Uncivil Discussion on Writer Beat

My Recent Posts

According to my WB log, I have been here since 2014. And  I have taken two breaks from WB (I thought it was three).


The usual internet forums I have come across can be classified into two groups:


1) Everyone in posting and no-one is reading articles other then their own. In other words, there are very few comments.

2) There are lots of comments, nearly all from left-wing or right-wing trolls who somehow believe their shallow vile comments are somehow saving the world from a wrong ideology. 


Writer Beat is something unique: we can find intelligent discourse. And we can learn from each other. We can test the soundness of our positions, ideas, and logic. If nothing else, we at least get a better understanding of people who disagree with us--as long as the discussion remains civil.


A few months back, I admitted that I have a mental illness: I get anxiety attacks. If not handled very well, I get very angry. I have learned to recognize when the attacks are coming on, readjust my thinking, and warn the people around me. And they readily let me have my private time to get my mind settled down.


One Writer Beat contributor, with whom I have had a testy relationship, took this new information about me and used it to attack any position I made contrary to his ideology: "Dave has a mental illness, so that makes him wrong." At that point, I decided not to read anything that person puts on WB. And it's not that difficult: when I see that name, I just don't read it! And while this contributor is still involved in WB, he doesn't seem to be involved in discussions I am having with others (but I wouldn't know for sure because I don't read anything from this person). 


Another WB contributor has been grinding his ax on two other WB contributors. When he started grinding on one of these contributors on a thread I had been involved with, I asked to him to make whatever point he was trying to make a little more civilly. He then kind of turned his ax grinding on me, and I soon realized that I was eventually going to be on his list of people he must drive off WB. I put him on my "DO NOT READ" list as well.


The funny thing is that both these "censored" contributors are actually articulate and have thought their positions through. They do make some good points, and they are not your average left-wing or right-wing troll. However when they cannot convince me or others that their position is right, then it becomes time for character assassination.  Unfortunately, that is how our political world is teaching us how to resolve differences of opinion--and my censored contributors have made it their way as well.


Regardless, they are still on my DO NOT READ list. If nothing else, my mind is more at ease.




MEFOBILLS Added Feb 26, 2018 - 8:57pm
If you go back a few hundred years, men and women had different circuits.  Women had their network with other women and children.  Men had their business network, which often include the pub and ale-house.  
In the ale-house men would argue politics and settle disputes.  This was NOT one on one, but instead groups of men keeping discourse civil.  
In some ways, the internet is bringing back the ale-house, but the rules are different.  These sort of public forums will let the immature, or irrational have a voice equal to those who have well thought out positions.  
In the old days, if somebody flamed you by being an ass, they might get physically escorted out of the ale house.
TexasLynn Added Feb 26, 2018 - 9:35pm
Dave, I'm sorry to hear about your illness, and hope things work out for you in that regard.
You and I have had quite a few discussions, some more civil than others.  I do value your opinion and look forward to reading your posts and comments. 
I have also recently had a less than completely civil discussion with a new WB contributor that you were involved in.  If I am one of the two mentioned... then I will offer my sincere apology for causing you such pain.
Dave Volek Added Feb 26, 2018 - 9:46pm
No Lynn, it was not you. Proof: I read your last post!
Things can be a little testy at times on WB, but that is part of the discovery. Testy is not the same as disrespect!
The shining spark of truth comes forth only after the clash of differing opinions.
TexasLynn Added Feb 26, 2018 - 10:00pm
Dave >> No Lynn, it was not you. Proof: I read your last post!
Dammit Dave!  You scared the crap out of me!
You had me second-guessing my blunt discussion on Mustafa's post.  In hind-sight I'm generally more subdued with first time posters.  If he had put up an avatar of a cute girl that might have tipped the scales.
I'm thinking about putting up an avatar of a real picture of me... a young black woman.  Ohhh... with that in mind, I meant a cute guy above.
OK... I'll sleep better tonight... thanks...
Ben McCargo Added Feb 26, 2018 - 10:22pm
Dave, peace of mind is necessary above all.  Please feel free to tell me if I ever offend whenever our paths cross.  Be well.
Pardero Added Feb 26, 2018 - 10:29pm
I regret your unpleasant experiences. I am appalled that some would use character assassination to win a debate. I have decided not to submit a certain article because it might leave openings for ridicule or personal attacks against me or my late brother.
You are one of the most level-headed, civil, and reasonable writers, although you are somewhat left of me except for my pacifism. I often become disgruntled with the party in power. It could be that my pendulum will be swinging left when you and the Albertans swing back to the right. The Social Credit Party, or whatever they call themselves these days, will make a comeback. ; )
Your writing is accessible, well informed, and engaging.
You wrote the first article I read. I had slightly different opinions but decided that I liked what they were doing here because of your article. A couple of ruffians have shown up, I hope I am not considered one of them.
Be well, Dave Volek, and don't stop writing.
Si vales valeo
Bill H. Added Feb 26, 2018 - 10:31pm
Same observation here Dave-
I have been out here for a long time and simply because I have a different view on both the gun issue and climate change, I have been labeled a "Lefty", "Commie", "Progressive", "Liberal". "Fascist" (what?), and "obvious Democrat" by those who require others to have labels so that they feel comfortable.
Much of what I am seeing posted out here lately is simply "rants" that only serve the purpose of allowing the author the ability to vent and receive some temporary comfort from their mental issues, rather than presenting something worthy of discussion or comments.
WB is turning into Breitbart.
Maybe we should rename it RighterBeat.
Pardero Added Feb 27, 2018 - 12:02am
That is exactly the kind of arrogance and hubris that cost the Democrats the presidency. They were so caught up in their virtue signalling echo chamber that they didn't see that America was fed up. 
Don't like labels? The people that put Trump in the White House have been called haters, racists, zenophobes, deplorables, homophobes, Christian radicals, isolationists, fascists, Nazis, and Neanderthals and we are still being called those things and worse. Some labels such as left and right are necessary to discuss politics. We are both aware that some labels serve no useful purpose except to dehumanize an opponent.
You were called by some pretty pleasant labels compared to what conservatives get labeled.
This is no longer an echo chamber. Now you can find out how you got so far off the tracks. Unless you want to be in the wilderness for 20 years, you need to figure out how you lost touch with ordinary Americans. As Trump moves his agenda forward, some of your "ranters" will settle down. We get triggered sometimes, just like the pink pussy hat wearing snowflakes do.
I think you'd have to admit that we are nicer than your BLM and Antifa crowd is.
Your assumptions and conventional wisdom will be challenged. Your PC rubbish will be challenged. You will be challenged every inch of the way. If you need an echo chamber, Huff Post and Slate come to mind. 
James Travil Added Feb 27, 2018 - 12:08am
I am sorry to hear about your experiences here Mr. Volek. I am new here and ran into the same kind of thing on my first article here when I refused to agree to change my entire world view based on another's mythology. Like I told the individual, the discussion ends when Ad Hominem personal attacks begin. My policy is to do unto others as they do unto me, and to treat others how I wish to be treated until I get treated differently. I am here to learn from others and share my views with you all. And to hopefully have a good time. No one has any meaningful interactions with trolls, thus where I can't block them, I do as you wisely do.
And on a personal note I find it beyond disgusting that someone would use your mental state as a tool to attack you. I suffer myself from PTSD and certainly can see where you are coming from. Overall, in the short time I have been here my experience has been good, but there are trolls everywhere apparently, hopefully we can both avoid them.
Mark Hunter Added Feb 27, 2018 - 4:00am
Dave, my wife gets anxiety attacks, and every winter I go on Zoloft for Seasonal Affected Disorder. It changes both our moods, of course ... you won't hear me putting you down for it.
It's one of the reasons why I bail as soon as the personal attacks start; the other being that everyone stops listening at that point, anyway.
Flying Junior Added Feb 27, 2018 - 4:10am
There is one situation that causes panic in me.  Unfamiliar driving situations, in particular labyrinthine parking structures wherein I am lucky if I can even find a parking space and a travel lane wide enough to give me a 50/50 chance of parking my car without hitting anybody else and still having enough room to open my driver's door.  Usually I borrow Mrs. Junior's Crown Victoria if I know that I have to park in a structure.  Anybody who knows me can dig it that I don't do well under pressure.  My life is planned.  Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency for me.
It's my own fault for buying a 2014 Ford Expedition.  I really wanted another Bronco.  I only recently figured out how to back the seventeen-foot long, six-foot wide beast into my driveway.  Parallel parking is actually quite fun.  I'm sticking out at maybe a 45 degree angle into the street.  My left front fender almost crosses opposing traffic.
But to the problem at hand.  As a music student, I was thankful that I was a UCSD kid.  If parking was full, you could park in the dirt.  I rode my bike anywhere and everywhere.  I already knew that SDSU was a zoo in 1977.
Normally I only panic in a strange city or if I am battling time.  But my nemesis/boss tells me that, "It's not a choice," whether or not I meet him at SDSU for some crappy piano sale.  It wasn't a wasted day. It was interesting to see violins, violas and cellos for sale, but the, "gently used pianos?"  It was just a scam for local piano dealers.  The pianos that could be ordered weren't even the pianos that were floored.  Coming from the prestigious University of California I was unaccustomed to such dishonesty.  Complete waste of time.  Shitty pianos assembled by machines in Indonesia instead of hand-made in China according to European specs.
So I dutifully show up at SDSU to make it on time for the sale.  I enter the parking structure, but am unaware of how to navigate to climb up by one level.  Thinking that I am climbing slowly upwards, I continue in a counter-clockwise motion.  I am in a nightmare scenario even though it is 11:00 in the morning.  I am looking with all of my senses in every direction surrounding my truck for anything that moves.  On every level, there are about 750 students on foot, scooters, skateboards or bicycles rapidly trying to get back to their cars or make it to class.  It's not clear.  I go around five times thinking that I have ascended five levels.  It dawns on me that I have driven around the same circle five times seeing the exact same seven or eight hundred kids that I am legally obligated to avoid hitting.  I see a sign that says EXIT.  I carefully get the fuck outta there.  I am back on College Avenue and make my way to College Avenue Baptist Church.  Shaken, I get out of my car and steady my nerves to talk to the church secretary.  I explain that I have had some difficulties parking at SDSU and that I would like to leave my car in the church lot while I go over there with the Music Department Director.
So I call him.  He is late and he knows just where I am waiting for him.  Reluctantly he agrees to pick me up.  I explain why I couldn't meet him on campus.  He picks me up in his Toyota Camry, but not without complaining.
So I tell him what happened to me, the little son-of-a-bitch has the nerve to ask me if I have ever considered getting help?
Neil Lock Added Feb 27, 2018 - 4:32am
Dave: I didn't know about your illness, but thanks for telling us. It's shameful that anyone would use it against you. From what I've seen, I don't think any of the commenters so far on this thread (and I've interacted with most of them at one time or another) would even think of doing such a thing.
Please keep on writing, and I for one will try to keep the conversation civil, even when we disagree!
wsucram15 Added Feb 27, 2018 - 7:56am
Dave..as a veteran on here and one of the few women left, even though you have been here for some time...all I can say to this article is "Welcome to Writer Beat" 
I have seen some pretty vicious attacks on here, threats, extreme personal affronts that were well beyond any decent boundary or at least a boundary by a person who respects themselves and others equally.
I was told once by someone very knowledgeable about the site, to let it go and ignore it. Take the high road.  It does work in MOST incidences.
So you are doing the right thing.  You cant change someone else or their opinion.  You can have discussions if your opinions differ to try to understand, and perhaps negotiate compromise.  But you have to be willing to do so yourself.
If it is an argument..why bother, don't you write for pleasure?  I dont see the rationale after a point.
Good article.
Dave Volek Added Feb 27, 2018 - 8:02am
Thanks all for your great comments.
I don't like the left/right labels for they are too simplistic. I like to see my political position as (1) sometimes the government needs to get out of the way and let people make their choices and (2) sometimes we need to work collectively to pool resources to better our society.
Even if Mr. Trump lost, America would still somehow have to deal with the people that voted for him. But he won, and Mr. Trump is an experiment America will have to learn from. Personally, I don't think he is going to accomplish much in the next three years. But I could be wrong.
My mental illness is manageable. But I am no longer suited for a "management" type job. I just can't keep juggling balls and stay sane. Running my family is all the managing I want to do right now.
The two WB contributors that have offended me are not yet on this thread. I don't think they will show up.
And in case anyone is wondering, it is not our local white supremacist either. Tom has treated me respectfully--even though I really don't like the cause(s) he is promoting.
There is a unique culture on WB, and part of my reasoning for this article was to enhance this culture. If someone starts attacking you personally, stop responding to that person. I think that's the best way to discourage them from participating.
Stephen Hunter Added Feb 27, 2018 - 8:36am
Thanks Dave for the perspective on internet forums. Other than WB, i have not explored too many others. (just LinkedIn for business and FB for social/relatives connectivity) 
And I agree why do some have to get so nasty? My theory is that these folks minds are made and have no interest in listening and trying to understand  others'. 
Dino Manalis Added Feb 27, 2018 - 8:47am
We're civilized, but we have to prove it with appropriate language!
wsucram15 Added Feb 27, 2018 - 8:51am
Dave..also this is more of a social site with writers on it that interact more closely.
There are actual writer pages where you talk with other writers but specifically about the writing or if its casual it is def monitored for language.
Dave Volek Added Feb 27, 2018 - 9:03am
As MEFOBILLs so eloquently stated, in the old days (before the internet), uncivil discussion usually got one thrown out the door. People now have a license to be nasty.
I was using a professional internet marketer to market my book on Facebook. This marketer developed great memes and ad copy. Yet the comments were mostly by left-wing and right-wing trolls who took great delight in trashing my book without ever much reading past the ad copy. Very shallow mentality we have.
We are still very much in a collective mental state of: "If someone disagrees with me, they must be a fool." I see WB trying climb out of that. In my mind, we need to discourage the nasty people.
It would be interesting if Autumn's original intent for WB was to have a forum for writers to critique each other's work. There's a bit of that happening here. But we seem to have become a social/political forum that has much higher intellect than most other internet social/political forums.
Jeff Jackson Added Feb 27, 2018 - 9:15am
Dave, I have the same DO NOT READ list because of various reasons, not the least of which would be suggesting alternative interpretations of history, obvious biases, or, as you note, turning personal. The internet has made us shallow, or maybe we were shallow before and just didn't like to admit it. We do indeed have some smart people here on WB, such as yourself, and others.
Dave Volek Added Feb 27, 2018 - 9:20am
There are a few writers who do have some whacky ideas. But I will take a look at their work even though I see futility in engaging with them: it's good to try and understand other people. And occasionally I will comment on their articles, and they have treated me with respect. So they do not make my DO NOT READ list.
Mark Hunter Added Feb 27, 2018 - 10:12am
Junior, my wife also panics in unfamiliar driving situations. I just ... hate them.
wsucram15 Added Feb 27, 2018 - 10:12am
It was..and it is of higher intellect.
There are other sites though that really have intellectuals on the sites, very serious writers. Pointers on your writing, stuff like that.  Its just what articles you want to publish and where.
This is a place of ideas I think. Articles are the platform.
Tom C. Purcell Added Feb 27, 2018 - 11:35am
Keep up the good work, Dave.  You're one of the most talented writers on WB.  Your style, although very sound, doesn't always flow with my comprehension so I don't always comment.  That's just part of reading and writing, I think.
Leroy Added Feb 27, 2018 - 11:48am
Take the high road, WSU? You called me an asshole for merely asking a question.
George N Romey Added Feb 27, 2018 - 12:00pm
Sometimes you just have to consider the source. If you have enough respect here the others that just hurl insults but yet never pen their own thoughts are just not worth the hassle.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Feb 27, 2018 - 12:48pm
I don't even count anxiety attacks or depression as mental illnesses. They are too common. Anyway, always be sparse with personal information over the internet. There are too many mean people in the world and the internet does not forget.
Dave Volek Added Feb 27, 2018 - 1:02pm
Unfortunately, mental illness is still regarded as sign of weakness. So far too many people today still fail to deal with it is a proper way.
I don't mind if my story gets out there. If it helps a few people move forward, that is great.
Although anxiety attacks and depression are usually not that severe in terms of other mental illnesses, these lower forms still impair good judgement for making good life decisions.  
The more people making better decisions, society benefits.
mark henry smith Added Feb 27, 2018 - 3:51pm
I have had some anxiety attacks in my life, in grocery store lines when I was in my teens, and had to just run. Whenever I even start to get that feeling now, I don't equivocate, I just run. It is so good that you have people around you who understand and offer you space.
I know I can get testy when attacked and behave in ways that I would prefer not to. I'm much better.
When I first started on here, I was shocked at the level of vitriol I'd be exposed to for saying things that I thought were accepted by all reasonable people, such as that Social Security was set up as a trust fund. I had someone attack me over that and call me an idiot, all kinds of names and then another participant informed me that what I'd said was correct. The same person showed up on post after post and behaved in the same manner, but eventually left.
I accepted Autumn's invitation to participate in writerbeat for one reason, to become a better writer. It has allowed me to explore all kinds of arguments and forms of writing to see how people react. I have been so appreciative of all the great insights and well researched pieces I've seen. I'm not a researcher. I have an idea, I sit and write. I make mistakes all the time and when they are pointed out to me, I accept my failings without rancor. I want to be better in my thought process and that means being more accurate with my thoughts.
Writerbeat has been extremely helpful in letting me get practice in at being attacked and how to deal with it in a more entertaining way than just throwing more mud, but sometimes I just throw more mud. It's a work in progress, as we all will admit if we're honest.
Keep up the good work. You are a fine example for any young person to follow. Liberal or conservative does not make a person unworthy of respect in the real world.  
Ray Joseph Cormier Added Feb 27, 2018 - 4:15pm
Dave, if you freely admitted you suffer from a mental illness, it doesn't show in your writing and commentaries.
I was taken by surprise by the vitriol and ad hominem attacks when I 1st started sharing my Faith in comments so many years ago. I've been called every name in the book and told I'm mentally ill often for having Faith in God. I take it all in stride now, and it doesn't bother me. I don't reply in kind.
There is a site I frequent daily having signed up for email alerts. I find it has thought provoking articles, and a high level of intelligent discussion and no personal attacks that I have seen yet. It's worthwhile checking out, even though I consider myself socially liberal.
The American Conservative
Dave Volek Added Feb 27, 2018 - 5:55pm
One of my best insights into human behavior was at an Edmonton Oilers game circa 1985. My cousin got tickets right behind the LA Kings bench. You wouldn't believe the vileness of this section. There were a few season ticket holders that did nothing but insult the opposition players for whatever for the entire game. Then there were the guys coming from the rafters who would stick their beak over the glass to yell "Dionne, you're a fag". Then they would waddle back with a grin on their face.
Anyone who gets some success in life is a target for this mentality.
MEFOBILLS Added Feb 27, 2018 - 7:02pm
Anyone who gets some success in life is a target for this mentality.
A good way to deal with this element is to consider the human brain as two parts, the Amygdala and Hippocampus.
Hippocampus over-writes and suppresses the more ape-like amygdala.
Also, amygdala fires a few milliseconds before hippocampus, so the lower fear centers can have sway over the more rational part of brain. 
Since humans are evolved in this way, then any system must take it into account.  The fear centers are to be placated in order to have higher civilization.  Today, the fear centers are being targeted purposefully.  Our Illuminist masters target the weakness inherent in humans, rather than elevate.
The more psychopathic religions target fear centers, and hence are not of god.  They are not of logos or reason.  
When you see a waddling, grinning human/ape, then just remember that he has become hostage to his lower brain functions and is not evolved along higher pathways.  This "hostage" taking is environmental, and only very strong people can overcome it.
A society that encourages this sort of behavior may become unpleasant for certain sensitive humans are are operating on another plane.  
Stephen Hunter Added Feb 27, 2018 - 7:16pm
As corny as it sounds Dave, all you can do with those in a nasty state of mind, is send love back to them. Or ignore them, as you suggest. 
Stephen Hunter Added Feb 27, 2018 - 7:33pm
Regarding your comments on the trolls on fb dissing your book, imo the negative emotions displayed are because they cannot fathom a change of this magnitude. (either right or left as you point out.
John Minehan Added Feb 27, 2018 - 8:36pm
I enjoy reading your articles and I think you are a positive force.
However, I admit I don't understand your hat.  Is that unique to your part of Canada?
J. Riddle Added Feb 28, 2018 - 3:33am
"Much of what I am seeing posted out here lately is simply 'rants' that only serve the purpose of allowing the author the ability to vent and receive some temporary comfort from their mental issues, rather than presenting something worthy of discussion or comments. WB is turning into Breitbart."
That's why I left. The contributors here were disproportionately white nationalist/reactionary/fascist types and if I didn't sufficiently comment on their abjectly worthless rants, I was scolded for it. Meanwhile, every time I posted something, it was treated as a problem if those same contributors descended upon it and I didn't sufficiently interact with them. That's a no-win situation and while I don't often feel as if I'm at my best with my work, it's worth better than that.
George N Romey Added Feb 28, 2018 - 7:31am
Dave you are well respected here on WB. Ignore the trolls. See Katharine Otto’s response to A. Jones when he tried trolling her. It was classic.
This is much of human nature-pettiness.
Autumn Cote Added Feb 28, 2018 - 9:45am
Please note, the more personal and prompt responses you offer, the more likely I'll publicize your articles to a wider distribution.  Also, the more likely your articles will remain popular and commented upon.  
Dave Volek Added Feb 28, 2018 - 10:25am
Life happens. I cannot be on WB 24/7.
Back in the 1980s, I watched a documentary on how a 30-second TV commercial for a sports car was made. I did some quick math and estimated a cost of $500,000 just to make the commercial. If the profit margin per car is $2,000, that commercial would have to sell 250 cars just to pay for itself. But then we need to incorporate the cost of buying adspace across Canada and the USA. For example, a TV spot on the supper-time news hour is about $500. So every four commercials would have to sell a car in the local area.
These companies wouldn't go to this great expense if it didn't pay off. They know what they are doing. They know to appeal to that "primitive" part of ourselves so that we would be more inclined to buy things from them. They understand us better than we understand ourselves. 
The political world today is no less different. We are being manipulated by people who understand our psychology.
I wasn't too surprised on the FB comments from my ad campaign. When I embarked on this adventure of reworking my book, one likely outcome was absolutely no interest. But I think the comments are saying something about our collective psychology.
There is a lot less disrespect on WB than on other internet forums. Hopefully we can get less disrespect. My solution is to ignore these people and hopefully they will become frustrated.
J. Riddle
I am finding a great diverse group on WB. If one is looking for echo chamber, WB is not it. Enjoy the challenge of someone thinking differently than you respectfully commenting on your perspectives. It will help you become a better person. 
Autumn Cote Added Feb 28, 2018 - 10:52am
The way I see it, Writer Beat is unique in that discussion is actually happening.  On most other sites, it’s like there are thousands of comments but nobody is actually communicating with each other.  Or there are no comments, meaning the author might as well be talking to a wall.  The fact some discussions are civil and others are uncivil is of little importance from my vantage point.  I’m just trying to foster discussion.   
To the extent you don’t wish to communicate with those that engage uncivil discussion, you’re free to do so.  However, too often I see people label discussion uncivil when the person they’re communicating with merely disagrees with you.  And too often I see someone say someone else is engaging in uncivil discussion when the complainer is guilty of doing the very same thing. 
Leroy Added Feb 28, 2018 - 10:58am
"One of my best insights into human behavior was at an Edmonton Oilers game circa 1985."
I also had insight into human behavior at a sporting event in 1989.  I went to a volleyball game in France between the French and American teams.  The American team appeared to be routing the French team.  The English speaking attendees began to taunt the French.  I wouldn't say Americans because many were British who like to needle the French.  They shouted the most horrible things imaginable at the French attendees and team.   It is human nature to kick someone when they are down.  I've experienced it myself a couple of times.
The American team came within two points of winning the first game while the French team was scoreless.  The French team was apparently motivated by the taunts.  The American team never scored another point.  The French won all three games.  In the last two games, the American team was scoreless.  Beating someone when they are down can be a motivation.  There were no English speakers as we exited the venue.
Katharine Otto Added Feb 28, 2018 - 11:01am
The whole world is crazy, so if you're crazy, you're normal, according to me.  Who wouldn't be anxious, what with all the small and large threats coming from all directions?  
I don't believe in stereotypes or labels, including psychiatric ones.  Although it's now au courant to bestow a psychiatric or medical diagnosis on everyone in sight, I believe it burdens them with even more emotional garbage.  Too many people identify with their diagnoses, which become even more entrenched as they fall into the "mental illness" club.
Yes, I probably sound cynical, but I've come to believe the psychiatric and medical establishment create more disease and resultant dependency than they cure.  It pays overhead, if you can scare someone into thinking their problems are permanent, and only ameliorated by your therapy and your patented symptom relief.  
I'm especially appalled by the psychiatric establishment, which seems to have sold out to the drug and insurance companies.  Rather than set people free from emotional blockages, it has conspired to make them dependent on the professional "helpers" who seem more and more like "enablers" instead.
Bill H. Added Feb 28, 2018 - 11:31am
Those out here who simply throw labels and ridicule, harass or insult
those who disagree with them should migrate to other sites where it is the norm and accepted by all. We still have a few out here, but we have certainly seen them come and go out here. Lately there has been quite a few "hit and run" rants from people who sign-on to the site and virtually disappear seeming after receiving a comment or two that they are unable to deal with.
Pardero Added Feb 28, 2018 - 11:52am
John Minehan,
That hat looks like an Akubra Territory, with the broad dipping brim in the Australian drover style. The crown has a drastic modification to the factory bash, which would have been telescoping with side dents.
I am guessing that the crown could indicate that he identifies with rustics from a simpler time. Perhaps I am projecting. 
It is a singular bash and I have considered it much, myself. I believe that he is an iconoclast with eclectic skills and proficiencies, and that it is perfectly suited to him.
Ray Joseph Cormier Added Feb 28, 2018 - 11:59am
The whole world is crazy, so if you're crazy, you're normal,
The newspapers often get it wrong, In October 1977, Ottawa Today published a report with the header, target="_blank">'I'm a nut says Cormier'
In addressing a growing crowd on the Sparks Street Mall I said, 'have you never read in the Bible, 'I will go down into the valley of nuts to see whether the vine flourish? I walk among the nuts. And the voice of the turtle is heard throughout our land.'
target="_blank">Song of Solomon
It was actually a parable saying the world is going crazy. A turtle has no voice as this world may be on the verge of a Masada-Holocaust II.
I liked the picture frame of the shot in front of the business 'MARKS & SONS.' We know of Noah's ARK, but the shot tells it like it is for us in our Times, 'I ARKS.'
Dave Volek Added Feb 28, 2018 - 12:25pm
That picture is of about 15 years ago. I should change it out.
The hat is of a western style, not quite a stetson, but still common of the cowboy culture. It was a great rain hat. I could spend all day in a light rain with that hat. Unfortunately it was wearing down and the headband was shrinking. I have replaced it with an Australian bush hat. Being of lighter color, the new hat is also good for hot days.
I usually don't wear a hat unless I really need it: a.k.a. rain or sun. The baseball hats so common in Canadian culture are a waste of time in my opinion.
Dave Volek Added Feb 28, 2018 - 12:36pm
I think you are making some great points here. We should not identify ourselves by whatever ailments--physical or mental--beset us. 
I come from a semi-dysfunctional family, and it took me quite a few years to turn around the effects of that environment. Part of the challenge was to recognize that my father had an unresolved mental illness that greatly affected our family dynamic. My father was too proud to admit that he might have a mental illness, and his family paid the price.
Part of my healing was to acknowledge the history. Had I decided to tough it out--because I didn't want no label on me-- I don't think I would have developed into the person I am today. 
mark henry smith Added Feb 28, 2018 - 12:36pm
Dave, I played hockey. I wore glasses. I was the star of my team. I was heckled relentlessly, but when you're in the game, if you're a player, you block it out and focus on the action. Marcel Dionne was the dude, and only five-six, or seven, maybe eight, but what hands.
I hated that about hockey, the crudeness, the violence. When I played a guy could attack you and get you to fight and you both got the same penalty, so I was picked on. On here, there appears to be a group that picks on certain people based on what they call a liberal perspective, and then will say whatever madness strikes them as provocative. It's a tactic to get the good people off their game and down to their level. I know how hard that is to do well. My first instinct is to take a swing, always, and kick some ass because I can, and have, but it doesn't work to address the problem. I'm becoming better at backing off, thinking of something to use in the attack, and return it to the sender for others to see.
Our dramas are played out here. It's one of the wonderful things about writerbeat. We have seen each other work at this over years and years and seen the minds that sick. All of those minds that stick, to my way of thinking, are exceptional minds and everyone of you has taught me, liberal or conservative, Nazi or native American, and all in between, and that is for one reason, because I want you to teach me.
Katherine Otto, right on. Our medical system is broken and is a medicine cabinet filled with perverse incentives. It's in the pharmaceutical industry's profit-first interest to get people addicted, or convince them that they  have a chronic condition that only a pill can help, like cholesterol. Most people could just change their lifestyle and be healthier. And kids are being diagnosed to the point where you won't have a kid in ten years who doesn't have a psychiatric condition requiring medication. And the opioid crisis was prescripted by the drug companies with propaganda. If that ain't crazy, I don't know what crazy is.
Doug, I have my faith. I have my God. It works for me. All I can be is an example of what that means.
Autumn, you are right. Engaging with people who will not listen is a great exercise in figuring out strategies for getting them to listen. On Facebook, which is like a comic book to this being a major news paper, there is no back and forth, but I try. The anti gun people say, no guns, and don't even want to think about the 2nd amendment. The gun people look at the 2nd amendment and don't even want to look at victims. I say to both, guns don't kill people, ammo kills people.
To all, our respect for the uniqueness of writebeat and it's worth is in our being here regularly expressing our views and practicing. Thanks Dave, great post.      
Jeff Michka Added Feb 28, 2018 - 1:53pm
Interesting revelations, but as already said, don't remember you mentioning your personal problems, and seems you decided I was grinding on you by asking rule in/rule out questions.  Sorry you have troubles that have interfered with you ideas being implemented, but consider it is a real burden doing trial and error on someone else's work where there are no road maps.  However, I 'll point out the continuing "other rule" seemingly in effect for some here whereby there's one rule for you and some folks, and another rule for "bad, nasty trolls" like I've been repeatedly accused of being, respective of cause or reason.  WB isn't Facedbook, Twitter, or other social media sewer the iphone crowd can't live without.  And no Dave, if asking you questions is too hard on you, then really don't read anything I've got to say.  I might ask another question or two.  I think it unfair someone using your troubles here as a tool to beat you up,  no more fair than a WB Nazi beating me over the head after posting a comment on alternative medication, but then I've gotten use to the Nazi's attacks.  I don't like them and trust he finds my replies unpleasant.  Or someone else whining constantly about trolling, yet never acknowledging the trolling they do.  That being intellectually dishonest, but they know that.  Of course, feel free to delete this ruthless personal attack on you if you need for purposes of maintaining a single stance.
Neil Lock Added Feb 28, 2018 - 2:52pm
Jeff Michka: I'll do what I can to support Dave here.
Someone (called Barath) provoked you on one of my threads. And it took me a couple of days to work out that you were the innocent party. You're still welcome on my threads, Jeff, as long as you're civil.
But you mustn't expect Dave to do what isn't within his power, to ban "nazis," "trolls" or whoever. That is a matter for Autumn, and if you have a problem with certain trolls, you should take the matter up with her.
Oh, and you might split up your comments into more readable paragraphs...
Jeff Michka Added Feb 28, 2018 - 2:57pm
But you mustn't expect Dave to do what isn't within his power, to ban "nazis," "trolls" or whoever.-I certainly made no mention of it being Dave's responsibility to ban trolls.  Oh, and you might split up your comments into more readable paragraphs... And, old joke re paragraphs:  I'm the paragraph Nazi:  "No paragraphs for you!" LOL
Leroy Added Feb 28, 2018 - 9:08pm
'I'm the paragraph Nazi:  "No paragraphs for you!"'
Beat me to it...LOL
Nobody's Sweetheart Added Feb 28, 2018 - 10:10pm
Dave, you seem like a nice guy, but anyone who reveals their weaknesses to the usual pack of rats, jackals, and hyenas that comprise the usual Internet peanut gallery deserves whatever he/she gets.
I like how Autumn seems to have cracked down on assholes like me, you weak, simpering, snivveling Canuck fuck! Take more Xanax! Fuck off and die, asshole!
Just kidding, Dave. LOL
Morgoth Added Mar 1, 2018 - 12:57am
Dave, if I offended in any way, I apologize.  I admit to a certain “rough and tumble” style that I developed in other places.  I do enjoy what you write.
Dave Volek Added Mar 1, 2018 - 12:24pm
I don't think we should ever cast one uncivil post as a troll. But eventually a pattern emerges--and there is time to take some kind of action. It seems ignoring is a good solution.
Michael B
Your example was a bit more vile than my average response from my FB marketing for my book. But they were close to your fine choice of words. If nothing else, I managed to unite left-wing and right-wing trolls on the internet. Just wish they would have bought my book to attain this unity.
No, you are not on my DO NOT READ list. I think it's important to determine a pattern of trollness before making the judgement.
This does not mean things are never going to be testy on WB. When I ask a fairly direct question to point out the flaws of a writer's logic and when that question is evaded, I tend to put some pressure on that writer to give an answer. This is moving into a realm of being testy. And, I have admit, that I too have evaded questions and certain people kept me accountable. But there was not much assassination of character happening in these encounters.
mark henry smith Added Mar 1, 2018 - 1:17pm
Dave, the business of art is a crazy business and the business of book selling is even crazier. Look at what became a best-seller before the book was even released. It was called, Woman in the Window, and was made a best seller by advanced sales, but quickly started dropping when people actually read it. It's so much about hype, about getting your product on the shelves, about a great title, a great cover, and getting on media. And media is crazy. All kinds of agendas are being played out that average people aren't aware of.
The thing about trolls is trolls follow you to your posts and then say disturbing things about you. Why? I don't know, but it could be they have an agenda, or they could have a mental problem, or both. Ryan would get on every post I made and leave these thousand word religious treatises. Over and over and when I asked him to stop, and stop attacking anybody who commented on my posts, he wouldn't stop. He's gone now, or has established a new identity.
Some people just don't like Canadians, like eh? Or Americans, gun ho. Or philosophical poets.
Katharine Otto Added Mar 1, 2018 - 1:42pm
Thanks for your response.  I'm surprised at how many dysfunctional families there are and, in a way, surprised that people survive them so well.  At the time we grew up, there was too little recognition of emotional problems, so the current overkill may be a reaction to that.  They say alcoholism is a disease of lying and secrecy.  That may apply to most psychiatric problems, whether it's that of the individual or the family or the society in which one lives.
I don't get many personal attacks from people, here or elsewhere, but don't make them, either.  To me, they are signs of immaturity and attempts to provoke me.  What hurts my feelings most is when people misinterpret what I write and presume motives that never occurred to me.
Jeff Michka Added Mar 1, 2018 - 7:21pm
I'm the paragraph Nazi:  "No paragraphs for you!"'
Beat me to it...LOL-Yup.  You still get the paragraph nazi's special treatment, Leroy: no paragraphs for YOU!!
Jeff Michka Added Mar 1, 2018 - 7:24pm
That picture is of about 15 years ago. I should change it out.-Don't feel bad about old pics.  My pic here is 45 yrs old.  Time flies, eh?
Ray Joseph Cormier Added Mar 1, 2018 - 7:52pm
My pic here is current in my 74th year. And I'm at the same spot in my kitchen as I'm typing.
Tom C. Purcell Added Mar 1, 2018 - 7:57pm
Pfff, and I thought I was being vain with a 19 month old pic.
George N Romey Added Mar 1, 2018 - 8:15pm
Katharine I think for many years dysfunctional families were just swept under the carpet. 
Leroy Added Mar 2, 2018 - 8:02am
FJ, I just noticed your comments above.  I got a chuckle out of it.  Hope it was intended.  I don't like parking garages and driving in strange cities.  There was a short period in my life when I had anxiety attacks when driving.  Never determined the cause.
Somehow, I don't think you would make it is China.  The only rules of the road seem to be that there are no rules.  There are pedestrians, scooters, and bicycles coming at you from all directions.  The only informal rules seem to be that might makes right and if you are ahead of someone, you have the priority.  In my first venture to China, a driver picked us up.  As we were leaving the parking garage, my colleague says to me, "See those two cars coming?  He's going between them."  There was about a one-foot spacing.  Sure enough, he did.  Big trucks have priority over smaller trucks.  Trucks have priority over cars.  Cars have priority over scooters and bikes.  Scooters and bikes have priority over pedestrians.  I have trouble convincing my wife that she shouldn't push her way through the crosswalk when driving in the US.  She has a habit of blowing the horn at pedestrians in the crosswalk.  It's acceptable in China, although I cringe when she does it.  Many seasoned drivers in China have difficulty passing a driving test in the US.  Some take ten tries or more.  I sent my wife to driving school.  The instructor was visibly shaken at the end of the sessions.   She had been driving in China for nine years.
Katharine Otto Added Mar 2, 2018 - 10:32am
Funny.  I was impressed by all the bicycles in China, but now the government is moving to cars.  I'm sad about that, because I noticed the clumps of bicycles seemed to keep everyone safer and the cars couldn't speed.
I think dysfunctional families were gossiped about, but people tended not to interfere.  Their kids grew up to be Congresspeople, and that's why Congress is so dysfunctional.
mark henry smith Added Mar 2, 2018 - 12:04pm
Wonderful thread here, Dave.
Great story, Leroy. Other people have told me about driving in Italy, that it's a free-for-all and gesturing is an art form.
Katherine, I'm convinced we're nearing the end of the car culture, a last gasp of autocratic rule before ride sharing, and bike sharing take over from the personal auto, but having a personal box of space to travel around in is a hard habit to break. And where will I store my gun safely?
We have met the dysfunction and it is us. The way smartphones have just taken over any sensibilities of kids shows just how dysfunctional we are, a society of stimulation addicts. Do you know why opioids are so attractive to so many? Because not all become addicted. My dad took them for pain and then just stopped. The reason is because they slow people down from the constant need to be stimulated and it feels so good to be so chill.
We drive people to be so crazy harried and then we don't expect them to drink, or get high, or take something to relax? That's madness. And Leroy has now shown me how it's a worldwide phenomenon. But I don't think anybody does violent dysfunction better than the good, ole, US of A. We still lead the world in some areas, it's good to know.     
Dave Volek Added Mar 2, 2018 - 12:23pm
I tried to look for a really neat quote in the old testament, but could not find it this morning. Basically it said: "The sins of the fathers shall last seven generations."
When someone has a semi-dysfunctional nature to them, he or she tends to inflict that nature onto others, especially the children they are raising.
If a semi-dysfunctional person enters the field of politics and finds some degree of electoral success, that person is inflicting his dysfunction on the rest of society.
In essence, they are passing their dysfunction on to others. Sometimes it has great effect; sometimes just a little; and sometimes the people around that person are able to rise above the chaos.
If a semi-dysfunctional person cannot attain a high position in real life, than maybe being an internet troll is the place they can vent their frustrations.
Ray Joseph Cormier Added Mar 2, 2018 - 12:31pm
As long as this discussion is about crazy, this is crazy leading to WWIII/Armageddon.
Dave Volek Added Mar 2, 2018 - 12:44pm
I was expecting another interpretation to the book of revelations. But this guy is right on the money!
Ray Joseph Cormier Added Mar 2, 2018 - 12:50pm
Dave, here are the OT verses;
[18] The LORD is long suffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation. Numbers 14
[8] You shall not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth:
[9] You shall not bow down yourself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, Deuteronomy 5
In other words, don't make material possessions your god
Dave Volek Added Mar 2, 2018 - 1:21pm
I actually found those verses, but it seems to me there was one with seven generations.
My great-grandfather fought for the Austrians in WW1. Before the battle started, his entire unit surrendered to the Russians, and he spent two years in a Russian POW camp. He came back a broken man--and I often wonder how much of my dysfunctional nature came from that experience.
But hear's what I get from those quotes. Transgressions and false gods are observable from your children's perspective. If they see you doing it, they are more likely to absorb that nature as well. Then they will pass it on to their children. According to the quotes, it takes about 3 or 4 generations to dilute the effects of dysfunctional parenting.
Maybe there is an article to write about this.
Frosty Wooldridge Added Mar 3, 2018 - 9:00am
Dave, thank you for this wakeup call for those who hurl names and other negatives at other writers.  I've been a nationally syndicated columnist for 20 years.  I write on human overpopulation driven by immigration here in the USA and around the world. It's amazing how others turn facts into name calling.  Numbers into racism.  Realities into...and the list goes on.  One dude in WB called me Frosty Woodhead, for starters.  So petty, so beneath anyone with an IQ over room temperature.  Then, of course, the tried and true word: 'racist'.  I love that one. It shows the writer lacks facts, so he or she uses names meant to hurt, disgrace or otherwise degrade.  I don't have time for any of it.  My integrity remains my shield against such ugliness.  Life good and I write on!  You, too. Thank you. fw
Dave Volek Added Mar 3, 2018 - 9:32am
I have read a few of your columns, and it's safe to say that we don't agree on many things. But I like the way you brought in a "controversial" article on racism. I thought you presented some issues that needed to be addressed. And you did it in a way that a discerning reader could recognize the good points you were trying to make.
Unfortunately, non-discerning readers would turn your article into troll food.
Congrats on being a columnist. Unfortunately in this world of polarization, it is doubtful my perspectives would ever find a reliable audience. I offend both the liberals and conservatives.
mark henry smith Added Mar 3, 2018 - 1:19pm
Dave, we have a president who offends both liberals and conservatives, his enemies, his friends, his closest confidants, calls his attorney general Mr. Magoo, which is kinda funny, but he says it nastily.
I think what people wants is to be entertained and they're willing to take a little offense to get it. It's a balancing act, like that guy on The Ed Sullivan Show who used to balance spinning plates on sticks. No, he can't balance another plate. Not another. And another. Politics, writing, religion, it's really all about balancing spinning plates on sticks.
Sorry about your great-grandfather. It's sort of like the security guard who didn't go into the school. My relatives were all pacifists being Mennonites. But then some became Methodists and they just became confused, like my dad. He would fight, but you could tell his heart wasn't in it.  
Ray Joseph Cormier Added Mar 3, 2018 - 1:37pm
And the angel said to them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
The last part is what humans have abandoned. There is a lack of Peace and Good Will, the subject of this post.
Dave Volek Added Mar 3, 2018 - 6:14pm
Trump has been great for the media industry. Every media outlet has more advertising revenue than it did three years ago. The media have a vested interest in keeping this guy in office. Talk about your conflict of interest!
Government by the TDG will be in the background of people's lives. I'm not sure what the media is going to do, but it sure will be different than today. 
Jeff Michka Added Mar 4, 2018 - 6:50pm
Congrats on being a columnist-yEAH, THAT BUYS fROSTY A PASS TO FEAR MONGER AND PROMOTE HATE.  We've got enough of that, and don't need to bicycle through 6 continents to do it, learning nothing on the route.  That's my opinion.  I don't fear Muslims, Frosty does.   
Mustafa Kemal Added Mar 5, 2018 - 1:26am
"I offend both the liberals and conservatives."
thats a good sign
( but Im not really sure what a liberal or a conservative is these days)
anyone who gets offended needs to be punished,
David Montaigne Added Mar 18, 2018 - 11:34pm
Dave, keep writing what you believe and let the world worry about whether they believe it with you or not.  If other people show they don't merit your time to read their comments then don't.  Your attitude seems pretty healthy to me.
Ray Joseph Cormier Added Mar 19, 2018 - 7:25am
The Vice President of the United States was so offended by my words spoken through a sound system so powerful, it reverberated against the windows of the Hotel where he was staying, he gave me the finger.
I've wondered what Senator Bob Dole and the others were laughing about hearing the same words that got the VP so PO'd?
Jeff Michka Added Mar 26, 2018 - 7:07pm
Frosty touts himself: My integrity remains my shield against such ugliness.  Life good and I write on!  You, too. Thank you.-Yeah, that's it Frosty, You've gone on and on about how wonderful and "blameless" you are, but rail against illegals and legals here in the states, hiding behind"I'm worried about law and order."  No, if you get a bunch of bigots and racists reading your column, it's "mission accomplished."  Muslims must be out to get ya' Frosty, right?

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