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Friday, January 13, 2006

Hey, now, you're an all star

Someone who is almost certainly my old buddy Gandalf the Grey writes to me today to take issue with my Memorial To Carol Kalish.

You may want to read my article first, if you haven't already. Here's someone who disagrees with me, anyway. Something new for my blogs:

This message is for Angelfire.

I just said that to get your attention and see how you'd react.

I'm not going to make any assumptions about you as a person or make any guesses about what kind of a life you once lead at the tender age of 19 or what occupation that you work in now. I'll just say that people who are as dismissive of competitive, ambitious, and intentionally reactionary people tend to be people who have had limited exposure to the world of Business, if not short-term employment in this world.

I have yet to meet anyone with a nice, sweet disposition attain any level of success in a cut-throat Economic environment, especially women. If anything, there's a conventional wisdom that states a woman has to work twice as hard, be twice as ruthless, and show twice as much determination to suceed, to move half as fast up the corporate ladder as a man. Being the son of a woman who devoted 25 years of her life to the Retail field, I can personally testify to that.

This disjointed introduction to my response to your heated "eulogy" to Carol Kalish is an attempt to understand the hostile sentiments that you still harbor towards her, which leads me to Your First Encounter with "The Bitch Queen" Kalish:

1. While I have no doubt that you sincerely believe that anyone who takes pleasure in disrupting The Status Quo through playful acts of malignancy is nothing more than a villain and a scoundrel, let me say that some of the most interesting and productive people I've ever met exhibited those traits more often with people that made them feel comfortable than they do with people that they meet casually and subconsciously decide that they're "not worth knowing." This is called "letting your hair down." Some of the most stimulating conversations that I've had were in the form of "sparing matches" with such aggressive and highly intellectual personalities as The Lady In Question. While I'm sure that life would be a more pleasant place if the only people that we encounter are friendly and ameliorative, I personally believe that it would also be mind-numbingly boring if not artifically sanitary. Perhaps I'm more of a cynic than you are. If so, I envy you your stress-free lifestyle.

2. I don't know if you've ever had a situation where someone criticized your profession and called you a hypocrite and morally questionable, but I have no doubt that if you did, you didn't feel kindly toward that person afterwards. Did you seriously expect Carol to behave otherwise after you did that to her? I've never met a professional woman who warmed up to an ivory tower critic who believes that the only products worth selling are ones that the seller believes in and I have little sympathy for anyone who presents themselves that way to a hard-driven businesswoman who at least will admit privately that she's doing what businessmen have been doing for centuries on their way to the top (have you ever heard of Lorenzo De Medici?). As much as it pains me to say it, that list of "ivory tower critics" would probably include you and your theoretical pal, Gary Groth. I wonder how much exposure to Big Business he's had?

3. While you made it abundantly clear how your first two meetings with Carol left a bitter taste in your mouth, I find it interesting that the possibility that the reverse was also true didn't enter your mind. As "classy" as Richard Howell is, I don't know any man who would have warm feelings toward a man who called the woman he loves a hypocrite who should be ashamed of what she does for a living! While an argument could be made that such a man qualifies for "Hen-pecked Husband/Life Partner of the Year" in the eyes of his unmated peers, reality and how most people perceive it seems to elude The Walking Wounded when they're not the only injured party.

While you'll begrudgingly admit that Carol wasn't a hypocrite in her private life, you seem to have taken issue with her because of that fact. When she challenged your questionable taste in comic book artists, you judged her a bully. When you accused her of hypocrisy and she didn't thank you for it, you judged her a "bitch on wheels." When she remembered meeting #2 during meeting #3 and didn't greet you as warmly as she did after meeting #1, which could support my theory that she was probably testing your artisitic convictions instead of "ripping you a new one" as you insist on believing, you continued to hold it against her when you were the provoker in the second meeting, not her.

As I said in the beginning, I don't know you. I can only make an assessment based on what you wrote, much as you did after reading Peter's Eulogy in his But I Digress column. I don't know how many "colorful characters" you've encountered in your life and I can only believe that by your own admission you'd keep your distance from anyone who didn't make you feel comfortable and emotionally secure, but unless you lived in a monastic order most of your life, I would be hard-pressed to believe that a person as thin-skined as the writer of that article presented himself as being could possibly survive past age 21 without being the victim of serious traumatic life experiences. If that's the case, I'm deeply sorry that you had to be exposed to such an "insensitive bitch" who probably spent most of her life clawing her way up in a profession that's notorious for chewing up and spitting out any woman who showed the slightest sign of compassion, tenderness and emotional openness.

Incidentally, here's my interpretation of Peter's Interview. The impression I got was that Carol read his resume and probably already decided that the only thing needed to determine that he could have the job was to test his ability to show grace under fire in the form of "dealing with an immature boss who was more interested in working on a model kit than conducting a boring interview similar to many that he's experienced before." Considering the nature of their business, dealing with The Absurd is part of the job. How else can anyone obtain an ability to "brainwash the unwary?"

I'm sorry that this letter wasn't very nasty or mean-spirited (or maybe it was since I've disagreed with your central argument), but maybe the previous letters did that thankless job for me. Since I don't subscribe to Juno, I guess I'll never know. Pity about that and pity about your hatred for one of the most emotionally sincere and charming ladies I've had the pleasure of meeting, no matter how tragically short her life was.

Thank you for your restrained attention.

David S.


I believe Gandalf's name is actually David something, and I believe the last time he posted to my previous blog, he copped to being someone named 'Elric' something or other in previous correspondence, where he felt I'd treated him badly, so he followed me around for the next year lurking on my blog before finally making himself known with a lot of petty horseshit that made no sense.

All of that, plus the whole 'in the business environment human feelings don't matter at all, except for Carol's and mine, which you have deeply hurt with this article' tone, strikes me as very Gandalfy... and very modern day conservative, for that matter. If you're pro-business and trying to be effective in a competitive environment, you can fuck with whoever you want it's okay. Rudeness is fine, mean spiritedness is fine, after all, it's all in service to the Holy Market!

On the other hand, if you're some slob who typed something annoying into a modem for no reason grander than simply expressing his own opinion, and it's hurtful and mean and nasty, well, that's BAD.

Anyway. Read my article, don't read it; read Gandalf's thing, don't read it, I don't care. It's just something I got. Maybe you agree with him, maybe you agree with me. It's just something I found in my email box this morning.

Something with quite a few spelling errors and a lot of clumsy sentences, he added, snidely.

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