Anna Gregoline | January 24, 2005
In the interest of not shitting in any other threads about worthwhile topics, I'm starting a new one.

I've already apologized for any past ugliness and I'll do it again here with no qualifiers -

I'm sorry for any ugliness from me.

I would appreciate an apology from you for the "Positively Clean Thread" comments. If you don't want to give one, that is your right. But I feel it would make me feel better about the whole thing, and that you are committed to renewing peace between us.

I don't want Tragic Comedy to be this way, and I'm sure you don't either. I have years invested in this place, and I don't want it to be a source of stomachaches like it has been lately.

If you'd rather not talk about any of this publicly, I understand. Feel free to email me at agregoli@hotmail.com.

Thanks, and now back to your regularly scheduled programs.

Scott Hardie | January 25, 2005
Commenting here on the Anna/Amy conflict from the "TC Book/Movie Club" discussion (link) earlier today, so that the other conversation can go on in peace:

My judgment is not called for as long as TC is safe, which it still is at the moment. It's obvious you both want to go on in peace. If I may frankly call it like I see it, Amy was not out of line with any of her comments today; the conflict was a misunderstanding arising from Anna's interpretation of her words, plus Anna repeating the point several more times after Amy's meaning had already been explained.

I wouldn't normally criticize Anna for a mistake as simple as a misunderstanding, which I have also committed along with most other authors. I do it here to show that I am not "on her side," if that's what it seems like. My interest is in keeping TC a friendly place; y'all know that. When I harshly criticized Amy & Dave last week, it was not for misunderstanding, or belaboring a point, or being unwilling to see someone else's perspective, which are annoying habits but accidentally committed. No, I criticized them for intentionally insulting another author, which in my opinion as site owner was well over a clearly-drawn line. Though Amy & Dave have chosen not to discuss the "Big Stink" with me since (just as I have not written to them), the fact that they have kept on posting without further insults is a clear statement of their desire to keep writing in peace. That's all I ask.

I thought we were out of the blue. I even spent a few hours this weekend programming new features for TC, thinking the hatchet had been buried. But yet the old antagonism flared up again today. Had either of you turned insulting (Anna came close at 13:45), you wouldn't be reading this comment right now; TC would be discontinued. I have already accepted the notion of giving up on this forum I've happily run for over four years; I'm just waiting for proof that peace cannot be made before I turn off the power. If that happened, I had intended to replace TC with the book/movie discussion club... but now I wonder, what's the point? It was in the club discussion itself that today's conflict happened, so it's pretty clear that the same problems will just carry over from TC to the club. Believe me, I have zero interest in coding the club this weekend only to see it descend into the same stupid Amy-vs-Anna argument that we always have here, derailing nearly every conversation in which it happens.

What if I gave each author the power to "hide" comments from certain other authors as they read, such that the comments would appear blank? (I would leave the blank space there as a placeholder so you knew the person had said something.) This idea doesn't appeal to me for two reasons: Firstly it's censorship, and I'm of the mind that when censorship becomes necessary, it's time to call it a day. Secondly, it denies you the full TC experience: If you hid Anna's comments, but Jackie didn't and she replied to something Anna said, then Jackie's comment might make no sense to you, and it could result in nonsensical replies. Further misunderstanding is not what we need right now.

But, you already have the power to "censor" certain other authors by simply not reading anything they write, so this could just be another case of technology making the site more convenient for you. Besides, while I dislike the idea of censoring authors, it's about as appealing to me as my other option, shutting down the site for good. If there's real potential for it to silence these constant arguments and make the forum a happy place once again, then I suppose it's worth a shot. So, you tell me, should I implement it? (I open the floor, but I'm not obligated to obey popular demand, only to consider it.)

Kris Weberg | January 25, 2005
I'd miss TC a lot -- it's about the only place where I get to interact with some of these fine people.

I realize I'm hardly the guy to argue the "we can be civil" point, being rather a firebrand myself, but TC also seems to have weathered fierce clashes of opinion before. What seems to differentiate this one is the explicitly interpersonal dimension of the conflict, to the point that I, at least, cannot identify any genuine difference on opinion at the root of it.

On the other hand, I have no wish to see Scott put in the position of censor, etiquette policeman, or arbitrator of disputes. He doesn't enjoy it -- who on Earth would? -- and if he's not enjoying a site he puts a lot of free time and effort into, there's not much point to it, is there?

I don't think that comment-masking will help much here. I see it fostering a paranoia regarding what has been said or insinuated, and a like paranoia regarding who may or may not be blocking you. More than that, it's impossible to have an open discussion when the participants are invited to disregard each others' views and very presence.

It's also impossible to have such a discussion in the total absence of civility, though. The bottom line for me, and I don't aim to claim it's anyone's take but my own, is that people who want to keep enjoying TC will have to become more tolerant of one another, or at the least remain tacit in their intolerance of one another, or eventually cost all of us this singular and largely beneficial forum for friendship and self-expression in fact or in spirit.

And yes, I realize that none of the above constitutes a real response to Scott's question; it's more of plea for all of us, myself not only included but among the foremost addressees, to calm down and refuse to bait or be baited.

But this sort of thing has been said before, repeatedly, by the forum owner, and it's changed nothing. I guess it's impracticable. I'll miss TC.

Steve Dunn | January 25, 2005
Kris, in my observation you are unfailingly civil. And funny, too, which helps.

As to the issue at hand....

This forum has an exceptionally high signal/noise ratio and it should be perpetuated for that reason alone. There's no reason to overreact. I do not think an "ignore" feature is a lasting solution - it's more of an admission of defeat. As difficult as it may be, I think it is ultimately more rewarding, individually and as a group, to meet difficult challenges head on. Anna's starting this thread and the fact that anyone looking at these words cares enough to read them is reason enough to be hopeful for the future.

In the grand scheme of things, this board has relatively few conflagrations and they are relatively minor. As a denizen of various boards since the mid-1990s, I've seen much worse. More important, I've seen much worse on boards that were much crappier to begin with. If TC cannot survive, I wonder if there is hope for any of us, anywhere.

There is a positive side of the Amy/Anna scrapping. Both participants want to be understood and treated fairly. Both seek honor and justice. Although there is a fair amount of button-pushing going on, it's not as though either participant is merely a troll. Neither is being inflammatory for its own sake. Even though they don't get along, they TRY to get along. They keep explaining themselves to each other, presumably in hope of achieving greater understanding. That's pretty good, really.

Obviously I don't have any particular authority or insight. After a year here, I still feel very much on the outside looking in. I waited a long time before commenting on the spat in the other thread, and I'm somewhat reluctant to weigh in on this one, but...

But...

The reason I'm throwing in my two cents is because in my judgment, this is the best online community available anywhere. You've got a rare assemblage of brains, humor and goodwill at this place. You have cultivated a culture that works amazingly well, with only minor occasional bumps in the road. Do not despair at challenges. Take them on. Do the heavy lifting of making it work. Scott, if anyone can do it, it's you.

Unless, of course, it's TOO much of a pain in your ass, in which case of course you should scrap it! ;-) All I'm saying is that you've got something unique, and you should not underestimate its value. It's worth a lot of effort, and the effort will pay rich dividends for us all, individually and as a group.

David Mitzman | January 25, 2005
Alright, I figure I should probably throw my 1/2 cent in here.

I'm not going to say much, as I don't really have anything to say except I'm willing to let bygones be bygones and just continue on our merry way discussing whatever needs discussing.

I will apologize for the "clean" thread and any offhanded comment I made, specifically directed at you. Also, I accept your apology and want to just get things back to good-hearted fun around here.

Scott Hardie | January 25, 2005
I will hold my reply until tonight to give the daytime authors a fair chance to reply. I just wanted to thank y'all, up front, for being so kind.

Erik Bates | January 25, 2005
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Dave Stoppenhagen | January 25, 2005
I will say Scott although I don't comment a lot, this is one 2 sites that I visit on a daily basis. I hope that you keep it going.

Anna Gregoline | January 25, 2005
Thank you very much Dave! Once again, I am sorry for all the ugliness towards ANYONE on this site from me.

Apology accepted.

Lori Lancaster | January 25, 2005
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Denise Sawicki | January 25, 2005
I agree with everyone but especially with Steve Dunn - this is a good forum and I'd like to see it continue. I also agreed with what Steve said on the other thread. It seems to me that perhaps the best way to stop the arguing would be not to comment to each other at all, at least for a while... at this point there is such a history of arguments between Amy and Anna that it's hard for either one not to interpret things as insults. I could see right away that the comment along the lines of "be glad it never happened to you" would likely be taken badly, though I could also see that it likely may have been *meant* well... the same goes for various comments of Anna's. As an alternative, people could always adopt my own method of avoiding arguments, by insulting oneself before others can get around to it... :P

Jackie Mason | January 25, 2005
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Jackie Mason | January 25, 2005
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Scott Horowitz | January 25, 2005
Yeah, Dave and my relationship is based on a complete and utter total lack of respect for each other. The true definition of friendship.

Amy Austin | January 25, 2005
Okay. I guess I'm ready to say something again now. But please... recognize that this is the hardest post that I've ever approached here -- it's like I don't even know where to begin -- so try hard not to take anything out of context or the wrong way, okay???

Denise's opener was good, so I'll borrow it, if I may. I agree with everyone, but especially with Steve Dunn -- this is a good forum and I'd like to see it continue. It was rather unexpected to see a bunch of "not Amy or Anna" authors posting here, given the point of the thread (which I had mixed feelings about: it was polite, but public -- even though the e-mail offer was also made, also polite, and which I did consider back and forth and still think that perhaps I ought to have, but now that so many others have posted... well, this is all just to give you my frame of mind -- how this has become a *much* bigger deal than I ever wanted and something that I'd just as soon not have) -- with the exception of Scott's comment, since I do recognize that this is his thing, to which a lot of free time goes, and it's only natural to expect him to have something to say.

That *isn't* to say that I don't appreciate all the other comments -- just that it was unexpected (although I suppose it shouldn't have been, after Steve's very noble -- and true -- sentiments about TC) -- and again, my own frame of mind is torn between perceiving that concern that Steve wrote about and "train wreck" (I hope that this is understandable!) It's just something akin to being "in the ring" with someone and having about a dozen Howard Cosells and refs in there, too... a little disconcerting. Perhaps this is a bad analogy, but again -- trying to demonstrate why it's somewhat preferable to just keep my mouth shut at this point. I hope that the metaphor isn't totally lost on everyone -- I'm just a little dazed.

Obviously, there are mixed feelings about my initial comment that re-started this mess -- from Steve's "button-pushing" remark to Denise's seeing "right away"... I assure you that had I seen "right away" I would not have said it at all. It was really just the kind of off-hand remark that someone who knows about something first-hand might not be able to help but say to someone who has a *very* vocal pre-conceived or second-hand experience -- maybe it *was* stupid... but it was like in just a moment I remembered my own prior self and thought that for someone like Anna to have *such* an emotional and empathic response beforehand (as I did not necessarily -- I had other foolish thoughts about it, such as "I would die fighting!" or "I would kill them, too! No way would they take me alive!") would probably make for utter devastation/self-annihilation and an incredibly difficult recovery period (I had only one panic attack afterwards and consider myself QUITE lucky by comparison to many other women who don't recover for *years* after the fact!) I just wanted for everyone here to really and completely understand the origin of that seemingly "cavalier and insensitive remark" -- especially Anna.

(sigh) Now that I've spent about an hour and a half figuring out how to start this, I guess I can spend another for the remainder!!! ;D

I was glad for Scott's take on this for two reasons: 1) I was very glad that he did see that no ugliness was at all intended; and 2) that he understood our (mine & Dave's) non-discussion of the matter and further posting (that came after much silence and wound-licking, if nobody happened to notice it!) to be a truce of sorts. I had thought about making a verbal response after thinking long and hard on his admonishment, and it was centered on the one thing he said that I really took into actual consideration: "If she has annoyed you, it is because of her nature, not because of her intention..." Okay. So, I really don't think that makes it any less annoying, actually... I find it hard to believe that anybody can do this UNINTENTIONALLY -- but I will try to start accepting that possibility from then on... but you have *got* to realize that this is *so* much easier said than done, and I think that applies to most people, not just to me. Personal growth may come in the form of easy lessons, but the application of those is really a lot harder -- wouldn't you agree???

So, on apologies... Denise summed it up best for me when she said that perhaps the best way to stop the arguing would be not to comment to each other at all, at least for a while... at this point there is such a history of arguments between Amy and Anna that it's hard for either one not to interpret things as insults. I couldn't agree more, and this, in effect, was what I was trying to do up until now. In fact, this is why the comment of agreement that Anna mentioned in the "War" thread was construed as a snipe (or "snark", as you like to put it, Anna)... it came *right* on the heels of unpleasantry between us, and I just couldn't believe that you did not see that... something like undue "perkiness" of my comment perhaps??? I *am* capable of "forgive & forget" -- but not *that* quickly, and when I asked you to "let it go", I really wish that you would have. I am also quite sorry that I did not do that myself in the "Book Club" thread when I had the opportunity -- that is an apology that I join Anna in giving to everyone here "for shitting in any other threads about worthwhile topics" and to Scott as well for turning his playground into a battlefield. I guess these are overdue.

Anna, before I offer you my last words on the subject, I just wanted to say that up until now I did not need or require an apology from you for anything... I just wanted to move right along into more peaceful times -- with some much needed time and distance in between. In fact, an apology was meaningless to me, because it was not my true desire and meant nothing to me unless my true desire for mutual understanding could be obtained. I am still not totally sure if it can, but I will try harder if you will, and I can see now that the only way to convince you of this is to offer you thanks and an apology of equal sincerity to yours above.

Thank you for the apology "with no qualifiers" -- that is quite meaningful... really.

I don't want Tragic Comedy to be this way, and I'm sure you don't either. I have years invested in this place, and I don't want it to be a source of stomachaches like it has been lately.

Your point is well made -- I can only imagine what it must feel like to enjoy something for this long only to have a relative newcomer such as myself come in and upset the "balance" for you... I am sorry that you have felt this.

I'm sorry for any ugliness from me.

I'm sorry, too, and specifically, I am sorry that you are still hurt about the comments in the "Refreshingly Clean Thread". In all sincerity, I truly hope that we can all move on now and avoid any future hurts.

Thank you for starting this thread, Anna -- I do feel surprisingly better now, as, I hope, do you. It only took me a few hours to write all of this... ;>

Amy Austin | January 25, 2005
Oh yeah, and Scott -- I don't like the masking idea, either. I have been writing for too long now to elaborate, so suffice it for me to say on the subject: "Yeah, what Kris said..."

Anna Gregoline | January 25, 2005
THANK YOU!

Apology accepted.

I don't know why, but I was not able to just ignore this and move on as if it didn't happen - it's not in my nature, it would have always nagged at me, and I would have resented you for doing what I would perceive as ignoring/forgetting something that upset me so greatly. Your comments are greatly appreciated.

David Mitzman | January 26, 2005
I'm finally glad the peace has been set down here. If you can't tell, I'm not one to always jump to apologize first. Anyway, let the fun continue and let's get some more controversy a' brewin'....

Scott Horowitz | January 26, 2005
Dave,
You should stay far away from brew. It is bad for my stuff.

David Mitzman | January 26, 2005
Scott,
You should keep your stuff far away from brew. Incidents wouldn't happen if you did.

Scott Horowitz | January 26, 2005
Dave,
You should be able to make it to the bathroom to vomit.

Lori Lancaster | January 26, 2005
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David Mitzman | January 27, 2005
Not my fault you don't keep your personal items in your overnight bag. Never have I put anything like wallet, ring, shoes, etc. on a kitchen table when I'm overnighting at a friend's apartment or house.

Amy Austin | January 27, 2005
Scott: You put shoes on the kitchen table???

Dave: Haven't you figured out your limits yet???

Lori Lancaster | January 27, 2005
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David Mitzman | January 27, 2005
Well I revise my earlier statement, he doesn't put shoes on the table (those were on the floor). However, the rest of his personal effects were left on the table.

Scott Horowitz | January 27, 2005
Ok, here's the story. We were all pretty drunk that night staying at my friend Kevin's apartment in NYC. He has a table where I always put my stuff on. I put my wallet, keys, cell phone, watch and ring on the table (LIKE I ALWAYS DO). Some featherweight (who only drank beer) named Mitzman couldn't make it to the bathroom and threw up on the table. I did no wrong here, I was the one who got screwed (as did Kevin his apartment smelled for like 2 days).

Kris Weberg | January 31, 2005
I hope you bought a new wallet.

David Mitzman | January 31, 2005
Nah. He's not worthy of a new wallet. I still contend that when you overnight at someone's house, your personal effects should be placed in your overnight bag.

Kris Weberg | January 31, 2005
I don't have an overnight bag. I usually just have a pile of stuff in my arms when I show up ont he doorstep.

Amy Austin | January 31, 2005
And you'll leave with a pile of pukey stuff in your arms if you show up on Mitzman's doorstep!

Kris Weberg | January 31, 2005
Oh, no. You puke on it, you bought it.

David Mitzman | January 31, 2005
Oh man. That's cold Amy :-p
So far that has been the only pukin' rally I've had since college. I went out and had a few beers on Saturday night in the big bad City (yes, I capitalized City for a reason) and didn't have any "issues". ;)

Amy Austin | January 31, 2005
So, it's really only one puking incident that Scott has brought up twice now?

Scott Horowitz | January 31, 2005
Yeah, I like to beat a dead horse into submission.

Amy Austin | January 31, 2005
Or else a new wallet, huh?

Kris Weberg | January 31, 2005
What do you think the new wallet's made out of?

Horsehide, that's what.

Amy Austin | January 31, 2005
Thanks for clarifying my innuendo, Kris -- I thought I had done a better job than that! ;D

Scott Horowitz | January 31, 2005
I prefer human skin wallets.

Erik Bates | January 31, 2005
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Scott Horowitz | January 31, 2005
cold, man, cold. hehehe. I actually have a friend who bought a duct tape wallet. He's a strange one, indeed.

Anna Gregoline | January 31, 2005
Why would he buy it when you can make it?

Lori Lancaster | January 31, 2005
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Kris Weberg | February 1, 2005
If you made a wallet entirely put of duct tape, wouldn't all your money stick to it?

Amy Austin | February 1, 2005
Kris, I didn't see (or don't recall) any comments from you -- did you miss this thread?

(link)

Anna Gregoline | February 1, 2005
Kris, you've never seen a duct tape wallet?

Kris Weberg | February 1, 2005
Nope. Leather, yeah. Vunyl, yeah. Duct tape? Not outside of the Red Green Show.

Anna Gregoline | February 1, 2005
Look it up, they're cute. Easy to make, too.

David Mitzman | February 1, 2005
The Red Green Show!!! Best show on CBC. For the unfamiliar, it was like Home Improvement, but not as much a family sitcom as aboot doing crazy projects. The Royal Canadian Air Farce was great too. Man I wish I got CBC down on Long Island.

Kris Weberg | February 1, 2005
PBS runs old episodes of it all the time, at least in Illinois....

Amy Austin | February 1, 2005
Intentional typos... to simulate the Canadian accent, Dave?

David Mitzman | February 1, 2005
Well I only count 1 intentional typo. The Royal Canadian Air Farce was the name of the show ;)

Erik Bates | February 1, 2005
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Kris Weberg | February 1, 2005
"Down at Possum Lodge..."

Amy Austin | February 1, 2005
"...aboot doing crazy projects."

Erik Bates | February 1, 2005
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Nadine Russell | February 2, 2005
Hey hey Amy! Watch it now with the Canadian bashing. ;)

Amy Austin | February 2, 2005
No bashing at all... I *love* Canada -- seriously, eh!

Erik Bates | February 2, 2005
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Kris Weberg | February 2, 2005
Wolverine's Canadian, dude. Wolverine rules!!!

Scott Horowitz | February 2, 2005
hehehe, I remember the episode of Family Guy where they go to the Native American casino and Peter goes on his "spirit quest". At the end, they are all making fun of different races/cultures and then reneging what they just said. Peter than goes, "And those damn freeloading Canadiens." The camera zooms in on him to say something nice about Canadiens and he just responds with "What? Canada Sucks."

Erik Bates | February 2, 2005
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Nadine Russell | February 2, 2005
Yeah, I like Family Guy. We can all laugh at ourselves so it's all good. We can also laugh at you Americans. If you get a chance do a search for "Talk to Americans" with Rick Mercer of This Hour Has 22 Minutes.

Erik Bates | February 3, 2005
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David Mitzman | February 3, 2005
This Hour Has 22 Minutes was hilarious too. I watched that when I got CBC. Remember "You Can't Do That On Television"? That show was Canadian too.

Nadine Russell | February 3, 2005
"You Can't Do That On Television" was our favorite! I'd love to watch it again to be honest.


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