it.

    ALL CAPS as EMPHASIS doesn’t get you very far at all…since emphasizing “NO IDEA” was just making clear that she believed I was wrong, even though the “facts in evidence” were very much in support of Diane’s loud voice in the fictional dossier of her behavior.

    Wow, she believed you were wrong. Quelle horror! It actually gets me further than you give it credit: because no longer does that indicate a dislike of you, personally, just a disdain for your unevidenced imagining about the decibel level of her voice (and using a contentious subjective word such as “loud” for that matter.) As an experienced flier you should know that 5 rows in the economy section in an encapsulated plane allows anything over a whisper to carry easily. What determined your ascertaining that it was “loud” can be argued against as it is an interpretation not in evidence directly to you. It was “loud enough”, definitely, but “loud” alone makes it sound as if it were a shout. Kind of an unfair characterization, but it sure as hell was not an unfair way to state it on Ophelia’s part.

    because not shutting them down demonstrated more than I ever could their lack of interest in civil debate, and willingness to be completely down with gendered insults when THEY wanted to use them.

    Confirmatory bias.

  99. says

    I still don’t believe that he intended to call it fiction until he started being heavily criticized, even by his peers.

    I agree. First he pretended the person and events were real; then he said he only wanted to remind people to “be nice;” and then, after he realized none of that was flying with his audience, he admitted it was all made up and he just wanted to be funny. It’s an old standard schtick for assholes and liars like him, Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh: say something intended to be serious, then hide behind the “I was just kidding!” dodge when the “serious” commentary is shown to be pure despicable crap.

    Oh well, at least that dodge shows Elan actually learned something. That’s more than his rabid fangirl Peebee can say (if Peebee isn’t a sockpuppet of Elan’s, that is).

  100. maddog1129 says

    In the “Forgotten” thread of Dec 5, 2013, Salty Current wrote

    I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but Max Blumenthal’s book Republican Gomorrah (which has its problems) discusses James Dobson’s treatises Dare to Discipline (1970) and The Strong-Willed Child (1992), how they advocated the physical abuse and terrorizing of children, and how this has contributed to many psychologically scarred people who form the base of a highly authoritarian Christian Right in the US. He talks about a book called Spare the Child: The Religious roots of Punishment and the Psychological Impact of Physical Abuse by Philip Greven (there’s another by Alice Miller called For Your Own Good) which analyzes the personal psychological and the sociological harms of this culture of child abuse.

    The Pearls’ book seems very much in that tradition.

    I wonder if it isn’t a streak of authoritarianism which gives rise to so much energy devoted to individuals wanting to make sure that no other individual “gets a *free pass*” for momentary bad behavior. Nobody that I’ve seen in this thread has grappled with my suggestion (at least, afaik) that possibly giving people a benefit of the doubt (is that a “free pass”?) is a perfectly fine and normal response.

    Peebee at #503 wrote:

    Benefits of the doubt are typically awarded on a very limited basis, until evidence removes all doubt.

    I wonder if that’s really true, though. For myself, I award, or want to award, the benefit of the doubt pretty generously.

    Timothy J. Miller’s book, “How to Want What You Have” — which focuses on actual practice in the principles of compassion, attention, and gratitude — advocates that empathy and putting yourself in someone else’s shoes are essential to the C, A, G principles, and thus to happiness itself. For example, Miller discussed practicing the principle of compassion in a context where people often get angry — other drivers doing stupid stuff on the road — and recommended that instead of getting angry, I could focus on what is similar between other drivers and myself. I could think, e.g., most people want pretty much the same things as each other, and for pretty much the same reasons. We each love our families, we each want to be treated well, we each want to get where we are going and are anxious about that. If I consciously bring to mind the idea, “that driver just wants to get where they are going, pretty much the same as I do,” and if I remember that I, too, have sometimes done stupid driving tricks while being stressed and anxious to get where I’m going, — IOW, to give other people the same benefit of the doubt I’d want for myself — then my feelings of road rage generally subside. Having — practicing — compassion for someone else reduces my anger and stress, and consequently I’m happier or less unhappy at any rate.

    I view the momentary exposure to a disgruntled airline passenger as pretty similar to the dumb driver scenario Miller discussed. People in those situations are stressed and upset, and they want to get where they are going, pretty much the same way I do, and for pretty much the same reasons. I know I’ve had meltdowns under stress myself, before, so maybe putting myself in their shoes, and giving the benefit of the doubt — AKA, giving the person a “free pass” — isn’t such a bad idea? Normally, the exposure to the obnoxious passenger/driver is fleeting, and I keep my equanimity better by doing so.

    What is so essential about each individual “calling out” every instance of another person’s bad behavior? Why is it so important, seemingly, to so many people, that nobody ever gets a “free pass”?

  101. says

    What is so essential about each individual “calling out” every instance of another person’s bad behavior? Why is it so important, seemingly, to so many people, that nobody ever gets a “free pass”?

    It’s a complex dance of authoritarian thinking and social-animal instincts. For starters, if I’ve been punished for breaking a rule (good or bad), I’m likely to get really resentful if I see someone else breaking the same rule and getting away with it. (I strongly suspect that this is where much of the homophobia and other anti-sex attitudes come from.) It’s partly a primitive sense of fairness, and it’s how all sorts of social rules, good and bad alike, stay in place over generations: each generation had to comply, so they’re not going to let the next generation get away with not complying.

    And if I’m really angry and frustrated at some uncontrollable inconvenience, like a flight delay or a layoff, and I’m biting back my rage like I’ve been told I should, then I’m less likely to have any sympathy for someone else in the same situation if he/she starts making a scene — even though I know he/she is voicing the same feelings as I have!

  102. says

    I have a terminal illness and have been in Diane’s situation where I was dying before I received a double lung transplant. I have NEVER used my illness as an excuse to berate people or be demanding, just because something isn’t going my way. While I agree that it’s an incredibly sad situation, I just can’t grasp why, at the end of your life, one would take a stance of unkindness. Different courses for different horses, I guess.

  103. says

    No, I agree, but my point throughout was that it doesn’t follow that a passenger should take it upon himself to punish her by harassing her relentlessly.

  104. Nathan says

    Hi all, I came across this article because my wife, 3 yr old son and infant daughter were bullied and threatened Relentlessly by a middle aged couple on a british airways flight on Sunday who seemed to hate kids. (ours were quiet and other passengers around us complimented us for our well behaved kids). The flight attendants seemed unable to intervene or do much. I was flying with my family and we all feel traumatized still. Not sure what we can do now. Appreciate your thoughtful advice. Would complaining to the airline do any good? Thanks in advance for your thoughtful ideas. Please email me offline, at my email link above. Thanks, Nathan.

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