Sunday, February 25, 2007

Depravity, Disgust and Stupidity - Passing Ignorance Around Like A Venereal Disease.

They have logos and pictures. Posts and opinions. Now they have their very own Swastika.

This is not going to be a "nice" post. Indeed in the old movie cliche from the movie "Network":
"I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore."
Is this post about writing? In a way it is. It is about writing and ethics and morals. It is about hate symbols and depravity. It is about stupidity and disgust.

For whatever it is worth, the forum, Absolute Write, is visited by quite a few people. Thousands to be more exact. Members, non-members, and others looking for information on writers, publishing, agents etc. It is somewhat respected. And I guess one expects that writers, authors and those trying to be authors are gifted with a modicum of intelligence. Well that expectancy was just proved wrong.

Am I being touchy? Sensitive? You better believe it. Damn straight I am. I do not find anything funny, intelligent, cute or innocent about displaying a symbol in a signature that represents the most heinous chapter in modern human history. The current owners and Mods at Absolute Write seem to have their own agendas at times, yet they do ban, or selectively ban (for days or weeks) or put people on time-outs when things get out of hand. That is their right and certainly required from time to time.

"Getting out of hand" seems to be an incredibly selective issue though. You can imagine how the hair stood up on the back of my neck when I was perusing a thread and suddenly find in one of the members signatures at Absolute Write (someone calling themselves Bartholomew) a neatly placed Swastika. (And I will not honor this fool with a link. Swastika's are not easy to miss, especially when half your family was wiped out and made into soap for all that it represents to the mind of modern man.) I looked and looked again, because I simply could not believe my eyes. Only someone who is truly sick and truly incapable of understanding the absolute horror of such things would have the absolute stupidity of placing a Swastika with a link no less on their signature.

At first I thought it may be a link to a book written by the person in question. Something on their book cover. Something innocent. Something inane. Something to try and get people to go to his web site or blog to purchase his new thriller on Nazi Germany or something along those lines. Innocent. Stupid but innocent. But sadly even before I clicked on the link, I knew that the work that went into presenting this symbol was way beyond any "innocence". I knew it was just a sick attempt of a depraved mind.

Long ago I have learned not to deal with the swastika bearers. They are sick, depraved, full of hate and often, as in this case, just a frustrated child looking for attention.

Some things you just do not hide. Some things you just do not walk away from. There are times when no matter how much respect one has for some of those who visit and partake in the Absolute Write forum - that something must be said. Yet symbols are powerful. In one small moment they express a wealth - indeed a whole world of thought and philosophy. The ADL (Anti-Defamation League) maintains a whole database on hate symbols. Would Absolute Write have let someone post a White-Power Ku Klux Klan symbol? Or would the mods allow someone to put a racist epitaph in their signature?

Even if this symbol is removed - the very fact it was up for more than 5 minutes and even 5 minutes is way too long, (and Absolute Write is moderated 24 hours a day) shows something extremely wrong and rotten at the core. It not only shows a lack of sensitivity - that is allowed of course - it shows a total ignorance and indeed a complete lack of understanding what such symbols represent.

But where the hell are the police mods who seem to be all over when heaven forbid, someone says something not to their liking? Where the hell are the "open-minded" people who run this board? Could it be that if you say something not kind about Absolute Write you will get banned but showing a swastika is considered "freedom of speech"? Why was this person not banned IMMEDIATELY and then told that if he wants to come back to an adult board - he sure as hell better play nicely? What pills are the moderators taking at Absolute Write to allow such depravity on their board?

Even if this symbol is removed - the very fact it was up for more than 5 minutes and even 5 minutes is way too long, (and Absolute Write is moderated 24 hours a day) shows something extremely wrong and rotten at the core. It not only shows a lack of sensitivity - that is allowed of course - it shows a total ignorance and indeed a complete lack of understanding what such symbols represent. Has the collective mind of those that run Absolute Write taken a break and gone out to lunch? Even with the most cynical feelings I can muster here, I just refuse to believe that those that run Absolute Write would place their approval or even allow such a thing to take place on their board.

We are not talking about a rare poster here. This guy with the lovely swastika is all over the board and even claims to be an editor for one of the "local" literary mags. represented by this board.

Let me make this clear. This does not appear in a discussion or a thread. This symbol of all that is depraved, appears at the bottom of every single post that the owner of this signature makes. In every thread in every post on all the boards. In every post he made throughout his entire sojourn at Absolute Write. A swastika to make it all pretty.

A swastika? A real true evil incarnate Nazi swastika? On a signature at Absolute Write Writer Forum? From a real member? In threads where Mods answer so they must have seen it!

No matter what the reason, no matter what the purpose, (and here even reading the link the purpose alludes me except to make me understand that this is truly a child's call for attention), there are some things which really should be monitored.

Am I being touchy? Sensitive?


Only someone who is truly sick and truly incapable of understanding the absolute horror of such things would have the absolute stupidity of placing a Swastika with a link no less on their signature. Depraved. Anyone with a mind and any sort of ethical standard has to walk away shaking their head in disgust at the sheer utter stupidity of it all.

In the end it is just very sad. Truly very sad.

Demanding an apology is ridiculous. Absolute Write will run itself the way it deems is right and ethically correct. Some things you just do not hide. Some things you just do not walk away from. There are times when no matter how much respect one has for some of those who visit and partake in the Absolute Write forum - that something must be said.

As one friend quoted her husband after seeing this:
They're passing ignorance around like a venereal disease.
There are some things I guess I will never understand. There are some times when ignorance is no longer an excuse.

Perhaps the only thing that can be said is as follows:

"Shame on you Absolute Write. Shame on you for allowing such a thing to take place on your forum and not countering it immediately without any questions or excuses. Shame on you."

Posts In This Series:
  1. Depravity, Disgust and Stupidity - Passing Ignorance Around Like A Venereal Disease.
  2. Never Again
  3. Doctrine Of The Lie
  4. The Banality Of Evil
  5. On The Bastardization Of Language
  6. Who Let The Dogs Out?
  7. The Day Hitler Became A "Funky Dude"

Posted On: Cobwebs Of The Mind


Paula's Poetry said...

I am horrified that more people aren’t as disturbed by this blatant use of a symbol of hate and all it represents.

Lately many of the posts on the forum are offensive and tolerated by those who run it. I am frustrated by the fact that people still think it’s all right to use
hateful, racists items as a punch line to a joke or to decorate their pathetic world.

Last week I fought an email war with a local columnist
for a similar display of ignorance. There are many
hate crimes committed every day in the world and she decided
to use her column as a forum in which to display her acceptance in a way.

She stated “We can not completely wipe out racism and bigotry because many people were brought up
to believe that certain races or ethnical groups were wrong or inferior. We have to accept
that each person has their own right to live and form their own opinions and hope for peace.
To expect to change the mind of those who are racist, is a fools errand. Our government can
not be responsible for every dysfunctional family, hate crime and lack of tolerance.”

As a person who works closely with a few organizations
committed to our inner city youths, this hit me so wrong.
I see young kids everyday looking for ways to stop the hate.
Many of them have formed bands to promote through music,
others write stories of encouragement. The proceeds
are given back to the communities in hopes of finding ways
to end the hate. These are kids that fear being gunned down
in their own neighborhoods while walking home from school. The level of acceptance in the world is disastrous.

Ted, after reading your post last month in A View From Jerusalem about the children donating thirteen million pennies, my heart was warmed.
It is proof that human goodness can replace hate in every individual one home at a time.

I have faith in some of our youth today and see a future, however distant, where people will all be people, same, not different. It may take years but I have hope because for every ignorant de-humanized person, I see five fighting to end it.

When I hear or see something that offends me, I let the offender know. I have walked out of get togethers both personal and professional when I see unacceptable behavior.

I’ve been told that I can’t change the world all by myself so why bother.
My answer is simple, to do nothing is accepting, accepting encourages and allows the very thing I fight against everyday to continue.

Allowing a symbol of such pain and hatred to be used in a
public forum is inexcusable.

Ray Wong said...

Chill, man. If you're referring to Bartholomew's sig, that is a Buddhist symbol. It is different from the one the Nazi uses -- it goes the opposite direction. The Buddhist symbol means peace. The Nazi actually took the Buddhist/Hindu symbol, flipped it around, and used it for that hateful purposes.

Read up on Buddhism. The symbol is a symbol of peace.

Chill, man.

Ted W. Gross said...

I will answer this in the one and only way I know how...before I post my next post.

It is clear from the beginning that it was opposite directions. It is also incredibly clear that anyone who simply looks at the sign will see a swastika. PERIOD. It is also clear from the link under that symbol which mentions the swastika.

I remember how upset you were when someone who saw your facial features and assumed you were of a certain race. Did I tell you to chill? Did I tell you not to pay attention?

Do not pass off intellectual malarkey on me. This is a symbol that should have never found its way into AW. Once there, and not reprimanded, I WILL SURE AS HELL NOT CHILL.

I have way over 6 million ghosts in my past that died due to that symbol and what the Nazis did with it.

ANYONE, who looks at that symbol sees a Swastika. AND NO ONE should have to look at such a representation on a board which so prides itself on dignity.

I knew exactly what it was the second I saw it. I also saw the links. I also knew what and how people see that symbol.

Do not ever preach to me to chill with symbols like that riding around AW.

Swastika is a swastika is a swastika. That is how people see it. They do not, not even survivors, look and say, oh wait, let us see if this is the symbol of peace or just a Nazi symbol.

You going to tell the survivors to chill too? Cause I have one that saw that symbol and needed a doctor to calm down.


Wait till you see me chill! Real soon I will chill.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised that someone would suggest that you "Chill"

I shake my head in disbelief that this is an acceptable use of a symbol for all it represents.

It does not matter if it is a Buddhist symbol. At first glance, without going further into the link, all I see is a symbol of hate. Why should someone have to go into a link to realize what it stands for . Most of us are not expert in recognizing the difference between the two.

I certainly am not. I was shocked when I saw it and I saw it long before this post.

It does not matter the reason it is there.

What matters is it is there
It has been accepted
It remains there
and it is hurtful.

Ted, I will not tell you to chill, all I will suggest is to take a deep breath, enjoy a sunrise and do what you feel is right for you.

Anonymous said...

These are adults right?
These are people who claim to be educated, writers even?

I must agree with you and say this is disgusting and unacceptable.


zentao said...

I recieved an email this morning from a sensitive and rather distressed author whom I respect, Ted William Gross. It concerned yet another incident upon a very notorious writer's forum which consistently exhibits "mob rule" behavior, bully tactics, these employed by the board's clique-riven hierarchy which condones abuse of those refusing to bow to their self-revered opinion upon any subject as well as upon any poster who fails to exhibit proper sycophancy to their administrators and moderators. In plain speak, if you disagree with AW administrative perceptions of realisty, you may not post without suffering castigation and ridicule.

Where a simple request for the individual to adjust his signature because the symbol was too suggestive of the Holocaust, much pain and anguish could have been avoided. We are long past this now, however, as, instead of soothing things with gentle words and water, instead verbal gasoline and nitro accelerants were, instead, employed, something summarily unsurprising and, in fact, completely forseeable if one is familiar with the administrative individuals and their venue that is AW and its corresponding blog(s).

It is the unfortunate fact that AW is ruled with notorious, inequitable, and unbalanced moderation and administration, as exhibited by MacAllister's own warning/veiled threat to someone's polite inquiry concerning the present hue and cry which has come public to blogs concerning the posting of a "backwards swastika" in user "Bartholomew's" signature: "And I recommend you be very, very careful about bringing this particular squabble to the board," , this warning given to the very polite and generalized query concerning respect: "An action taken without bad intentions can be viewed as a mistake. Becoming aware that your action was tasteless and not taking steps to correct it ... it's a disrespectful offense. For goodness sake, if you've been made aware that your signature is offensive to a fellow writer, please change it."

MacAllister's warning is so very similar to the threats and warnings others have received from time to time (including a much more pointed and violent one directed to the owner of The Deepening when she was but defending against slander and maligning comments posted by AW regulars concerning her magazine and its subscription-based fees) that one must come to the conclusion that, in fact, any time some AW "outsider" posts that which is considered contrary to a mod's or an administrator's sentiments and opinions, as is historically evidenced in their database and its backups, that poster will be subject to retaliation in the form of reprisal.

In fact, this board and its adherents consistently exhibits an "intolerance of tolerance" to anything contrary to their own bias, and demonstrates in actuality a cultivation of ridicule and hatred toward "outside-the-circle" others, quashing objection and even discussion by castigation and malicious sneers, removing, moving, unethically editing, or cutting up posts and threads in such a way as to discredit the castigated party, pointedly posing threats of banning, and engaging in outright removal of the poster from the board.

That AW does in fact promote snideness and sneers by AW "insiders" can be evidenced by the liberal hand allowed "accepted" members in turning a thread into farce and snickering rejoinder. In point of fact, AW is notorious for its rape of all those who are not within its sanctified circle, which includes anyone who dares to speak without earning points with the mods. That IS the sad truth...which is why any judicious writer, author, agent or editor does neither frequent its pages nor promote its existence.

So what about this "backwards swastica?"

User "Bartholomew" chose, for indistinct reasons, to employ the svastika or wan symbol in posing a link to Buddhist webpage: Why the gentleman, a Westerner by his image and textual syntax, but proportedly a Buddhist (a religion which values peace and harmony), would choose to use such an image in a Western venue without being very clear in his intent, leads one to find him guilty of attention-seeking (which is completely contrary to Buddhism) -- that he did in fact use the symbol to draw the Western eye, knowing the symbol and its counter to be infamous and socially notorious. I believe this because, were he to have legitimately desired to post the symbol, wan, as it is associated with Buddhism, he would have assured that association visually by using the symbol, wan, in a clearly identifiable context which could not be misconstrued nor catalyze negative reaction. He chose not to do so, knowing that the symbol's use, left or right-facing, would immediately set off a Nazi association in the Western mind which would lead to clicks and attention. Well, Buddhists and Hindus do not flagrantly post symbolism out of context in alien societies, especially symbolism which they know suggests the harm of another in that society. In the West, in a temple and in the texts, in the Buddhist and Hindu forums and venues, the symbol is accepted and acceptable. But it certainly isn't used in a flagrant manner simply and expressly because of the extremely justified sensibilities surrounding it in the West.

Now, couple the appearance of this symbol with some other previous AW threads containing very strong anti-Semitic sentiments which went unmoderated and unattended by board moderators and administrators, and one is hard-pressed not to consider AW's volatile and acerbic response to a Westerner and a Jew's valid and substantiated sensitivity to the appearance of this symbol as at least willfully calloused and insensitive, and suggestive of supporting anti-Semitism.

In the Western world, few symbols are as well known in the world today as the swastika, and this one symbol is, in fact, identified with Nazi Germany, the Third Reich and the Holocaust. Since the AW board does in fact reside in the U.S. with the majority of its users based in the Western world, as opposed to India, China, Japan, Indonesia, and Southeast Asia, it is obvious that the symbol will in fact be thus associated unless explicitly and clearly posted as:

1) an outcry against the Holocaust and its violation of human and life rights

2) a vehicle explicitly educational concerning the symbol's historic significance and evolution,

3) specifically and pointedly Buddhist/Hindu/AmerIndian in reference.

In point of fact, this was not the case.

But should the symbol be banned? Banning anything has to be done with care, but so does using anything.

Personally speaking, banning anything on or in any public venue has to be done with care, but so does posting it. Just because someone is offended by something doesn't mean it should be banned. However, when a distinctive symbol and its equally suggestive "flip" is so universally and unanimously identified on a global basis, historic evidence substantiating this its most notorious reference, as meaning horrific torture, murder, and outright genecide, and, in fact, use of such symbol expressly condoning and applauding it (Skinheads), then one must object to that symbol's use in any form not specifically and noticeably tagged as intending the Hindu, AmerIndian, or Buddhist symbol as opposed to the Indo-European modern associations with Hitler's reign.

Anonymous said...

I empathasize with your pain over seeing the Swastika on what is supposedly a "writer's site."

In watching this site over time, it is very much an anti-Semitic site. One of the friends of the site's owner, MacAllister Stone, calls her blog "Hitler's Wet Nurse" or something ridiculous like that. And an agent in New Jersey informed me this site was nothing more than a front for a very sophisticated computer scamming operative to ciphon money to radical Arab Jihadists. Now this sounds like the errant fiction these hacks put out on their site. Do I believe it, though? In watching these crazy fools over time, I see nothing more than a collective soul that is tormented, self-abused and riddled with such deep psychological pain that they only can do one thing now: try to destroy others. Some of the members writing for them have written fiction and nonfiction that holds up radical Arab philosophies.

This I know: the Water Cooler is nothing more than a slander board. It's an electronic wrecking ball set on destroying anything in its path. Please be careful with this group. I actually consider them nothing less than cyber criminals. And I can safely say this just by knowing what's on the surface here.

Your blog has an intellectual's keen eye and wisdom. Do not take these morons seriously, please.

God Bless You, a Anonymous Friend

f and b said...

Here's the deal. MacAllister Stone, who runs the AW forum, is an egomaniac. Agree with her, and she couldn't care less if you wrapped yourself in a Nazi flag. Disagree with her, and you're out of there. Come to think of it, with her level of tolerance for differing opinions, perhaps the swastika was appropriate.

Anonymous said...

I thought I was going crazy.My mother was Jewish and her family that stayed in Europe were wiped out by the Nazi's ok, so I wrote a book, asked a simple question and got flamed over and over again. Nothing I did to be "nice" fazed them. They moved my post called me stupid, called my publisher vile names, etc. I was hurt. I was confused. Not so much now. Thank you for easing my mind about that intolerant group of so called experts.