Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Good Ol’ Larry Fafarman, Part 2

There are some people who are so ridiculous that it would be impossible to invent them if they didn’t actually exist. Larry Fafarman is one of them. A psychologist would have a field day with someone so utterly convinced of his own importance that he prefers to make a fool of himself for attention rather than risk non-existence. And just to give you all a taste of the man’s madness, let me paste a bit of our exchange today. He emailed me this morning to say that his comments have not been getting through. This after knowing that I had banned him from commenting, so trying to comment would be useless.

He then did what all internet trolls do when they’ve been banned, they engage in the entirely empty threat that they’re going to “expose” you as the truly horrible human being that they know you are:

If you don’t change your mind, I will note on my new blog that you are blocking my comments. That will not do much for your reputation.

I’m sure you can imagine the fear that this threat inspired in me. I was paralyzed with anxiety. Egads, what if he goes through with it? Eh, not really. Instead, I told him to feel free to say whatever he likes and I’ll even link to it:

Larry, if you think anything you say can harm my reputation, or that I would possibly care, you’re more delusional than I thought. You go right ahead and note on your new blog that I banned you from commenting on mine. Hell, I’ll even link to it so others can see it.

That was at around 2 this afternoon. Around 4, he posted this item to his blog. In it, he attemps – lamely – to answer my arguments concerning the most recent case of mootness and why it does not apply to the Dover situation (the man is so dense that he doesn’t see the difference between a judge not allowing an amended complaint to ask for damages after the grievance has been redressed and a judge not mooting a case in which nominal damages had been part of the original complaint). And, amusingly, he follows through with his threat to expose me to the world and even takes me to task for not linking to a post that did not exist:

I would like to post these rebuttals on “Dispatches from the Culture Wars,” but I cannot. I have been banned there. Ed Brayton has just posted an article there — “Good Ol’ Larry Fafarman” — that brazenly brags about banning me and that ridicules me for thinking that he might have the decency to change his mind by considering at least some of my comments for posting. However, he didn’t carry out his threat to post a link to this blog — apparently he is afraid to do that.

Now Larry, I know that reading comprehension isn’t your strong suit, nor is thinking for that matter. But even you must be able to recognize that I can’t link to a post until after it’s been posted. I think you really do have a deep psychological problem here, Larry. You really do think that your threats mean something, that others cower in fear of you. You really do think that your ignorant and irrational rantings are going to hurt someone else’s reputation. I’ve got news for you pal, the only one looking foolish here is you.

For the record, I’m not going to consider some, or any, of your comments for posting. You’re banned from commenting, which means nothing that you post on my blog is ever seen, not by my readers and not by me. You are coming very close to the definition of what old time usenet folks called a “tar baby”. There is only way to handle trolls and tar babies and that is to ban them and make fun of them. It would be folly to try and engage you in any sort of rational conversation, as we already found out. At this point, after being banned from so many different places for the same behavior, you’re a lot like someone who has been married 8 or 9 times but has never bothered to consider that maybe, after all, it’s them.

Comments

  1. #1 Bob Munck
    May 20, 2006

    Arguing on the Internet is like running in the Special Olympics; after you win, you’re still retarded.

  2. #2 Ed Brayton
    May 20, 2006

    That’s stupid. The internet is just a means of communication. Arguing on the internet is no different than arguing over the phone, by letters, or in person. People who argue like idiots are idiots regardless of the method used to make the argument.

  3. #3 Bob Munck
    May 20, 2006

    OK, I’ll buy that, but Internet arguments seem to lead people into arguing like idiots more quickly than most other forms. Fafarman moved quickly into a “I can hurt you with my blog” argument, but unfortunately you went right along with him, arguing that he can’t. Other strategies, such as nit-picking, attacking the other’s intelligence or ability to read, and name-calling, seem to happen much more frequently and earlier in the discussion on the Internet.

    Another thing that bugs me is the tendency to call your opponent by his first name, and repeat it often in your text. That does not, in my experience, happen in other forms of debate.

    Of course, here I am arguing on the Internet that arguing on the Internet is stupid.

  4. #4 Aaron M
    May 21, 2006

    Bob: I think it’s just an issue of scale. The percentage of idiots is probably no higher on the Internet than In Real Life, but online your words can reach so many more people that the absolute number of idiots involved increases commensurately.

  5. #5 pough
    May 21, 2006

    Am I missing something or have you still not posted the link, even though the post now exists…? (You mention a “this item”, but it’s not a link.)

  6. #6 Tim Lambert
    May 21, 2006

    Any kind of attention, including making fun of them, tends to encourage trolls. So far this year, my own pet troll has posted a couple of dozen posts making hysterical attacks on me. I’ve ignored them. Why waste any time at all on someone like Fafarman?

  7. #7 FishyFred
    May 21, 2006

    pough: It looks like Ed rectified it now.

    Larry just posted this on his blog comments when he replied to someone who attempted to set him straight.

    You may think that the bans on me are a big joke, but you and your pals over at Panda’s Thumb and Dogpatch are paying a big price in reputation and credibility.

    Only in the eyes of people who actually set any credence by what you say Farfignugen.

  8. #8 SmellyTerror
    May 21, 2006

    I think this sort of thing shows the vital need for violence in society. On the net you can be an ass all day long, and the best people can do is try to ignore you. In real life, Larry’s yappy-dog tactics would earn him a smack upside the head.

    Does he act like this in real life, butting into conversations where he has been told he’s not welcome, over and over and over? No, because eventually he’d get his ass kicked.

    …ok, I’m joking, but only just.

  9. #9 Ed Brayton
    May 21, 2006

    Tim Lambert wrote:

    Any kind of attention, including making fun of them, tends to encourage trolls. So far this year, my own pet troll has posted a couple of dozen posts making hysterical attacks on me. I’ve ignored them. Why waste any time at all on someone like Fafarman?

    Because I think it’s amusing. I’ve had several trolls here and this is actually the third one who went and started his own blog to rant about me. I’ve linked to all three of them. I just think they’re funny to watch and I trust my readers will see through their bombast.

  10. #10 slpage
    May 21, 2006

    There are some people who are so ridiculous that it would be impossible to invent them if they didn’t actually exist. Larry Fafarman is one of them. A psychologist would have a field day with someone so utterly convinced of his own importance that he prefers to make a fool of himself for attention rather than risk non-existence.

    Apparently, you have never encountered Warren Bergerson (aka ‘Life Engineer’).

  11. #11 Beaming Visionary
    May 22, 2006

    I can think of a few things that set Internet wars distinctly apart from real-life debates.

    For one thing, uneducated people aren’t as apt to speak up in the flesh-and-blood world because they don’t seek out, or perhaps cannot gain access to, media in which substantive debates take place.

    More importantly, dumbasses love the Web because of the way it superficially erodes their disadvantages. Those who cannot get their minds around what their would-be opponents are actually saying because they don’t grok the relevant terminology and concepts are not apt to interject without the option of visiting some goofball nuttersite that nomincally supports their views. I guarantee you that if I’m riding the bus toward downtown discussing the inanity of creationism with an erudite friend, the two or three fundagelicals statistical principles suggest are in listening range (I’m in the Bible Belt, although I’m wondering if this doesn’t now include the U.S. as a whole are almost certainly not going to dive in, as annoying as they may find me (and I hope they do, by Triton).

    Related to this is the built-in time lag in message-board and blog set-tos. When confronted with those disturbing vittles often called “facts” or “evidence,” soldiers in the dolt brigade have no immediate response, rendering in-person battles extremely damaging and disheartening. But given time to marshal large heaps of bullshit, dummies will do just that, not only visiting the aforementioned nuttersites but also allowing interim comments from other parties to provide a comfortable buffer and, they often hope, lead his or her opponent to simply forget what was being fought about in the first place.

    This leads to yet another consideration: the plausability of flat-out ignoring direct questions whose answers can only expose the already flattened brickhead as even more of a thoroughgoing fucktard. We’ve probably all had the experience of pinning down one of these troglodytes and trying like mad to get him or her to answer a query framed in a bold, italicized, bright red size-72 font, only to be met with a change of subject, the claim that the question has already been answered “up above” or “at this link,” or dead silence. This is unconvincing, of course, yet provides the sort of laughably lame escape that real-life arguments would never grant. What some of these people do when shucking and jiving and dodging is so unbelievably, transparently inane that a real-life analog would go something like this:

    NED SLAYTON (on one side of the dais in a packed auditorium): “I couldn’t link to your post, Harry, because it didn’t exist at the time. What say you?”

    HARRY HALFALAFF: (Picks nose, mumbles something about Ned being a censoring coward)

    NED SLAYTON (on one side of the dais in a packed auditorium): “I couldn’t link to your post, Harry, because it didn’t exist at the time. What say you?

    HARRY HALFALAFF: “I’ve exposed you right here in broad daylight as a liar, and by this time next Tuesday you’ll be living on the street.”

    NED SLAYTON (on one side of the dais in a packed auditorium): “I couldn’t link to your post, Harry, because it didn’t exist at the time. WHAT SAY YOU?

    HARRY HALFALAFF: (Pauses briefly; launches into a bastardized version of “Put the Lime in the Coconut” sung in a hysterical falsetto)

    Almost like talking to the original ELISA “smart talk” shrink-type program from the early 1980s. I think that masterpiece was written in BASIC.

    As we all recognize, true conservatives as a rule are no dumber or smarter than their more liberal counterparts, but stupid people much more often claim the mantle of “conservative.” This — along with the factors already noted — leads people like the readership of “Dispatches,” who as a rule are more stereotypically left-leaning (especially if rejecting skygods is grounds for automatic inclusion in the lefty camp), to believe that there are far more idiots online than in the real world.

  12. #12 Gretchen
    May 22, 2006

    What an excellent post, BV.

  13. #13 Ed Brayton
    May 22, 2006

    Beaming Visionary wrote:

    I can think of a few things that set Internet wars distinctly apart from real-life debates.

    For one thing, uneducated people aren’t as apt to speak up in the flesh-and-blood world because they don’t seek out, or perhaps cannot gain access to, media in which substantive debates take place.

    Oh, I’m not suggesting that there are no differences between online discussions and offline discussions. And you hit on the primary one – the anonymity of the internet allows behavior that we rarely see in “real life”. I’ve been online long enough to have seen that a billion times. The rest of your post was very amusing, thank you.

  14. #14 Bill Carter
    January 4, 2007

    You may be missing what has happened since Larry Fafarman was thrown off of this and several other blogs and started his own: “Im-From-Missouri”. His header states “My biggest motivation for creating this blog was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship here will be avoided — there will be no deletion of comments…”

    Larry has begun deleting comments wholesale and then referring to parts of the deleted comments totally out of context.

    His blog didn’t last a week before he broke another of his stated principles: “Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged.”

    Larry has been the number one initiator of insults and ad hominem attacks. He has also expressed the opinion that nearly everyone who posts disagreeing with him (more than 90% of the posts) is actually Ed Brayton in disquise!

    He is continuing to claim that his brother, Dave is not his real brother despite the proof given on this blog. At the same time he calls his brother and demands that he stop.

    Ed, I know that you have said that it is not good sport to pull the tail of the clinically insane but when someone stands up with the merangue dripping off his face from a pie that he himself has supplied and says “You missed me.” it becomes irresistable.

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