Failing Out of Love with Hate, Part 1


David Ryan

David Ryan is a boat builder and USCG licensed master captain. He is the owner of Sailing Montauk and skipper of Montauk''s charter sailing catamaran MON TIKI You can follow him on Twitter @CaptDavidRyan

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41 Responses

  1. Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

    The line by your wife is gold.Report

  2. Avatar Sam M says:

    A few years back, when my wife was about a week post-partum with our third kid, we packed up the whole crew and went to a playground. There was a greasy sort of dude there with his greasy wife, his kid and a dirty dog. A small dog. But it was hippy and he wasn’t watching it. My wife was freaked out. She was a week post partum. She made some comment under her breath. The guy heard it and went nuts. Long story short, he called her the C-word.

    I decided to drop him. I could have. I was spending the summer doing hardscaping and swinging a sledge hammer and moving rocks.

    As I closed on him, I realized I had to be careful because depending on how I hit him, he might fall on a kid. And in a flash I realized I was about to get arrested. Someone would call the cops and my wife was going to have to take all three kids home by herself. And in another flash… I did nothing. I stopped walking and started making fun of the guy. It was awful. He was dumb. I spent five minutes talking about his man boobs and his sad life and all the rest. He took his shirt off and charged at me, but I just kept making fun of him.

    To this day, I am still embarrassed that I didn’t punch him in the face and go to jail.

    I know. I know. But I have thought about it a lot, and I should have beat him up.Report

  3. Avatar George Turner says:

    And just where was your Coast Guard required air horn during all of this?Report

    • Avatar David Ryan in reply to George Turner says:

      As best I can recall, the horn itself is in the port-side single, and the wire and switch is in the head. Feeling expansive I went for a fix-mounted stainless steel model, that at this point is neither fixed, nor mounted.

      Would have been nice to have one of those hand-helds on the work table under the boat. My wife could have gone for that and used it at the dog, thus avoiding her having to contemplate using the step-ladder on the dog’s owner.

      They make those minis, like mailmen carry. Maybe I should shove on in a tool bag.Report

  4. Avatar James B Franks says:

    Where are you going to winter the Mon Tiki?Report

  5. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    Show me a person’s dog, I’ll show you that person. The bonds between man and dog are very ancient. It seems logical to infer we evolved together. I haven’t had a dog since my parents’ dog Napoleon the little poodle, a wretched teddy bear of a dog who spent most of his time trying to escape down the street, a pretty accurate reflection of the family. Me, I’m a cat man by nature, or was, until my girlfriend’s dog Cheyenne, who won me over as completely as my girlfriend. Delicate, wise and friendly, a bit cautious at first, raised by cats. We call her the Dainty Dog and she is. The only dog I know with a sense of humour.

    Troubled the dog, troubled the man. Sooner or later, usually sooner, hypertrolls and vicious dog owners float to the top of the cesspool. Cria fama y acuestate a dormir == create fame and lie down to sleep: once your reputation is established, it goes on working though you do nothing more to maintain it. Scott McNealy, once the CEO at Sun Microsystems once snarled “There is no privacy on the Internet. Get over it.” Not only is there no privacy, what’s said seems damned near indelible.

    The Internet isn’t quite like Deadwood. All these westerns in all their incarnations are ultimately dark morality tales. Ancient literature is full of such stories: Enkidu the Wild Man, tamed by the whore. Noah’s incestuous relationship with his daughters after the Flood. I don’t think the Western will ever serve as good metaphor for the Internet.

    But there is one curious story in Grimm which serves as a good metaphor for Internet Trollery, the Blue Light. Granted, it’s a bit of revenge fantasy, for in that story the aggrieved soldier gains mastery over his tormentors. The old joke says “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog” but there’s no hiding who we really are out here.

    Nor will the Internet be tamed, any more than the BBSes which preceded the Internet were tamed. The Internet has already changed the human condition as surely and profoundly as the printing press and there’s no going back.Report

    • Avatar David Ryan in reply to BlaiseP says:

      Calling DEADWOOD a morality play, even a dark one, is an utterly unique critique. Please do go on. And while you’re at it, could you please elaborate on how the Internet has changed the human condition. I’m sure this will be fascinating reading, cocksucker.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to David Ryan says:

        Cocksucker? That’s a first around here. What’s your major malfucktion this morning? Well, here yez are

        All the Westerns are morality plays, especially Deadwood. From its inception, this collection of freaks are all about their own little private equations of morality at the expense of any actual law and order.

        As surely as the printing press changed the world, giving voice to every opinionated and pseudonymic son of a bitch with access to a press, so the Internet has given voice to the same sort of people in our time. Unless, of course, you don’t believe the printing press or the IP stack have any lasting impact.Report

        • Avatar David Ryan in reply to BlaiseP says:

          How tall are you Blaise?Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to David Ryan says:

            Is this a warmup exercise for some absurdist drama? Jean Genet: L’Archange jouait au sérieux son rôle de baiseur.Report

            • Avatar David Ryan in reply to BlaiseP says:

              Okay, I’m going to break character here.

              The fact that you didn’t seem to get the NUMBER ONE DEADWOOD REFERENCE, IE. COCKSUCKER makes me doubtful that you’ve seen the show, or even read that much about it, let alone studied it enough to offer a critique.

              We are also, apparently, not going to trade charmingly profane lines from Full Metal Jacket.

              Not yet convinced on the whole human condition thing, but if you keep typing, I’ll keep reading.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to David Ryan says:

                Oh, okay. (slaps forehead) But Deadwood’s well-stocked from across the gamut of profanity. Most of what I remember about the series was the never-ending shenanigans of George Hearst in the last year.

                I spent four training cycles as a drill instructor in the USA and spent most of the rest of my time in service as a military advisor: I could give a block of instruction on military philippic. Full Metal Jacket has its share of great lines, but that’s USMC. When I came out of Basic Training, I went to FO school, conducted by USMC. Their marching cadence sounds like someone having a particularly difficult bowel movement.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to David Ryan says:

                Here’s the deal about the human condition. All the mammals communicate vocally, birds, too. Writing evolved to communicate across time and distance but it was a laborious process which arose from speech to symbol. Most people were illiterate and writing was a skilled profession.

                Marshall McLuhan talks about how writing changed humanity from people of hearing and speech to people of symbols and vision. Literate people react differently to the world: they can passively absorb things. Illiterate people shout at the screen when they see things. There’s a specific area of the brain active in the brain of literate people. It fires when only when we read. Illiterate people can look at the same page and it won’t fire.

                But the printing press was a one-way proposition. Sure, people could write letters to the editor and some would be printed. My mother was a great writer of letters to the editor and quite a few were printed. They were short, succinct little gems. My old man was a book editor, a great pruner of words. There’s a dialogue between the author and the editor but none between the writer and the book buyer.

                That changed with the rise of the Internet. The HTML file format attempted to solve the problem of the footnote: one paper cites another, which cites yet another. Human society, which had been so profoundly affected by the written word, was now capable of giving anyone the tools to write his own responses, creating his own content.

                McLuhan said the printing press, more than any other force, would propel us into a society of individuals. His book, The Gutenberg Galaxy, talks about how medieval man had been dominated by rhetorica but the rise of the printing press gave rise to grammatica.

                But we’re not quite done with rhetorica yet. It’s taking a different form, or more properly, forms. What we’re seeing as the Web evolves is a wild and woolly return to conversational techniques. Anyone with a keyboard and a webcam in front of him can create what he wishes, for better or worse, and to his own ends. I’m not one of these TED tech-o-weenies, writing panegyric about Homo Electronicus, that’s just pie-eyed bushwa. Humans aren’t evolving as fast as the tech, a point I’ve made repeatedly around here. But reading does rewire the brain and I have reason to believe the Internet is doing the same.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to David Ryan says:

                A confession, in my circle, people kept talking about how much folks swore in Deadwood and how it took them out of the show and how they found it off-putting.

                I watched.

                I didn’t notice a thing. “This is what I sound like in the car” is what I thought, if I thought anything about the cursing at all.Report

              • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Jaybird says:

                The cursing in Deadwood sounds unstudied and natural to me, as does the cursing in the Wire. It’s when the nice, upper-middle class folks on Six Feet Under sound like truck drivers that I think, “Right, it’s HBO.”Report

            • Avatar Glyph in reply to BlaiseP says:

              Not sure, but perhaps the good captain has gone meta-, to imply that for all our technological advances, we’re still just (cyber-)monkeys pounding our chests and baring our fangs at each other ‘cross the ether.

              But some people might appreciate a content warning – not for the swearing itself, but for spoilers – by using that single word, everyone just learned 80% of the dialogue in Deadwood.Report

      • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to David Ryan says:

        Symbolism usually goes swoosh! over my head, but Al Swearangen is capitalism. Greedy, amoral, rapacious, but doing a lot to advance civilization in spite of all that.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to MikeSchilling says:

          I saw it as how Chaotic Neutral is unsustainable, the conflicts between Chaotic Good and Chaotic Evil will necessarily result, inevitably, in tensions between Lawful Neutral systems that try to balance the Lawful Good and Lawful Evil folks.

          But, then again, I’m a nerd.Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

            I’m interested in what you’re saying, but I’m afraid none of those terms mean anything to me. It’s like Cheeks saying that Al is hypnotizing the escutcheon.Report

        • Avatar Glyph in reply to MikeSchilling says:

          It’s been a while since I have seen it, but Swearengen also is the de facto government at the series’ start, gaining increasing responsibilities and headaches as it goes along – I’m thinking of maybe the smallpox ep? – and like you say, it’s like he does good in spite of himself.

          Things that are bad (like smallpox), are bad for business and for Al; so even though he’s a bad man, he’ll work for the good.Report

    • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to BlaiseP says:

      Show me a person’s dog, I’ll show you that person.

      We have a Shih Tzu. Adorable, affectionate and dumb as a post. 0 for 3.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to MikeSchilling says:

        Awww. I’ll bet that dog is considerably smarter than you think. Probably manipulates your family like a lump of putty.

        But advocatus diaboli, you have a point. My sister used to breed cocker spaniels. When they bred the cute in, they seem to have bred all the smarts out. Jeebus what a dumb animal.Report

  6. Avatar Ellinoz says:

    You should listen to your friends more often.Report

  7. Avatar mark boggs says:

    It takes a strong individual to be able to recognize that, no matter how much justification he has to be a dick, or even a violent dick, it is sometimes wiser to choose to simply move on, if not because you’d like to avoid all the extracurriculars that result from that justified behavior but because, sometimes, we simply don’t feel very good about ourselves when we allow someone else to ratchet up our anger and blood pressure to the point where we lack the ability to choose more wisely.

    Wonderfully written piece, David.Report

  8. Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

    Ace piece of writing, David, a pleasure to read. Props!Report

  9. Avatar Joey Jo Jo says:

    I’m not sure you’re applying the lesson about your wife to yourself. You never know what sort of fellow you are engaging. You’re lucky to be alive and uninjured. Both of you bluffed and folded. You will be called one day and your wife may not be there to protect you.Report

  10. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    As I understand it, the point of the swearing in “Deadwood” was to make modern viewers understand how rough and rude the place was without requiring a college course in the cultural context. They didn’t actually say “cocksucker” all the time, but people watching today wouldn’t understand why what they did say would be considered so crude. So, by introducing that particular anachronism, they made people more able to put themselves in the actual mood of the time.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck says:

      From what I understand, blasphemy would have been the jaw-dropping phrases in use.

      An old-fashioned G-D would have resulted in sharp intakes of breath from everyone but the most coarsened.

      Our modern society, however, sees “goddamn” as something appropriate to say when one happens to be a witness to happening ta-tas.Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Jaybird says:

        Brendan McGinley agrees with JB:

        Deadwood is a fucking show about swearing in the cocksucking Old West.

        The main occupations in Deadwood are gold-miner, gambler, gunfighter and corpse.
        Women’s opportunities are limited to whore and abused whore.

        Civil War documentaries make great-grandpappy’s war letters sound staid, but this show is what happened when Fuck met You. Like a linguistics study, Deadwood cares less about what events occur and more how people swear about them.

        Most programs have a three-act structure; Deadwood follows The Wire’s example, in which 0.5 to 1 thing happens each week. The rest of the hour is consumed by realistic street talk.

        The point is, when the bars pour drinks brewed from cleaning chemicals and everyone sipping them for breakfast is armed, folks are much less concerned with unimportant shit like fucking swearing. If you really wanted to offend someone in Deadwood, today’s frilly swears wouldn’t cut it.

        Back then Hell still existed, so the ultimate curse was for a man’s gol’durned spirit to fester in the cankers of the inferno. The only problem is, today we damn everything in sight and buy tacos with Jesus’ face on them, so Milch had to impose anachronistic fuck-chatter on his characters for the audience to understand when shit was getting fucking intense.

  11. Avatar melior says:

    One useful tip (sadly useless in the situation above, but generally valuable in many others) I discovered as a youngster with a door-to-door job.
    Dogs like the one you describe, who ignore the “Hey there nice guy, how are you, boy?” yet don’t immediately charge you with snapping jaws, can often be relied on to turn tail and run by the simple expedient of *pretending* to pick an imaginary fist-sized stone up and heft it as if preparing time throw it at them. Likely because they’ve provoked this actual response before. I was surprised how reliably this strategy worked after trying it the first time.Report

    • Avatar Les Cargill in reply to melior says:

      If you suspect you’ll have to deal with a dog, a spray bottle of ammonia will work every time. They really hate that, and it doesn’t hurt them. And if the owner gets too close…Report

  12. Avatar NewDealer says:

    Good article.

    I have been thinking about the gawker story a lot since I first read it a few days ago.

    Trolling fascinates/perplexes me. I think it is a problem that goes deeper than the famous Penny Arcade cartoon which said anonymity turns an average person into a complete asshole. There is an overall problem with the guy’s worldview and how he just likes to “rile people up”. I’ve been known to ask provocative questions but there is never an intent of malice. I am not trying to ruin someone’s day. I have also fallen victim to troll-bait before.

    An overwhelming majority of people who write comments to the Internet are not trolls even if they write more passionately and hyperbolically than they would in real life. However, the general tone of most internet comments is a very low-grade sarcasm. A perpetual “this is the sound of the world’s smallest violin”. Plenty of people love snark but decry trolls. I wonder if if this low-burn but constant sarcasm enables and empowers trolls because the standards of sincerity on the Internet are often low.Report