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czarina
Has Achieved Nirvana
Picture of piqué
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by DeweyCMH:
Hi all. No,that post will not be deleted.


Only saw after I posted that you are here. Thank you for writing that. I am sure it is cathartic for the many who were abused by him.


--------------------------------
fear is the thief of dreams

 
Posts: 20630 | Registered: 18 May 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Does This Avatar Make My Butt Look Big?

Minor Deity
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I do wonder if there would have been the forum split at all without his influence.
 
Posts: 19568 | Location: A cluttered house in Metro D.C. | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Has Achieved Nirvana
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Thank you, Dwain.
I removed what I posted when I was trying to be nice.
Dwain was nicer than I would have been.


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""The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits" -Albert Einstein

 
Posts: 24531 | Location: Still living at 9000 feet in the High Rockies of Colorado | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Foregoing Practicing to Post
Minor Deity
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Thank you, PD, for reprinting Dwain’s post.

It has been so many years (decades?) since I visited TNCR that it’s hard to remember the level of abuse (thankfully). I do remember feeling it was necessary to leave. Maybe it’s different now; I know that several members here are comfortable over there too.

Dwain’s assessment of Larry brought back that toxic atmosphere for me. It’s been a pleasure not to have to deal with it.


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“It's hard to win an argument with a smart person. It's damn near impossible to win an argument with a stupid person." -- Bill Murray

 
Posts: 13082 | Location: The outer burrows | Registered: 27 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Has Achieved Nirvana
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He was a very ambivalent human being. I agree.
 
Posts: 23356 | Registered: 31 March 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Minor Deity
Picture of Amanda
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I was there observing and horrified from beginning to - now.

I still wonder about some targets who were sickeningly attacked. There were a few who struggled conscientiously to turn the other cheek, resolved to convert him.

Finally, after nauseating damage, they reluctantly departed. Where are they today and to what extent, if at all, have they healed from their intensive abuse?

What I most wonder, though, is (as with most bullies) how did he get away with it? Why didn't anyone stand up to him, defending his victims and pointing out his wrong-doing?

He wasn't the only one, on the attack squad, but he was still the main player. It reminded me of the worst of elementary grades and Jr High Years. (I don't know about then, but nowadays bullying like that leads heartbreakingly often to suicide).

What gives bullies their power? Most often their peers don't really like them as people, yet rarely does anyone point a finger at their wrongdoing, calling a spade a spade.

Same with Larry. I don't recall anyone defending the victims and/or forcefully opposing him (the possible exception being criticizing his occasional overtly racist "humor").

Surely, if the witnesses who inwardly objected to his shocking abuse had spoken up, they would have been in the majority. It's just such expressed disapproval of bullying that can corner the bully, calling a halt to their cruelty through shame and even ridicule.

When it's occurring on a high political level, such bullying can be understood to a degree because of the power that may intimidate the silent witnesses. How, though, could this small-time bully on a little internet forum continue his reign of terror for long years (leaving isolated those gentler souls who often tried to defend themselves by "taking the high road"? Sickeningly unsuccessful, as we know! Barf)

Many who disapproved, just left the bloodied arena in favor of founding a new forum (hence WTF) where abuse was forbidden. Why, though, did no one - neither political allies nor simply standers-by (inwardly disgusted) - oppose his rare level of targeted malice?

Could we have been intimidated by this somewhat sociopathic person (nonetheless himself, isolated)? Personally, I shied away from criticizing him because I knew I was apt to become a new target myself. Were others afraid of his turning on them? Is that how he kept up his unique cruelty, absent a majority opposition - humanely if not politically? Or did others somehow enjoy and/or approve of his tactics?

Surely he would have been stopped in his tracks if he had been criticized by a majority opposition (from both political sides, on the grounds of shared ethical objections).

It was actually unfair to him not to be confronted by the frank disapproval he elicited widely, thus giving him the opportunity to represent himself differently - rather than leaving behind the trail of tears he did. I don't think he ever realized he hadn't succeeded at creating the macho image he aimed at: rich, triumphant, virile, witty, tough.

(No coincidence he never allowed a photograph to succeed him, even after his ultimate departure.)


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The most dangerous word in the language is "obvious"

 
Posts: 13962 | Location: PA | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
"I've got morons on my team."

Mitt Romney
Minor Deity
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Larry ... change? Surely you jest.

I called him on occasion, but pointing out the pointlessness of his crude comments seemed ... pointless after a while. If I chided him he would respond in a PM with something like, "if you only knew ..." He was very secure and self-assured in his behavior. A rebuke got at best a very temporary ceasefire.
 
Posts: 11657 | Location: Williamsburg, VA | Registered: 19 July 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Minor Deity
Picture of Amanda
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quote:
Originally posted by Piano*Dad:
Larry ... change? Surely you jest.



I don't mean he would have intrinsically changed, PD, but that he would have altered his self-presentation if he had realized how much he was perceived radically different from how he imagined.

Not that such a person/people was available, but an alternate Larry only with a liberal perspective could have squelched him. Someone much richer (and demonstrably so), more successful, handsome with a gorgeous spouse (not afraid to put both on display photographically), and perhaps most important, genuinely witty.

Successful ridicule could have gone a LONG way towards - dare I say? - embarrassing him?

Alternatively, if his cruel "humor" and braggadocio had been roundly criticized on the forum (a majority, as I said!), I'm sure it would have had a major impact.


--------------------------------
The most dangerous word in the language is "obvious"

 
Posts: 13962 | Location: PA | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Pinta & the Santa Maria
Has Achieved Nirvana
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This has certainly been an interesting read. I didn't receive the focussed abuse from Larry et al. that others did, but what I did get was bad enough. My decision to step away had as much to do with the general vibe of the original forum as it had to do with any particular set of individuals. What I've read here rings true to me in many ways, just not limited to Larry. I will admit that Larry did seem to be the ringleader, or alpha dog as I'm sure he would prefer.

So to Amanda's point, I recall that people *did* step up and call bad behavior, but it was met with additional, pointed attacks and derision. Again, not just from Larry. So my person choice to leave fell into the "life's too short" category, mainly. I had been looking forward to an open dialogue, an agree to disagree focus when necessary, but discussion based at least initially on facts and later something like "based on these facts, I now hold this opinion..." Instead, it was a bunch of flame-throwing, name-calling, bullying and ganging up against anyone whose political views differed from theirs. I seem to recall getting several PMs that were pretty upsetting.

I participate in these forums for enjoyment, education, and entertainment. I was getting none of that--in fact, the opposite. So I left. I don't recall if I had one of those dramatic "I'm leaving now, I hope you're sorry" type posts, but if I did, and from this perspective decades later I am embarrassed. Big Grin

Dwain, I don't know if you're reading these posts but, if so, I will admit to lumping you in with the conservative unreasonables*, which obviously is no longer appropriate and perhaps wasn't even at the time when you held more conservative values. It has kept me from interacting or commenting on Dwain's FB posts, beyond the occasional "like." I think I need to reevaluate.

*I feel compelled to point out that for me, the terms conservative and unreasonable aren't redundant. There are reasonable conservatives. There are unreasonable conservatives. Same with liberals. My memory is that the vast majority of unreasonables on the previous fora were conservative. YMMV.
 
Posts: 34808 | Location: West: North and South! | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
czarina
Has Achieved Nirvana
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posted Hide Post
quote:
Why didn't anyone stand up to him, defending his victims and pointing out his wrong-doing?


my recollection is that many of us did.

quote:
So to Amanda's point, I recall that people *did* step up and call bad behavior, but it was met with additional, pointed attacks and derision.


Yes, lots of people did. And it soon was clear that if you wrestle with pigs... It didn't change anything about Larry. Or any of the others.

I myself tried a patient and respectful calling on the carpet. Larry usually would have a civil dialogue with me behind the scenes, maybe it was because we'd had a cordial relationship pre-PianoWorld. I never felt traumatized or persecuted, though many other people clearly did.

And you may remember that Larry was given a fair chance to participate here at WTF and finally had to be given the boot.


--------------------------------
fear is the thief of dreams

 
Posts: 20630 | Registered: 18 May 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Does This Avatar Make My Butt Look Big?

Minor Deity
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Yeah, his being banned was quite something.

I will never understand the need to run around the beach kicking sand in people’s faces and deliberately causing trouble with folks who just wanted to be left alone on the beach. And persisting until you are no longer permitted on the beach.

It’s pathological behavior. I get the sense that folks here didn’t go over to the other beach and try to drag it down for sport. I’m kind of proud of how we conducted ourselves, but then again, I wasn’t on the other beach so maybe it happened and I just missed it.

You know, it is inevitable that this little group will someday drift away from one another. It’s a shame, as these are the longest-standing virtual friendships I have had. I wish there was another suitable group to which we could migrate, but I’m not aware of one.

Oh, well.
 
Posts: 19568 | Location: A cluttered house in Metro D.C. | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Minor Deity
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When I asked why he hadn't been opposed by "anyone" that word, unqualified, defeated the meaning I was trying to explore and I rescind it with apologies.

Yes, it was a long saga and certainly individuals did occasionally call him out to varying degrees. I can't remember any specifics. (It IS interesting to consider that unless Frank finally purged the archives, all this is STILL online though perhaps in the Cloud now!)

What I will always regret, especially for the sake of those who were tortured (no other word will suffice) is twofold:

1) I'd like to have seen now and then, a real pigpile in indignation at the sadistic abuse taking place. Translation - his getting an outcry from all sides (not counting those allies who couldn't be rehabilitated). Just a clear and firmly expressed majority, when he went over the line in inflicting gratuitous pain. (NOT in the "sinking to their level", covered with mud, pig-wrestling sense.)

Yes, there were single individuals speaking up occasionally - usually when that person had just reached a breaking point (though taking pains to articulate their condemnation civilly). One at a time, it just couldn't have the same effect on the villain as a telling majority doing the same. I keep thinking being pilloried can make a valuable point to the otherwise incorrigible.

2) My most disturbing recollection of all the abuse, is the positive crucifixion of one or two members who for some reason, were singled out for torture for a matter of years. They struggled to maintain their dignity (and as I said, to even turn the other cheek - both were sincerely Christian in a quiet way), but one could sense their faith and hard-won integrity, crumbling in a way. At least, that's how I felt.

I have absolutely zero recall of anyone standing up for them (including me, apart from PMs), and am still haunted by concern for what that vicious abuse did to them. When they finally dropped out (one by one), I felt a whooshing sense of failure overwhelming them - and in a way, also the humanity of what had once been a group of (music loving) friends. (Suddenly picturing the violent scenes from "Lord of the Flies" - maybe Frank should have stepped in sooner.)

It's impossible not to remember the few stalwarts who backed him up throughout (no names, of course), not even counting the conspicuously silent. (All of which makes it all the harder, to picture an organized revolt against the ringleader, as I've fantasied here.)

I am still struggling to reconcile my painful recollection of the abuse we witnessed (mostly unprotested), because the silence that prevailed was so deafening. It was really sick. It's that silence that deafens me now. I continue to feel an abiding sadness and confusion at that silence, even emanating from admired friends. Maybe there was a kind of ethos prevailing in favor of "not getting involved", not aggravating the antagonisms. Thinking of non-intervention as the adult thing to do, in honor of Free Speech.

I don't know. It doesn't seem that way to me. It's ironic to look back at all this, almost decades ago, as the beginning of the polarization in the whole country - the lighted fuse being the contested Bush/Gore Election. That's what divided us and as things evolved, all the rest of the "now it's history" events that brought us to the present day. It sure has gotten hotter and hotter in every sense! Frowner


--------------------------------
The most dangerous word in the language is "obvious"

 
Posts: 13962 | Location: PA | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
"I've got morons on my team."

Mitt Romney
Minor Deity
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quote:
It’s pathological behavior. I get the sense that folks here didn’t go over to the other beach and try to drag it down for sport. I’m kind of proud of how we conducted ourselves, but then again, I wasn’t on the other beach so maybe it happened and I just missed it.


Nope. Didn't happen. The core identity over there was too strong for a Lefty Larry torching people for fun to have had any success.
 
Posts: 11657 | Location: Williamsburg, VA | Registered: 19 July 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
(self-titled) semi-posting lurker
Minor Deity
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It's funny how online forums evolve... When I first joined Piano World, the Adult Beginners Forum was like utopia compared to the other forums at PW. People were so nice to each other, it was like a completely different world, and I don't mean compared to the old Coffee Room, but even compare to the Pianist Corner etc.

And ABF stayed like that for a long time. Well, recently there are a few posters who are just pedantic *ssholes. Nothing bad enough to get them banned, but bad enough to change the feel of the forum as a whole. ABF is still a pretty nice place compared to other places, but it's not as nice as it used to be. And I think that serves as an example how one individual can really have a huge, negative impact, which then brings out the ugly in a few others, and before you know it, the whole thing is a toxic sh*thole. ABF isn't to point yet, and hopefully the moderation and general policies will keep it from devolving that much. But it remains to be seen.

Recently, there are a few members of ABF who are enrolling in college-level music programs (one in a particularly famous program). They've been sharing some of their experiences in a few long-running threads. But last week, one poster in particular (who I have decided never to engage with again) kind of laid into one of the members who's in a college program. Long story short, she panicked (in particular because the program and her teacher were named in the thread) and ended up getting Frank to delete the whole thread.

Since I'm getting ready to start my college jazz piano course, I wanted to keep in touch with the other members who are doing similar things, so I made a private/hidden FB group and a few of us joined. (And I will probably delete this part of this post later btw)

And the person who is the toxic influence at ABF is still there, and likely will remain there.

It didn't occur to me right away, but that process was like a mini-version of how this forum (WTF) came to be.

Which is all to say, internet forums are a funny thing, and evolve in funny ways.

Back to Cindy's comment, I would like the Well-Tempered Forum to continue until we are all dead. Please and thank you.

WhoMe


--------------------------------
My piano recordings at Box.Net: https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u

 
Posts: 16972 | Location: not in Japan any more | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Does This Avatar Make My Butt Look Big?

Minor Deity
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I wish I still played. I would have nothing to say at ABF.

But I remember it being really special back in the day. Thanks for the reminder, SK.
 
Posts: 19568 | Location: A cluttered house in Metro D.C. | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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