August 18, 2002
Hi. I've been away from this material for a while, and I've found the
break so refreshing, that I think I'll make it permanent, soon. Circa
1998, when this site first went up, there was a solid reason to write
pages like this, and put real time into them.
Maybe there still is, but lately, I've begun to wonder. As I've
encountered people offline, more and more I've found a recognition of what
a joke the vast bulk of the Internet is, and an awareness of just how much
dishonesty and backbiting politics goes into making the rumors one hears.
To be sure, there are still people online who will treat those rumors as
dogma, but let's face it, the people one meets there today tend to be the
dregs of society, with little to offer and no power to speak of.
Given this reality, there isn't really much left to fight for, in this
arena. I'll leave the
Fred Cherry Story up for
laughs, as a momento of a time gone by. I'll fix some of the pages that I
put together back when I was first learning HTML, because I know that they
are invisible in some browsers. At least, I will if I can. (There have
been some technical problems, lately). But add to this story? I don't
think so. I have too many other places to be and too many better things
What did I learn from all of this? If you read through the story,
you'll come to an elaborate suggestion as to
how Usenet could have been made better. I won't say that this
suggestion was wrong, but it was most certainly incomplete, because it
left out the most important point of all, and it's a really simple one:
Universally accessible, widely known forums like Usenet may
be useful for raising awareness of the existence of online resources, but
they should never be used to build social networks. Social and networking
oriented forums should recruit their membership offline, face to
Use the open mailing lists and Usenet to let people know that you are
there to be found, but if somebody wants to hook up with you or your
group, make him seek you out in the real world, in the kind of real world
places that people with the interests and attitudes you seek would enjoy
being. Yes, you can get a lot of warm bodies into a party by posting a
notice online. You can also get your apartment trashed by a group of
hostile idiots who have nothing to say to you, or each other. Who needs it?
The online world grew out of a reaction to the gratuitously unpleasant
social scene of the early and mid 1990s. This was understandable. Not so
long ago, much of America was a place where you could end up in a fist
fight, merely because somebody knew what you "really meant" when you said
"good morning", and wasn't going to take that out of you, you (fill in the
epithet of your choice). I won't say that there isn't any of that free
floating rage around today, in 2002. But there's a lot less of it, and,
unlike the online world which seems to be stuck in 1992, the real world
has established, as its norm, an unwillingness to be accepting of that
kind of behavior.
Today, instead of seeing the Internet as a refuge from a deranged real
world, one might rightly seek the real world as being a refuge from the
deranged reality of the Internet. Why not seek it? The real world is a
much healthier place to be. Don't see the bulk of the Internet as a
refuge that has been lost, see it as a cesspool that has caught most of
the c**p we used to have to step in, when we stepped out our doors.
And I must say, the sun has been looking awfully nice, lately.
Welcome to the (not so slightly) relocated CabalWatch.
This part of my site focuses on the strangeness - generally unpleasant -
that I've encountered on Usenet. If you've ever felt swayed by the reality
of a group consensus there, because you feel that it reflects the outcome
of years of reasoned discussion - consider this a testimonial to the
contrary. Once you see how these groups actually work, you can't help
but see that reason is the one thing that rarely makes an appearance, and
when it is seen, brings waves of harassment and abuse upon the one who
dared to engage in it. Soon, only the village idiots remain.
A good illustration of this can be found here, along with a little
documented background on one of the shadier figures of Usenet, one Mr. Fred
Cherry, and one of the more pompously absurd
Skirvin. This will become part
of "Rabble without a Cause" when it goes up. Given the harassment that
I've come to expect from Tim's crowd, you definitely want to read this before trying to e-mail me.
Here is a point of view about where this not so fair city is
headed, in an old article that wasn't
entirely well liked. The truth rarely is. This followed, after wave of
wave of outraged bleating from some of the sheep in one of the
newsgroups, resulting from my suggestion that life here, might leave something to be desired, real
freedom having been socially engineered out of existence for many of
us. This lead to the usual braindead Bush-era cliches about EQ, to which I
posted a rebuttal - one that someone should
have made years ago. "The society that makes life repressive or miserable
for its most potentially productive citizens is destroying its own
future. The society that does so for its youth won't last long enough to
have to worry about anything else." Pretty radical, huh? As we shall see,
when I flesh this out with some material I have in storage right now, back
in the Golden Age of Political Correctness, it was.
Something to Offend Everyone!
On a slightly different note, here is a long overdue response, originally in the
Chicago-Scene web forum, to the popular defense of gold-digging, that
equates it with the practice of seeking a physically attractive mate, as
if honest desire were on a moral plane with prostitution.
Common Sense should need no defense, but, sad to say, every once in a
while it will.
Censorship by obscurement
You are a rare individual, in at least one sense, if not others. You
were actually able to find your way here. Most people can't.
Throughout this page, I talk about the way in which the Cabal tries to
win, in spite of the weakness of its points by keeping its opposition
from being heard.
Well, some things never change. Here's a little something for you to
try. Try finding this site, or any of the pages on it, in the search
engines. I'll bet you can't. Not that this is surprising. Pages critical
of the Cabal have been vanishing right and left from the indices. In
theory, they're still up. But if one's potential audience is denied the
opportunity to know that one's page is there, how meaningful is that
alleged "freedom of expression"?
It's a simple trick to do this, really. All that one has to do, is mass
submit urls in the name of the webmaster of the site that one wishes to
render invisible. In the case of this site, the "coup de gras" was
delivered, by someone who submitted multiple copies of the help forums
at my old provider (Internet Trash) under every conceivable variant of
the Internet domain name. (www.internettrash.com, www.netgarbage.com, netjunk.com.
etc.) There are, in fact, 16 possible variants.
The response of far too many search engine staffs, when written to about this
problem? Dead, stony silence and no movement at all. So much for
professional responsibility and fair play.
So, the next time you decide to take the wisdom of the Net seriously,
because, hey, if it didn't make sense, then why would so many people agree
with it, ask yourself this. Just how much insight does it take to prevail
in an argument, if the other side isn't allowed the freedom to argue back?
The Cabal : Rule by Adolescents
"The Cabal? Isn't that a Conspiracy Theory?"
Sigh. No, it isn't, though some of the Cabal's very well known members
try to pretend that it is: Tim Skirvin and Chris Lewis would be two
examples. As far as I can tell, the term "Cabal" didn't even originate
with this group's opposition. I first saw the word, myself, in the
scribblings of some of the Cabal's supporters, and started using it myself
because it was already in widespread use.
Originally, most of us would have used the word "netcop". Here is what
happened, as near as I can tell. Back before there was ever such a thing
as the Internet, there was a subculture now called "The Digital
Underground". (Yes, there have even been some books written about it). It
was populated by these rather marginal characters who called themselves
"hackers". A hacker, in case you are one of the rare people who hasn't
heard of them, is a criminal who finds ways around computer security
systems, usually in order to be able to then vandalize the systems they
gain access to, in violation of federal law. (Though, if caught, they'll
often pretend that they were trying to break in "just out of curiosity, to
see if this could be done". Much like somebody being caught in a bank
vault at midnight, and saying that he just had a late night craving to go
enjoy some fine commercial architecture. "Check out the weld, man -
that's art!" Yeah. Uh, huh).
"But aren't the hacker godz a buncha
Maybe in an online fantasy world, but nowhere else.
These people were (and are) to serious computing what taggers are to
house painting - an adolescent nuisance that serious people wish would go
away. Like the taggers, hackers get their way just by being incredibly
persistent. To take the first case, the homeowner can't watch his garage
door 24 hours a day. He has a life to live, and work to do, none of which
will get done if he's spending his entire life watching out for possible
anti-social behavior on the part of random passers-by. This is one reason
why we have the police and systems of law. But imagine what a city would
look like if the police were taken out of the picture, the laws forgotten,
and the homeowners were told to handle it themselves in the name of some
vague DIY ("do it yourself") ethic. You'd end up with a slum, and that's
what much of the online world would become, very quickly.
You see, there's no way to win under a system like that, because unlike
the decent citizen who is doing something with his life, a criminal has
nowhere better to be, and he has all day to waste on this nonsense. The
only way the lone, unaided citizen can fight back is by matching the
criminal and wasting his entire day, too. But, if he does that, he can't
continue to make anything of his life. But, as the Internet developed, law
enforcement was scandalously slow about taking an interest in it, with the
result that a major communications medium developed in a "Wild West"
atmosphere, with lasting cultural consequences.
Much of the blame for this, arguably, should be laid at the door of
the Reagan administration which earned more than a little notoriety for
being "asleep at the switch", enforcing even existing laws in a manner
that was lax at best and an exercise in foot dragging civil disobedience
at worst, and for fighting against the introduction of new regulations
even in cases where regulation was clearly called for. Unfortunately for
the Internet, the 1980s, the age of Reagan, would be the time of its
inauspicious birth. How ironic, given the historical circumstances, that
the criminally under-regulated medium that resulted (in which even the most
basic laws regarding intellectual property rights and libel were
effectively tossed out the window) would eventually prove to be such a
shot in the arm for Political Correctness, a movement that Mr. Reagan and
his followers would have had little use for.
Back before the Internet came into existence, a hacker would have been
anything other than a folk hero. Wasting one's entire day on this kind of
anti-social garbage is not something that is likely to appeal to somebody
with any real social skills, and the resulting social isolation is
unlikely to foster the development of those skills. What company one will
find in the online community that results will develop those skills in a
sense, but in a very bad, counter-productive sense, much like gang
membership, albeit in a very wimpy gang. The word that would have been
used to describe a person like this would have been "d**k". Not nerd
(one of those will at least have an interesting inner life) and not wonk
(those people are not terminal cases), but d**k - the word reserved for
those who would be referred to as being "nature's mistake". The kid or,
even more pathetically, the man would have no social life, little
education, no career prospects, little to say that many would find very
interesting to hear, a grating and dishonorable character, bad personal
hygiene in many cases, and little (if any) appeal to the opposite sex.
"D**k" would be the kindest word such a person would likely hear, back in
the days before the Internet.
Now, stop and think about it. What is the one thing that a person like
that is going to want, more than anything else? Attention, the very thing
that real life has denied him. That, and maybe a lot of validation,
especially if it is not deserved. When the Internet appeared, this
habitually whiny pack of would-be thugs viewed it as being their own
personal property, in much the same way that a mugger will often feel
entitled to the wallet he is taking by force. It promised them the one
thing that they always wanted and had never had - attention.
The lack of effective governmental regulation and protection of rights
online had created a power vacuum into which this well-established (albeit
dysfunctional) subculture was well-equipped to step. Their knowledge of
how to sabotage computer systems was an effective tool for harassing users
and providers who refused to cave into their unreasonable and frequently
childish demands and, as I've pointed out, law enforcement wasn't anywhere
to be found.
They had already networked, even before the establishment of the
Internet, so fearlessly in this lawless environment as to be holding
hacker conventions! Can you imagine there being a pickpocket's
convention, or a grifter's soiree? Obviously not, because undercover cops
would be in attendance taking notes, passing them along to whoever was
investigating the crimes being boasted about. But in a real tribute to
just how lax law enforcement had become, computer criminals were able to
network in public, in conspicuous gatherings held in hotel convention
rooms, doing so without fear! As they largely do to this day (in
April 2003), as one can easily discover using any major search engine.
End result: the fledgling communications medium found itself dominated
by a well-networked subculture consisting of socially challenged criminals
craving attention. Strange as it may seem, this did not lead to a very
uplifting moral or intellectual atmosphere.
Today, in 2003, the Cabal may seem to be becoming less of an issue,
because of the increasingly decentralized nature of the Internet that has
resulted from the introduction of the World Wide Web. Usenet, to be sure,
is no longer the only game in town, in the way that it was online before
the mid 1990s, and dominance of that now outdated medium no longer means
as much as it once did. However, the attitudes that era made into
entrenched ones and the networks created linger, so this is still worth
Like I said, our members of the digital underground came to take an
unjustifiable proprietary interest in the Internet, which back then was
Usenet, for the most part. They started viewing newsgroups as being their
own personal property, and started believing that they had the right to
tell others what could or could not be posted in "their" newsgroups. This,
they did completely untroubled by their total absence of anything
resembling legitimate authority. They started referring to compliance with
their ever-fluid whims as "Netiquette", an ironic reference to etiquette
on the part of people whose table manners didn't even extend as far as a
willingness to bathe regularly. Here, even in the absence of system
intrusion, the fact of their previous networking worked to their
advantage, as they were able to quickly mobilize and massively harass
anybody who said "no" to them. Providers would refer to their phones
"ringing off the hook", and their boxes filling with obscene hate mail or
simply being mailbombed (so much mail sent to them that their diskspace
would flood), while thousands of faxes would pour in.
Dissenting users (and those close to them) would see similar treatment,
or worse. I could tell you the story of how my mother spent some of her
last days being bombarded with late night death threats over the phone
until the police departments of two cities got involved, put traps on her
phone and tracked down some of these leaders. Why? Because somebody
didn't like some of the opinions I expressed and was such a coward that
when he decided to reply with harassment, he didn't even have the guts
needed to harass me, but went after my parents instead, and got his
friends to join in.
This became normative behavior online, which shouldn't be that much of
a shock, I suppose, considering who was organizing our virtual world : a
criminal subculture, which was gradually pushing out the original
professional and academic users of the medium. These, and the credibility
that came with genuine academic accomplishment, they greatly resented.
Nothing terribly deep, it was jealousy plain and simple, combined with
that nearly obsessive desire for the attention they could never
legitimately earn. If the reader is given the choice between hearing a
high school dropout's ideas about Quantum Mechanics (to choose a popular
topic online) or those of a Nobel laureate, under normal conditions which
will he usually choose? The underground had a vested interest in driving
the legitimate users of the Internet underground, if not offline
altogether, and did not hesitate to pursue that interest.
One of the things that worked in its favor as it tried to do so,
perversely enough, was its own pervasive lack of socialization, and
resulting anger managment problems. As I pointed out during
the course of the Fred Cherry
Story, the online mob was so volatile that one could end up being
attacked and harassed for any reason, or for no reason at all, to such
an extent as to completely disrupt one's life. The very
unpredictability of the response made a difference, because it meant
that there was no such thing as sitting safely on the sidelines.
Anything, anything at all you posted could make you into the next
victim. The only way for a regular poster to make himself safe from
this kind of harassment was for him to find allies who would back him
up, in a hurry.
And there was our already mobilised digital underground, ready to reap
the perverse rewards of its own unpredictably bad behavior, because where
could one find a larger network of allies with time to burn? They became
the nucleus for an ever growing social network of people who had learned
what was becoming the price of acceptance online : mind your place, and
join in with the others when they joined in on the attack, lest others not
back you up when you come under attack.
Mob rule never resulted in justice offline, so one shouldn't be too
surprised at the notion that it never will do so online, either. And yet,
many were, in part because the ignorant over-extension of the argument
against price supports that I had mentioned in the
introduction to this section had grown into a widespread superstition
that social trends always were a reflection of what made people happy, an
illusion that even the faintest familiarity with history should shatter.
But then, studying history was no longer in fashion, any more than
studying psychology or philosophy were. These were subjects that did not
lend themselves to the sound bites one can easily squeeze out when one is
being shouted down in real life or being quoted out of context
They're also subjects that come in handy when one is doing the one
thing all tyrants great and small, fearsome and pathetic alike fear the
most: engaging in social criticism. But then, during the early 1990s we
already had the elder President Bush arguing during his first campaign
that adopting a "don't worry, be happy" mentality was an integral part
of being a good American, a nonsensical point which he would reinforce
during the first Gulf War, when dissent with the Republican party line was
viewed almost as a form of treason. Thus, given the power of the
presidential bully pulpit, broader social trends were put in place
that worked to the advantage of the lunatic cabal that was developing
online, as the very art of listening itself was becoming
unfashionable. Natural human laziness being what it is, once people
got in the habit of thinking of their lack of motivation in this
particular area as being a good thing, getting them out of the habit
became a long, difficult struggle, made all the more difficult by the
reality of an anti-intellectual environment in which shouting down a
social critic was viewed as being an honorable act, instead of a shameful
This left our online community members in the position of one who rows
with the wind, moving toward their goal with a swiftness which they could
never have hoped to have achieved on their own. But they did not achieve
it without compromise. While the old digital underground had been
extensively networked, it had never been completely unified. As one would
expect with any group of criminals, ethics were non-existent, and that
reality could not help but make for backstabbing, especially among a group
of people so eager for attention. One ended up with a group of competing
cliques, and harsh social results when one's clique was overwhelmed by a
larger ones, so, like any group of good demagogues, those building their
networks online played to the crowd, feeding as many egos as they could by
treating making their ill-conceived ideas into doctrine that none had
better question. And as a result, a system of cliques, each accustomed to
going along to get along, fell quickly into place.
Naturally, as one would expect with any grab bag of positions taken for
the purposes of political gain and social networking, glaring logical
inconsistencies resulted, as well as conflicts with what was easily
documentable truth, offline. Subcultures, by their very nature, tend to
have collective survival instincts - if they didn't, they wouldn't live
long enough to become subcultures. And the recognition of these
inconsistencies struck at the very heart of this growing subculture
online. That was a good thing, because the subculture was an unwholesome
one, but not a thing that the participants, as they followed their paths
of least resistence, would be likely to welcome. The dictate of the
societal survival instinct became a clear and obvious one - if the
recognition of inconsistencies is what threatens the subculture, then make
darn sure that people don't recognize inconsistencies where they are to be
found. And what is it that helps people recognize such things?
Why reason, of course. And so the natural anti-intellectualism which
the new subculture had inherited from its hacker underground roots was
only reinforced. This is the point that the "let the market take care of
it, don't worry, be happy" crowd never gets. As people follow what is, in
the immediate moment, the path of least resistence, the sort of social
equilibria that result, these social systems that persist because slight
changes in them tend to naturally undo themselves (much as a pendulum
hanging slightly off center will tend to move back toward the center), can
often be stable in spite of being very suboptimal - which is to say, in a
social sense, dysfunctional.
This is why revolutionary change is sometimes needed in any social
setting. But such change, like anything painful, is accepted only
reluctantly, and this is why free speech should not and must not be put to
a popular vote. But, in the market obsessed culture of the Reagan Bush
years, the fashion was to believe that everything should be left up to
"the market", and to forget the past failures of lassez faire to even
produce civilized results, much less good ones. So, no basis was left in
the mind of the mainstream for questioning the popular will or any aspect
of the trends that were developing. The results of this failure of
understanding were anything but democratic, online or off, as rhetorical
victory went, not to the person whose argument would leave the most people
freely persuaded, but to whichever faction could assemble a large
supporting mob the most quickly and keep its opposition's arguments from
being heard, or those dissenting with it from realising that they weren't
alone. In an environment in which minority opinions were viewed as being
unreasonable by definition, this allowed our censors to balloon their base
of support as the isolated dissidents, even if they had initially
outnumbered the mob, succumbed to perceived peer pressure and were picked
off, one by one.
Which, of course, has been the Cabal's style from day one, and the
strategy of the politically correct offline, for years.
What was arising online was a social order, albeit an illegitimate one,
operating with the mentality of a lynch mob. Like any social order it had
its rules, which, unlike a respectable one, it shifted frequently and
without warning. There was no "ex post facto" provision in
Netiquette, and non-participants who tried to compromise with it, as I had
along with the former rule
that one couldn't comment on a thread one hadn't posted in, would soon
find themselves burned as a new, contradictory rule which made as little
sense was tossed onto the table. Adding insult to injury, the netiquette
mavens would then comment on how little sense one's earlier action had
made, conveniently forgetting that it was a concession one had made to get
them off one's back in the first place! And hoping that the mob they
were playing to would forget it as well - and why not? They were playing
to an anti-intellectual mob, and the better educated people online were
usually the ones targeted. Anti-intellectualism is as much a form of
bigotry as is anything else, and as anybody who has ever had to deal with
bigotry knows firsthand, you can't win with a bigot. He remembers what he
wants to remember, and is consumed with contemptuous rage when you remind
him of the rest.
While an occasional concession to irrationality makes sense when
dealing with people who basically are reasonable (and want to be) and just
have a few quirks (or maybe are having a bad moment), it very much does
not make sense when dealing with the members of a mob. Remember the
ethics-free basis for conflict resolution we've seen out of them
- Check to see which side in the dispute seems to have the
strongest base of political support.
- Join what seems to be the stronger side, ie. the larger mob, so
that you will not become its next target
- If you guess wrong, and choose the smaller mob, don't even dream
of admitting that you were in the wrong (even if you were) because
that admission will live on in the archives and be dredged up later
by somebody who is attacking you. Stick with whichever side you
threw in with first, damn the torpedos, full speed ahead and hope
that your side has allies they can pull in from elsewhere.
What one encounters when dealing with these people isn't a discussion.
There is no attempt to get at the truth going on in these forums. This, as
we have said, is war and the staking out of turf. Who wants an ally who
will abandon him on the battlefield? Nor will one's honesty win one any
In real life, those who admit when they are wrong may be respected for
the character they show by doing so, in part because the people watching
them do so have had no choice but to occasionally admit to the same
themselves in the past, so who among us is fit to judge somebody on the
basis that he has sometimes been in the wrong? The presence of a generally
recognized set of standards of behavior makes the recognition of this fact
But throw those standards out the window and replace them with a purely
adversarial system in which might is seen as making right, and what are
you left with? A mob that will find it all too easy to convince itself, at
least on a surface level, that it has never done wrong, and maybe even
that it can't do wrong. Having adopted such an absurdly arrogant stance,
and lied to itself often enough to sort of believe in its position, the
mob will see nothing odd about demanding perfection from others, and about
using a totally unrelated incident from years back as a club to beat their
opposition over the head with in the course of an argument today. In real
life, that practice is called "digging up dirt" and is viewed with scorn.
Online, it's just somebody's way of saying "hello".
Consequently, the online mob is left with the instincts of a pack of
... wolves? No, wolves will take care of their own. These people, in the
absence of outside enemies, will continue to cement their own individual
positions by joining in on an attack of whichever of their own appears to
have the least back-up, much like a group of rats will cannibalize its
weaker members. This, then, is the great social accomplishment of the
deregulation era on the Internet - it has helped man get in touch with his
inner rodent. One does well to keep this in mind, because wherever one
is, online or off, knowing what kind of animals one is dealing with can
save one a lot of grief.
What happens when one holds out a hand of friendship to an aggressive
rat? One is likely to get bitten. The only sensible thing to do is to make
it clear to the rat that you are absolutely prepared to be nasty back. The
same principle applies when dealing with a politically correct online mob.
Trying to understand their feelings,
and soothe their nerves, as one might do so with one's friends in a healthy
social setting, will not produce a positive response.
One's conciliatory stance will be reacted to as if it were weakness,
and only embolden the members of the mob to do worse. The only paying
proposition is to stand one's ground on principle, do it aggressively and
feelings be damned. Which in the short run, of course, plays into the
Cabal's hands just slightly less than does playing along with these rules
that the members of the Cabal make up as they go along, and demand the
rest of us play along with, because they can then play on the feeling of
victimization of their mob which, being used to having its ego fed and its
whims indulged, will now find that it has just been told that its culture
is a large, steaming pile of c**p, and won't be happy about this. Even so,
one should persist, because nothing good is going to be happening in the
short run, anyway, and in the long run the mob might not see the light of
reason, but it will give up once it loses the illusion that it will
prevail by screaming loudly and persistently.
The ring leaders, those who went out to flex their muscles and impose
their will on what was supposed to be a free and unhampered public
communications channel by enforcing compliance with the rules they
were making up, came to be known as "netcops". The "Cabal" is their social
network. It is a tribute to the suggestibility of the remaining online
public of Usenet that when some refer to this observation as a "conspiracy
theory", that they aren't laughed offline. How could one manage to grow up
anywhere without knowing what a clique is? The Cabal is nothing
more than a clique, able to grow to an extreme size because of the rapid
and globe spanning nature of online communications, and the ease of
reaching large numbers of people in an interactive way using the Net.
As the experience of Political Correctness showed in the 1990s, this
can be potentially dangerous, leading to the formation of exactly the kind
of "majority faction" the writers of the Federalist papers warned about,
in which the mob is swept away by its passions and individual freedoms are
trampled underfoot. Observe what happened to the freedom of expression
of those with unpopular opinions during the Clinton era. Campus speech
codes, people being fired from jobs, etc ... with most of the population
voicing little objection. As little objection as they did when the
supporters of both Bush administrations did the exact same thing to
anti-war demonstrators. Why is what was happening on Usenet and
similar place important? Think Behaviorism. To repeat a behavior is
to reinforce it. The bad habits being made in places like Usenet carry
over to the rest of life. As one advocate of conformity once put it
"don't sweat the little stuff", adding, in a careless moment of
self-disclosure that "it's all little stuff", ie. that one shouldn't
care about anything. But if civility is able to survive at all, it is
precisly because we do care, and care about it passionately.
And that is why I am anti-Cabal, and anti-Netiquette. "Don't make any
posts out of keeping with the tone of the group"? Please. Those are the
very posts that make the group worth having in the first place.
April 27, 2003
For old times' sake, here is a footnote that was attached to my
announcement that this page wasn't going to be updated until 2003 ...
"As you read the first page of the Fred Cherry story, I think
that you'll sense that I was having fun writing that. But, the rest, I
really wasn't, and I couldn't get away from this chore quickly enough.
It's a just protest that I lodge, and its my side of stories long
circulated (and lied about, by others), but it's not very good writing.
I'm going to need a little distance, before I can have enough of a sense
of humor about this material, to make it an enjoyable read.
Until then, please take this as a testimonial to the nature of
the Usenet experience. Definitely not a recommendation."
Do I have enough distance now, in 2003? Good question. Mr.Cherry isn't
encountering the same willfully credulous people who enabled him, back
during the 1990s, so while he is as obnoxious now as he was then, when
talking about what he used to be up to, laughing about it has become a lot
easier. But then, Mr.Cherry was hardly politically correct, and his
avoidance of a political fall always had been a juggling act to begin
with. Once the bad word got out, it was all over for him.
Skirvin and the Cabal are another story. The Digital Underground's
ethic of censorship, harassment and backstabbing hasn't changed one whit,
and far from rejecting it, the rest of the online community only seems to
be reinforcing it. As questionable as their conduct and as vacuous as
their ideas have been, they seem to be without opposition in the online
community. I'm not going to get particularly worked up about that fact,
considering the meager nature of the prize they've won, but it does put a
cap on the level of humor to be found in any stories about these
Let's see if another seven years changes that. But even if it does,
somebody else will be writing that story, because I'm tired of the
subject. Tired enough that once I've finished writing the pages I
already have planned about events that have already occured at the time
of this writing, I won't be writing about the online community any
more, for the same reason I won't be telling you any stories about
my recent barhopping experiences. I would know better than to look in
To Which CabalWatch Belongs
Time to go back to where you were on one of my pages or to
Finding your way back should be relatively easy. Satisfaction is but a click away, more or less, depending
on where you entered my sites. Where was that, again?
Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, J. Dunphy. All rights
reserved. No portion of this site may be reproduced without the express prior content of the author. So there.