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Penny Arcade's CGW Interview

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the tycho-do-you-like-me-check-yes-or-no dept.

68

1up is running an interview with the Penny Arcade guys, originally done for Computer Gaming World. They talk comics, the industry, Harlan Ellison, and (of course) games. From the article: "Jerry Holkins: My favorite quote comes from this one strip where I say 'Fetch it, and gaze upon your ruined world.' I'm not sure that anybody else really pays attention to that particular comic strip, but it's called 'They Hailed From Canadon,' and it's just this...it starts out in this weird, Penny Arcade way, but it has these spacefaring dogmen that for some reason really do it for me. I don't know why."

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Disappointing (-1, Troll)

tengennewseditor (949731) | more than 8 years ago | (#15150788)

I wish Harlan would have throttled that pissant.

Re:Disappointing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15150835)

As if Harlan ISN'T a pissant...

Re:Disappointing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15150927)

Harlan isn't a pissant... he's more of a little fuck.

Re:Disappointing (1)

CogDissident (951207) | more than 8 years ago | (#15151103)

And so subserviant too. I'm suprised he didn't bend over and wash their sandles while he was at it (religious reference, omg).

Theres a line between being a friendly interviewer, and sucking up to the people your giving the interview to.

Re:Disappointing (1)

tengennewseditor (949731) | more than 8 years ago | (#15150953)

Harlan is a pisser, not a pissant. Huge difference.

Re:Disappointing (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15152010)

no hes a raging asshole. he is well know to be a total dick to everyone and to feel his writing is superior to everything out there.

There are many storys on the web of him berating announcers, hosts, guests, and even the fans in the audience. Why people look up to him I dont know. If he wasnt famous he would be that old guy who everyone stayed away from and died alone in their house and wouldnt be found for 3-4 months cause even their kids wouldnt want to talk to them.

Re:Disappointing (2, Funny)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 8 years ago | (#15151232)

Actually I thought that was hillarious. There's something about watching self-important fucks getting nuked on a public forum that brings a smile to my face.

That's why slashdot is such a great read as well come to think of it...

Re:Disappointing (0)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15151518)

Why?

Re:Disappointing (1)

tengennewseditor (949731) | more than 8 years ago | (#15151585)

It wasn't the Star Wars thing that made me pissed off, but they way these guys compared Harlan's "schtick" to their comics. They're insisting that Harlan's angry public persona is just an act, and criticize him for not confining his bitterness to his work. Fuck them.

Re:Disappointing (2, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 8 years ago | (#15151622)

Meh. He's a jackass, and he decided, in public, to try and get rough with two people who make their living by being smartasses. He got what he had coming.

Personally, I can't stand him. If he was half as good as he thinks he is, that attitude would be one thing, but as it stands it's pretty sorry.

Re:Disappointing (2, Insightful)

B'Trey (111263) | more than 8 years ago | (#15152196)

No, I think they're quite aware that Harlan's angry public persona is nothing of the sort - it's his personality, not a persona. Harlan is (or was, in his day) a great and innovative author and editor. He deserves all of the props he receives for his writing. His also a flamming ahole, and he deserves all of the abuse he gets for his arrogance and his complete lack of common decency. I can respect and revere his work while still holding him in utter contempt as a person.

Re:Disappointing (4, Informative)

fallen1 (230220) | more than 8 years ago | (#15151852)

I don't usually air personal material on the 'net (well, not much) but I met Harlan Ellison at DragonCon [dragoncon.org] two years ago and he IS a big fucking prick. One of my best friends not only had lunch with that cocksucker but used her own personal car to drive Harlan and his friends to lunch (at Harlan's own request) and THEN, later that day, he treated her like total shit when all she asked for was a picture of Harlan [dragoncon.org] and his wife. Man, I'll be honest, if I had had a bat or other weapon of personal destruction I'd be in jail because I would have beat the shit out of that asshat. He treated my friend with THAT much disrespect, disdain, and total disregard for her as a human being. Harlan's wife on the other hand was super nice. She deserves an award for putting up with that little peckerwood all these years.

Re:Disappointing (1)

tengennewseditor (949731) | more than 8 years ago | (#15151904)

YES. He's a huge prick and an amazing asshole. It is NOT A SCHTICK and it does disrespect to Harlan and anyone to whom he was genuinely an amazing asshole to suggest that it is an act along the lines of Penny Arcade comics.

Slashdot PA Sidebar (2, Interesting)

poena.dare (306891) | more than 8 years ago | (#15150817)

Hey, while we're on the subject of PA. Would someone please fix the PA Slashdot sidebar? Or is PAs feed screwed up?

Re:Slashdot PA Sidebar (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15150904)

Since I started reading the front page instead of just the comics, I was under the impression that PA is always screwed up.

Re:Slashdot PA Sidebar (1)

chrismcdirty (677039) | more than 8 years ago | (#15151986)

I believe their XML is usually screwed up in the RSS feed, thus forcing the /. sidebar to revert to whenever it last worked correctly.

Dear Penny Arcade (4, Interesting)

Radres (776901) | more than 8 years ago | (#15150874)

Why are your forums always down, and why does it take until 2pm central time each day to get the image up for the comic?

Re:Dear Penny Arcade (5, Funny)

Daravon (848487) | more than 8 years ago | (#15151097)

You could always write to them and request a refund.

Re:Dear Penny Arcade (4, Funny)

spezz (150943) | more than 8 years ago | (#15151675)

They'll only give out a refund if you're a member of their PA Supreme service.

Re:Dear Penny Arcade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15151143)

http://www.penny-arcade.com/2006/03/13 [penny-arcade.com]

Because they get majorly hammered on update days.

Re:Dear Penny Arcade (1)

Homestar Breadmaker (962113) | more than 8 years ago | (#15151612)

And they ignore offers from experienced sysadmins willing to fix their horribly broken setup for free so they can handle the load.

Re:Dear Penny Arcade (1)

rizawbone (577492) | more than 8 years ago | (#15151289)

Why are your forums always down, and why does it take until 2pm central time each day to get the image up for the comic?

Because it is free, expect what you pay for.

Re:Dear Penny Arcade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15151629)

Because they switched their site tooling over to Ruby On Rails, which has no track record on a site with these traffic levels. Should have stayed with PHP.

Re:Dear Penny Arcade (3, Informative)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 8 years ago | (#15152654)

My questions are relating to the website - Why is it so slow, why did you switch to Rails, who wrote your search function such that it is incapable of locating a comic even if you type in a word in the comic title, and so on.

I want to know how much they paid for this terrible, worthless site redesign that they got, because if there's a market for shitty sites, I want to know what I should be charging.

Don't get me wrong, I love the comic, but ever since the new design came around, it's been almost completely impossible to find any of the old content.

They Hailed from Canidon (5, Informative)

XCorvis (517027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15150907)

It's actually "Canidon" and here's a link to the comic: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/05/21 [penny-arcade.com]

Re:They Hailed from Canidon (1)

mliu (85608) | more than 8 years ago | (#15152527)

This is actually one of my favorite Penny Arcade comics of all time, I laughed so hard the first time I saw it. And it's exactly like Jerry says, something about this strip is just so funny and stylish in a distinctly Penny Arcade sort of way.

They Hail From Canidon (0, Redundant)

toadthetoad (838931) | more than 8 years ago | (#15150941)

Just in case you are looking for the comic he takes about in that quote, it he here. The quote spells it wrong. http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/05/21 [penny-arcade.com]

Another PA interview that didn't get much press... (4, Interesting)

tprime (673835) | more than 8 years ago | (#15151323)

Jive Magazine got an interview (and a custom magazine cover) with the PA guys a few months ago that I submitted but was rejected. Has some interesting stuff on the origin of their names. Check near a third of the way down when they explain how Mike became Gabrial after being called Deadly Peach....

Here [jivemagazine.com]

No Ellison Schtick (3, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15151324)

So we went to this thing, and I didn't know what to expect. And we watched him sit in on a couple panels, and knew immediately that he was exactly sort of like us, in that he was an a**hole. [laughs] It's just that we're assholes in the comic, and not in real life. He maintained that shtick even to his fans, which I thought was sort of weird. A lot of times people will come to meet us at a show, and ask me to flip them off or something, and it feels weird. I try to be nice to people when I meet them. But Harlan, that's not his gig. And I told Jerry, I said, "You know, we're going to have to be onstage with this guy here in a little bit." Because we were co-guests of honor, I guess, if you can have that. And just having watched him for a couple minutes, I knew that he would not like that. I knew that once we got onstage, he would try to do something to belittle us. Somehow he would just have to take the spotlight; that's just the kind of guy he was.
If these guys had known anything about Ellison, they'd know his assholedom is not a schtick. Everything he says or does is a melodrama, with him as the long-suffering hero. That's why I find his work unreadable, even though he's basically a talented and imaginative writer. And it's why the SF community is full of people who avoid his company at any cost. It's amazing that he has any fans.

Re:No Ellison Schtick (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 8 years ago | (#15151511)

If these guys had known anything about Ellison, they'd know his assholedom is not a schtick. Everything he says or does is a melodrama, with him as the long-suffering hero.

To paraphrase Clark's Law:
"Any sufficiently advance melodrama is indistinguishable from assholedom."

Actually, I really like his work (though I haven't read much of his from after the late 70s), but he is truly irritating in person, though I had a friend who really loved that about him. I guess its the lack of caring for social convention that some people admire in him. Go figure.

Re:No Ellison Schtick (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 8 years ago | (#15151704)

Everything he says or does is a melodrama, with him as the long-suffering hero. That's why I find his work unreadable

I've known a lot of writers, and you can't judge the writing by the person. Some of the greatest jerks are very good writers, many very nice people are terrible writers. But the very best writers are usually secure enough not to need to be assholes. Harlan is obviously terribly insecure, he's done a lot, but was capable of much more, and he knows it.

Re:No Ellison Schtick (2, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15151895)

I've known a lot of writers, and you can't judge the writing by the person. Some of the greatest jerks are very good writers, many very nice people are terrible writers.
Perfectly true, and not just for writers. And indeed, Ellison is basically a good writer. Unfortunately he abuses melodrama in his writing much as he does in real life. That spoils a lot of fiction that could have been very good.

Re:No Ellison Schtick (1)

irablum (914844) | more than 8 years ago | (#15152598)

I've met my share of SF writers (and some other writers in general). There were some good ones and some bad. For example, Robert Aspirin WAS (I stress was because its been a long time) a drunkard and a womanizer. He used his fame to get into women's pants as often as possible, and I find that horribly objectionable. Pat Elrod is a very sweet woman, but some people can't stand her which I don't understand. RL Stein seemed to be very nice and relaxed, but of course, I didn't really call him out on anything. Maybe that's the way to handle these kinds of guys.

Ira

Re:No Ellison Schtick (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15152920)

You cite one writer I don't care for, and two whose work I don't know. In any case, their work is all I really want to know about any writer. Let their private lives be private. I wouldn't care about HE's assholedness if it didn't taint everything he did: his editing, his TV ventures, and most especially his writing.

One of my favorite SF writers is Robert Heinlein, who was arguably the greatest writer of the genre in his era, and who did a lot to define the conventions of modern SF. I never met the dude — even though we actually had a few acquaintences in common, and patronized the same bookstores. I'm rather glad I never met him, because everything I know about him says we wouldn't have gotten along. That would have spoiled all his writing for me, which would have been a shame. I still enjoy re-reading some of his stuff now and then.

If I had the same distance from HE, I'd certainly enjoy his work more. Unfortunately, his gigantic ego doesn't allow that!

Re:No Ellison Schtick (1)

irablum (914844) | more than 8 years ago | (#15153374)

wow! I couldn't have said it better myself. In fact, I used to be a big fan of Robert Aspirin's work, and now I just can't bring myself to read it.

I'm also a huge fan of Heinlein. though I have a feeling I'd get along very well with him. from my readings of his I find I share alot of his philosophies. (scary though that is).

Ira

Re:No Ellison Schtick (1)

schon (31600) | more than 8 years ago | (#15162753)

Robert Aspirin WAS a drunkard and a womanizer. He used his fame to get into women's pants as often as possible

Dude, you say that like it's a bad thing.

Seriously, what's objectionable? If it's consensual, what's the big deal?

After all, isn't that what fame and fortune are for?

Re:No Ellison Schtick (1)

PhoenixOne (674466) | more than 8 years ago | (#15155036)

It's always annoying when you learn that, just because somebody is talented it doesn't mean they're a good person. I've meet some talented people who are great (Gabe and Tycho are two of them), and I've meet some real dicks.

The funny (sad?) thing is, Ellison "friends" think the same thing. I remember talking with one (who I will not name here, but (s)he's *very* close to Ellison) who said: "He's a bit of a dick."

A few words about Harlan... (0, Troll)

SirBruce (679714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15151584)

Harlan is a lot like me (and many other geeks), in that we can often be opinionated, blunt assholes who insist their current view is the right one, and will defend it with passion and vigor. It isn't because we don't think we could be wrong, but because we rarely offer opinions without some serious thought behind them. This turns off a lot of "ordinary" folks (and even some of the geekier ones), who are so insecure about their own beliefs that they can't really wrap their head around someone else who is so secure in theirs. And those people don't like to be shown to be wrong, either; it just makes them hurt and hostile.

I knew all this and read all the stories about Harlan before I ever talked to the man, and when I finally did spend an hour with him chatting and discussing various topics, I treated him with a little common courtesy and respect and he was completely charming and reasonable. We squabbled over a couple of points, had some good laughs, and we both came away having enjoyed our conversation.

Yes, the man will bite your hand off if you stick your finger in his eye, and while watching him get riled up may be amusing, one should not then complain about his temperment. If the PA guys had been nice to him, he would have been nice in turn. I'm sure the PA guys can thoroughly understand this, too.

Bruce

Re:A few words about Harlan... (4, Insightful)

Rallion (711805) | more than 8 years ago | (#15151865)

Did you read what happened, though? Harlan started it, not them. Asking somebody if they even went to high school (with the obvious intent of implying that the other person is a moron) up on stage in front of a ton of people isn't exactly what I'd call 'nice.'

Re:A few words about Harlan... (1)

SirBruce (679714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15153166)

Asking someone why they aren't putting on their jester's cap isn't necessarily nice, either. Oh, they left that part out of the CGW article, but it's on their web page:

http://www.penny-arcade.com/2005/09/26 [penny-arcade.com]
So Tycho and I are up in front of the audience with Harlen, and Hank (the con organizer) presents us with some jester hats ("Fool's caps"). Tycho and I put ours on because we are polite, but Harlen - who is apparently too cool for school - refuses to wear his. I turn to him and say, "Don't you want your hat?" and he tells me to fuck off. This caught me off guard, I mean I have no clue who this fucking coot is. Then he points to a pad of paper he has and asks if I'm aware that his paper is also called foolscap. Now, I've never heard that term before, I pretty much just call it paper so I shake my head "no." This really isn't a fair question. I mean, it would be like me asking him about Photoshop or if he can remember what he had for lunch. The guy was essentially setting me up to look stupid in front of all these people. So then he asks me if I even attended college and I say "No, I did not." Then, he says "did you at least finish high school?"

Remember, Gabe and Tycho went into this expecting him to be a little testy, and with a plan to deliver a "zinger" when the opportunity arose, so I'm sure they took everything he said with that in mind. They theorized he was upset that he had to share the stage with them, and so tried to belittle them at the first opportunity. But it could just as easily be true that Harlan felt Gabe started it when he asked him to wear the hat.

As for Harlan, here's what he had to say:
http://harlanellison.com/heboard/archive/unca20050 926.htm [harlanellison.com]
Geeewhiz, I seem to have aroused the feral bleats of Gabe & Tycho's aficionados.

Met the co-guests of honor at Foolscap for all of two minutes.

One of them seemed to me a pleasant man with a nice manner.

The other struck me as a superannuated teen-age golem with a slack jaw, a slow manner, a typical pointless surliness at a world unwilling or unable to accept him as Superlative, and on sum a twerp easy to dismiss.

But then, I'm known for my compassion.

Harlan


Harlan doesn't suffer fools, and especially not gladly. Gabe came off as a boob making snarky comments from the start, and when Harlan tried to engage him intellectually, Gabe showed further weakness by not knowing what he was talking about. Did Harlan take advantage of this to snark back? Sure, but rather than take it in stride, Gabe then went for the comment he had pre-planned to make... a comment which Harlan would regard as a pretty unsophisticated zinger at that, which only made things worse for Gabe.

In any case, perhaps Harlan through Gabe said something else. Or perhaps Harlan didn't say what Gabe thought he said. We do know for sure, though, that Gabe and Tycho entered the frey intended to provoke an exchange from Harlan, and they got exactly what they wanted. I don't see Harlan is to blame for that. Oh, but I see, you figure it's just "coincidence" that Harlan was hostile, that it wasn't Gabe's intent at all, and of course that just confirms your pre-existing evaluation of Harlan's personality.

In the final analysis, I don't know what exactly happened or who is to blame. But I do know something about talking with Harlan, and that's what I posted about. Yes, Harlan has probably pissed off more people in the sf arena than any other author, but the number of people who have managed to get along fine with him still far surpass those few incidents. The man's personality may have sharper corners than most, but that doesn't mean you should intentionally thrust your knee into one just to demonstrate that.

Bruce

Re:A few words about Harlan... (1)

SirBruce (679714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15153233)

Ahh, it turns out I didn't read Harlan's second entry. Here's his further elaboration of the events: MY SECOND, AND FINAL, WORDS ON THIS MATTER What the surly teenager posted on his website as having happened, did NOT, in fact, transpire in that way. Like Mr. Tycho's "gut feeling" or "assumption" or "telepathic intuition" or whatever it was, everything the surly teenager posted was HIS perception of an interchange that lasted for less than two minutes. His assumptions and interpretations are his own, and he's entitled to them. Weird and sad and skewed as they may be. But for him, for Mr. Tycho, and for all of you, I am telling you they are no more accurate than MY understanding of the matter. I don't expect the surly teenager to pause even a moment to consider that his interpretations are wonky, he's incapable, I suspect, of assuming responsibility for ANYTHING he does, like some mook standing in front of Judge Judy. And he certainly isn't going to cop to fronting someone who meant him no harm, not in front of his worshipful gamer-tots. But this is the bottom line: I did not know them, I had no negative feelings toward them, and I was neither rude nor discourteous to them. Never insulted them. Never wanted to insult them. Didn't do it consciously or reflexively. Just didn't do it. ALL insults and disparagement came from the surly teenager. Mr. Tycho shouldn't be defending his associate's bad behavior; after all, Mr. Tycho was standing right there beside me. My assertion is demonstrably more accurate than what the surly teenager posted to arouse his adolescent admirers. As verified by the CHAIRMAN OF THE FOOLSCAP CONVENTION, Hank Graham, who has stated very clearly THERE WAS NO JESTER'S HAT FOR ME. If that is so, then all that follows in the surly teenager's memoir is equally as skewed, equally as misinterpreted, and equally as unfair to me. We were in each other's company less than two minutes. We were all four--Gabe & Tycho, Hank Graham, myself--on the stage in a small room. They were making "gifts" to the Guests of Honor. The first was an orange peeler. I did the expected "take" and looked at this small plastic kitchen implement with mock humor and confusion. I then got a SECOND one, intended for Kathy Roche-Zujko (my ex-secretary, who now lives in Bellevue, with whom we hung during the weekend, and who had picked Susan and me up at Sea-Tac). It was a thankyou from the ConCommittee for her good offices. With TWO of these items, I continued to do the aversion shtick, edging backward toward the audience, past the surly teenager, with one of the orange peelers behind my back and, openly to the entire room, slipped it to someone in the audience. Everyone laughed. I then returned to my place next to the surly teenager, as Hank Graham placed jester's caps (signifying "foolscap") on Mr. Tycho and the surly teenager. Mr. Graham then handed me a lined yellow tablet in a plastic sleeve--foolscap, in the classic meaning of the word--and said, "Here's YOUR foolscap." I am a writer. Getting foolscap was appropriate. I am neither a clown nor an asshole, as so many of the PA adolescents who have no idea of my fifty-plus years' work perceive. It was fitting and proper that I should get a pad of ... well ... foolscap. The surly teenager then asked me, not very loudly, "Don't you want to wear your hat?" As there WAS NO HAT for me, I pretty much let slide the gibe. Well, two aspects of the moment that followed: 1) Someone in the audience said something to ME, DIRECTLY, that I now understand as not having been heard or linked properly, by the surly teenager. I can't remember what it was, but it was a remark made my someone I knew, in a jocular vein, and I tossed over my shoulder the pro forma fuckyou or gofuckyerself or whatever it was. It was no more serious or rude a fuckyou than a Bart Simpson bite me or eat my shorts. But it wasn't addressed to the surly teenager, who had already made snotty remarks at me, not once, but twice. If the surly teenager misheard and thought he was EVEN IN THE EXCHANGE, I was unaware of it. Till I got home and saw the foofaraw here. I was, thus, neither rude nor disrespectful to him. So he misinterpreted from the git-go. Which invalidates everything that he says followed. Most of which took place in that arid wasteland between his ears. Next, I replied to him: "There's no hat for me. HERE is my foolscap, and I held up the pad. He stared at it, slack-jawed, uncomprehendingly. I repeated the word, trying to indicate that writing paper for a writer was originally, and has been traditionally, known as "foolscap," not an unknown word to me, any more than it is to any of you here; nor was its double-entendre lost on the audience, who also knew the word. (One of the most troubling aspects of the cultural ignorance of surly teenagers is that though they are tabula rasa about most everything but what Shakira is wearing these days, they are insulted and defensive and arrogant and dismissive and rude when one tries, however innocently, to educate them, whether it's about something as minuscule as "foolscap" or something as powerfully important as that the Holocaust really happened. They all have ipods, but very little information.) (To point out this reality, of course, only imbeds the deeper, the urban legends that anyone old enough to remember FDR simply cannot get "into" the venue of the young. It ain't the young, mi amigos, it's the iggerunt.) So the surly teenager was clearly as unfamiliar with this common term as he would be of hubris, the Elgin Marbles, Kilroy, and Eddie Cantor. Not to mention Marta Toren, Gertrude Ederle, Jesse Owens, Benito Mussolini, and El Greco. Not STUPID, merely ignorant. Two different things, as I must have pointed out a hundred times in other contexts during my many panels and lectures. I asked him, then, not realizing he must have an instant flee-or-fight reaction-formation to anyone questioning his intelligence--whether in reality, or as he perceives it--if he had gone to college. I was merely making chat. The conversation was between us, and the audience COULD NOT POSSIBLY have heard the interchange, thus putting the interpretatiuonal lie to his assertion in his posting that everyone was laughing at him. Everyone was laughing. But not necessarily at him. And definitely not because of our "college" interchange. He replied, no, he hadn't gone to college. Now--and he never even considered THIS--I wanted to know what his educational background was. Here was a fellow whose work at PA was accomplished... ...and unlike the arrogant stupidity of those who say they've never heard of me, and never read me, and never will, snarky tots and brain-dead gamers, I'm forced to conclude...when I was apprised many months ago that my co-Guests of Honor were Gabe & Tycho, I familiarized myself with their site, their work, their contributions in the community, and the wide audience they had... ...if they did the same, for me, they gave no indication. In fact, the surly teenager made it clear from the moment we mounted the stage, that he hadn't a clue as to who I was, my fifty-plus years of work, my social activism, or anything else. Like many of his benighted generation, he thinks that being a surly teenager is the noblest state, and the world began when he came into it. He is clearly culturally and historically arid, and that's a shame, but it had nothing to do with me. I do not seek the approbation of monkeys, and that the surly teenager knows me not is as pressing a concern to me as the placement of the swirling rocks in Saturn's inner rings. Either way, who the hell am I to belittle anyone for not having gone to college? As anyone who knows ANYTHING about me is aware, I was booted out of college after a year and a half. So if anything, I'd be championing anyone who has made a name and place for himself outside that System. Interested, I then asked him if he'd graduated high school. I think he said yes. The reason I'm not sure, is because the event-interlude was ending, everyone was leaving the room, Hank Graham was leaving the stage, and Mr. Tycho let him pass, leaned in to me, and said -- and I am not making this up, if Mr. Tycho would care to confirm it -- "We're not all illiterate, I know what foolscap is." I smiled. He seemed a decent sort of fellow and I was no more aware of "rudeness" blah blah blah than I was for the following two days. But next to me, the surly teenager said, very loudly, truckling to the audience, "I love your 'Star Wars' books." The people down front, who were in the ragged queue trying to get out of the room to go down the hall to my next panel, heard the remark, and went ooooh and ahhhhh. It was a pretty lame gibe, but I've been around some of the cleverest aphorists in the world in my time, some of the wittiest and most acerbic zinger artists, from Robert Bloch and Isaac Asimov to Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg. Did he really think such a sophomoric lunge unhinged me? "Ellison stormed off the stage." Yeah, sure. If I had a dime for every twerp who retold a story in which I come off like a stupefied baboon, in which I'm like the guy in the cartoon whose hat pops off and he falls headfirst out of the panel because of some sharp retort, in which the twerp making the dopey remark is so clever that "Ellison gets shut down," I'd have enough to buy Bavaria. I heard the rermark, and I replied, "Ahhh, so THAT'S how we're going to play!" And that was the end of it. They left the stage before I did, because they were in front of me. And they went their way, and I went mine. There was no storming. By them, by me. If they were twittered by my "rudeness" they never showed how deeply they'd been excoriated. With one exception, I never saw either of them again. The one exception was later that day, or early the next, when I was dragooned to chair a "writers workshop." They put a bunch of us in a room, and we workshopped (I wrote a new story. Not very long, but a new one, nonetheless). At some point, it was about 4:50 PM, a gaggle of people were outside the slightly ajar door to the small meetingroom wherein we worked, and I went out and politely... ...let me say that again... I POLITELY asked them to take their conversation down the hall, because it was disturbing the workshoppers inside. The surly teenager was standing there against the wall with the loud talkers. No one moved. Again, I POLITELY said, "No, really, could you move this now?" All but one of them moved away. Guess who stood there slack-jawed, staring? What I did not know, and what NOT ONE OF THEM, including the surly teenager, said, was that they were to have taken over that room at 4:30. They had every right to be standing there. And in fact, I was ignorantly unaware that I was in a place they didn't expect me to be, asking THEM to go away! No one on the ConCommittee had told any of us in the room that we were to be out of there by 4:30. We all thought it was a side-room, a small conference room, and that we would work till we finished. It was the usual convention scheduling gaffe. Had anyone in that group, especially the surly teenager, opened his mouth and said ANYTHING, I'd have instantly perceived my displacement, and would have instantly moved the group to the small conference room NEXT to us, which is what Kathleen Retz of the ConCommittee did, immediately. My apologies for encroaching on their time, my innocent error; but I was in no way discourteous. I was IGNORANT, but not rude. When I got home, I saw the first few postings, and posted my own short reply. Apparently PA's admirers are as defensive as the surly teenager. But all they were going on was HIS slanted and culturally-cringing whine of having been dissed. This from a surly teenager who has made his mark dishing it out, though he clearly cannot take it...even when it isn't being given. Only three things about this trouble me. Only three. The first, is that so many of you replied by making apologies for my alleged rudeness. You accepted his remarks at face value. I am a courteous person, as any of you who have met me will attest. I am acerbic and express contumely only when someone starts with me. The surly teenager was dismissive of me, and insultingly arrogant, before we even exchanged greetings. The entire incident was less than two minutes in duration, but even in such a short space of time, with no provocation, he had to assert his feelings of inadequacy by pointing out he'd never heard of me. I was not rude to him. Many of you babbled back without questioning the accuracy of the report, or --in the case of several of you--even going to their website to read the actual memoir. You were no better than his idiot monkeymass. That both surprised and dismayed me. I expect better from you. You're smarter and more skeptical than they. You argue with me, and call me down, all the time. That's as it should be. I despise sycophants, and unlike the populist arousal of the surly teenager, sic'ing twerp hackers onto this site for "revenge" for a crime never committed... ...how many of you have ever read THE OX-BOW INCIDENT by Walter Van Tilburg Clark...?... ...you should have applied what you've experienced here over the years, and obtained the facts, gotten a different perspective, or kept your mouths shut till you knew what had really happened. Just because something appears on the internet, does not mean you are REQUIRED to add to the blather. The second thing that troubles me is that Mr. Tycho should disrespect me with a completley bogus "assumption" that I was uncomfortable "sharing" GoHship with him and his surly teenager partner. This, again, is demonstrably codswallop, as it is standard operating procedure at EVERY convention I've attended, either as a Guest or a Guest of Honor, that there are multiple GoHs. There is a writer GoH. An artist GoH. A film or tv media GoH. And on and on. I've shared GoH "spotlight" dozens, if not hundreds, of times since 1952. Never had any problem with it. They do their thing, I do mine. Why Mr. Tycho should cobble up a reason to find me truculent even before we'd met, unmans me. It just wasn't so. But even if his "assumption" has coin, I have gone out of my way to remove him from this matter. I never insulted him then, at the Foolscap, nor in my single posted response. I described him as I'd found him: seemingly decent, mildly charming (we shared only a moment, so my impression was mild) and quite unlike his partner, who struck me then, as now, as arrogant, insecure, meanspirited, immature, a surly bully, and a classic example of that geek generation of wireheads who think theirs is the noblest state possible for a human being. All that aside, the one last thing that troubles me... ...no, let me be candid... The one thing that raises in me a homicidal rage, is the posting of the pustulent rodent whose handle is "Penelope" --a remark of unforgiveable ugliness about my wife. That none of you, after Susan's many kindnesses, never rose against this gratuitous ugliness, saddens me. That this twerp thinks s/he is beyond my reach for posting it is, well, foolhardy. You, and the PA monkeymass, can say anything it chooses about me. I do not seek their approbation (they can look it up) or their dubious assertion that they will never read me...as if they ever had...as if they are capable of thought at that level of ratiocination. But do not for an instant think I will not rain on you if you bring my wife into it. If Mr. Tycho, clearly in SPITE of my taking his peripheral involvement to notice, clearly in SPITE of my excluding him from this ridiculous imbroglio that began and exists only in the truculent psychosis of a surly teenager, if Mr. Tycho wishes to wade into that cesspool, it's his choice. But NO ONE insults my honey and gets away with it. Those who know me--Paramount, Xerox, James Cameron, AOL, assorted smartass twerps over the years--know that I will not suffer this vile behavior. I WILL rain on "Penelope." In Japan, or Moscow, or Topeka, or amid the swirling rocks of Saturn's inner rings. "Penelope" can start trumpeting inviolability now; we WILL come face to face. This is the end of it for me. No more explanations, no more attempts to set the matter straight. Only a fool makes enemies needlessly. If Mr. Tycho wishes to discuss this like civil human beings, absent the posturing so endemic to the cowardly anonymity the web provides, he can get in touch with me personally, via telaphone or in the flesh, by contacting my webmaster, Rick Wyatt. I am open to him 24/7; I have no interest in even the merest congress with the surly teenager. He is welcome to stew in his own demeaning misinterpretations. I'm here. And will be for, as you put it, the next 150 years. Keep at it, Mr. Tycho; it'll take you that long even remotely to approach the niftiness of "egomaniacs" like myself. If anyone knows how to get this to PA, or to Mr. Tycho, I would take it as a kindness for you to pass this message along. Harlan Ellison Bruce

Re:A few words about Harlan... (3, Informative)

SirBruce (679714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15153246)

Damn formatting:

MY SECOND, AND FINAL, WORDS ON THIS MATTER

What the surly teenager posted on his website as having happened, did NOT, in fact, transpire in that way. Like Mr. Tycho's "gut feeling" or "assumption" or "telepathic intuition" or whatever it was, everything the surly teenager posted was HIS perception of an interchange that lasted for less than two minutes. His assumptions and interpretations are his own, and he's entitled to them. Weird and sad and skewed as they may be.

But for him, for Mr. Tycho, and for all of you, I am telling you they are no more accurate than MY understanding of the matter. I don't expect the surly teenager to pause even a moment to consider that his interpretations are wonky, he's incapable, I suspect, of assuming responsibility for ANYTHING he does, like some mook standing in front of Judge Judy. And he certainly isn't going to cop to fronting someone who meant him no harm, not in front of his worshipful gamer-tots. But this is the bottom line:

I did not know them, I had no negative feelings toward them, and I was neither rude nor discourteous to them.

Never insulted them. Never wanted to insult them. Didn't do it consciously or reflexively. Just didn't do it. ALL insults and disparagement came from the surly teenager. Mr. Tycho shouldn't be defending his associate's bad behavior; after all, Mr. Tycho was standing right there beside me.

My assertion is demonstrably more accurate than what the surly teenager posted to arouse his adolescent admirers. As verified by the CHAIRMAN OF THE FOOLSCAP CONVENTION, Hank Graham, who has stated very clearly THERE WAS NO JESTER'S HAT FOR ME. If that is so, then all that follows in the surly teenager's memoir is equally as skewed, equally as misinterpreted, and equally as unfair to me.

We were in each other's company less than two minutes. We were all four--Gabe & Tycho, Hank Graham, myself--on the stage in a small room. They were making "gifts" to the Guests of Honor. The first was an orange peeler. I did the expected "take" and looked at this small plastic kitchen implement with mock humor and confusion. I then got a SECOND one, intended for Kathy Roche-Zujko (my ex-secretary, who now lives in Bellevue, with whom we hung during the weekend, and who had picked Susan and me up at Sea-Tac). It was a thankyou from the ConCommittee for her good offices. With TWO of these items, I continued to do the aversion shtick, edging backward toward the audience, past the surly teenager, with one of the orange peelers behind my back and, openly to the entire room, slipped it to someone in the audience. Everyone laughed.

I then returned to my place next to the surly teenager, as Hank Graham placed jester's caps (signifying "foolscap") on Mr. Tycho and the surly teenager. Mr. Graham then handed me a lined yellow tablet in a plastic sleeve--foolscap, in the classic meaning of the word--and said, "Here's YOUR foolscap." I am a writer. Getting foolscap was appropriate. I am neither a clown nor an asshole, as so many of the PA adolescents who have no idea of my fifty-plus years' work perceive. It was fitting and proper that I should get a pad of ... well ... foolscap.

The surly teenager then asked me, not very loudly, "Don't you want to wear your hat?"

As there WAS NO HAT for me, I pretty much let slide the gibe.

Well, two aspects of the moment that followed:

1) Someone in the audience said something to ME, DIRECTLY, that I now understand as not having been heard or linked properly, by the surly teenager. I can't remember what it was, but it was a remark made my someone I knew, in a jocular vein, and I tossed over my shoulder the pro forma fuckyou or gofuckyerself or whatever it was. It was no more serious or rude a fuckyou than a Bart Simpson bite me or eat my shorts.

But it wasn't addressed to the surly teenager, who had already made snotty remarks at me, not once, but twice.

If the surly teenager misheard and thought he was EVEN IN THE EXCHANGE, I was unaware of it.

Till I got home and saw the foofaraw here.

I was, thus, neither rude nor disrespectful to him.

So he misinterpreted from the git-go.

Which invalidates everything that he says followed. Most of which took place in that arid wasteland between his ears.

Next, I replied to him: "There's no hat for me. HERE is my foolscap, and I held up the pad. He stared at it, slack-jawed, uncomprehendingly. I repeated the word, trying to indicate that writing paper for a writer was originally, and has been traditionally, known as "foolscap," not an unknown word to me, any more than it is to any of you here; nor was its double-entendre lost on the audience, who also knew the word.

(One of the most troubling aspects of the cultural ignorance of surly teenagers is that though they are tabula rasa about most everything but what Shakira is wearing these days, they are insulted and defensive and arrogant and dismissive and rude when one tries, however innocently, to educate them, whether it's about something as minuscule as "foolscap" or something as powerfully important as that the Holocaust really happened. They all have ipods, but very little information.)

(To point out this reality, of course, only imbeds the deeper, the urban legends that anyone old enough to remember FDR simply cannot get "into" the venue of the young. It ain't the young, mi amigos, it's the iggerunt.)

So the surly teenager was clearly as unfamiliar with this common term as he would be of hubris, the Elgin Marbles, Kilroy, and Eddie Cantor. Not to mention Marta Toren, Gertrude Ederle, Jesse Owens, Benito Mussolini, and El Greco. Not STUPID, merely ignorant. Two different things, as I must have pointed out a hundred times in other contexts during my many panels and lectures. I asked him, then, not realizing he must have an instant flee-or-fight reaction-formation to anyone questioning his intelligence--whether in reality, or as he perceives it--if he had gone to college. I was merely making chat. The conversation was between us, and the audience COULD NOT POSSIBLY have heard the interchange, thus putting the interpretatiuonal lie to his assertion in his posting that everyone was laughing at him.

Everyone was laughing. But not necessarily at him.

And definitely not because of our "college" interchange.

He replied, no, he hadn't gone to college.

Now--and he never even considered THIS--I wanted to know what his educational background was. Here was a fellow whose work at PA was accomplished... ...and unlike the arrogant stupidity of those who say they've never heard of me, and never read me, and never will, snarky tots and brain-dead gamers, I'm forced to conclude...when I was apprised many months ago that my co-Guests of Honor were Gabe & Tycho, I familiarized myself with their site, their work, their contributions in the community, and the wide audience they had... ...if they did the same, for me, they gave no indication. In fact, the surly teenager made it clear from the moment we mounted the stage, that he hadn't a clue as to who I was, my fifty-plus years of work, my social activism, or anything else. Like many of his benighted generation, he thinks that being a surly teenager is the noblest state, and the world began when he came into it. He is clearly culturally and historically arid, and that's a shame, but it had nothing to do with me. I do not seek the approbation of monkeys, and that the surly teenager knows me not is as pressing a concern to me as the placement of the swirling rocks in Saturn's inner rings.

Either way, who the hell am I to belittle anyone for not having gone to college? As anyone who knows ANYTHING about me is aware, I was booted out of college after a year and a half. So if anything, I'd be championing anyone who has made a name and place for himself outside that System.

Interested, I then asked him if he'd graduated high school. I think he said yes.

The reason I'm not sure, is because the event-interlude was ending, everyone was leaving the room, Hank Graham was leaving the stage, and Mr. Tycho let him pass, leaned in to me, and said -- and I am not making this up, if Mr. Tycho would care to confirm it -- "We're not all illiterate, I know what foolscap is." I smiled. He seemed a decent sort of fellow and I was no more aware of "rudeness" blah blah blah than I was for the following two days.

But next to me, the surly teenager said, very loudly, truckling to the audience, "I love your 'Star Wars' books." The people down front, who were in the ragged queue trying to get out of the room to go down the hall to my next panel, heard the remark, and went ooooh and ahhhhh. It was a pretty lame gibe, but I've been around some of the cleverest aphorists in the world in my time, some of the wittiest and most acerbic zinger artists, from Robert Bloch and Isaac Asimov to Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg. Did he really think such a sophomoric lunge unhinged me? "Ellison stormed off the stage." Yeah, sure.

If I had a dime for every twerp who retold a story in which I come off like a stupefied baboon, in which I'm like the guy in the cartoon whose hat pops off and he falls headfirst out of the panel because of some sharp retort, in which the twerp making the dopey remark is so clever that "Ellison gets shut down," I'd have enough to buy Bavaria. I heard the rermark, and I replied, "Ahhh, so THAT'S how we're going to play!"

And that was the end of it. They left the stage before I did, because they were in front of me. And they went their way, and I went mine. There was no storming. By them, by me. If they were twittered by my "rudeness" they never showed how deeply they'd been excoriated.

With one exception, I never saw either of them again.

The one exception was later that day, or early the next, when I was dragooned to chair a "writers workshop." They put a bunch of us in a room, and we workshopped (I wrote a new story. Not very long, but a new one, nonetheless). At some point, it was about 4:50 PM, a gaggle of people were outside the slightly ajar door to the small meetingroom wherein we worked, and I went out and politely... ...let me say that again...

I

POLITELY

asked them to take their conversation down the hall, because it was disturbing the workshoppers inside. The surly teenager was standing there against the wall with the loud talkers. No one moved. Again, I POLITELY said, "No, really, could you move this now?" All but one of them moved away. Guess who stood there slack-jawed, staring?

What I did not know, and what NOT ONE OF THEM, including the surly teenager, said, was that they were to have taken over that room at 4:30. They had every right to be standing there. And in fact, I was ignorantly unaware that I was in a place they didn't expect me to be, asking THEM to go away!

No one on the ConCommittee had told any of us in the room that we were to be out of there by 4:30. We all thought it was a side-room, a small conference room, and that we would work till we finished. It was the usual convention scheduling gaffe.

Had anyone in that group, especially the surly teenager, opened his mouth and said ANYTHING, I'd have instantly perceived my displacement, and would have instantly moved the group to the small conference room NEXT to us, which is what Kathleen Retz of the ConCommittee did, immediately.

My apologies for encroaching on their time, my innocent error; but I was in no way discourteous. I was IGNORANT, but not rude.

When I got home, I saw the first few postings, and posted my own short reply. Apparently PA's admirers are as defensive as the surly teenager. But all they were going on was HIS slanted and culturally-cringing whine of having been dissed. This from a surly teenager who has made his mark dishing it out, though he clearly cannot take it...even when it isn't being given.

Only three things about this trouble me.

Only three.

The first, is that so many of you replied by making apologies for my alleged rudeness. You accepted his remarks at face value.

I am a courteous person, as any of you who have met me will attest. I am acerbic and express contumely only when someone starts with me. The surly teenager was dismissive of me, and insultingly arrogant, before we even exchanged greetings. The entire incident was less than two minutes in duration, but even in such a short space of time, with no provocation, he had to assert his feelings of inadequacy by pointing out he'd never heard of me.

I was not rude to him. Many of you babbled back without questioning the accuracy of the report, or --in the case of several of you--even going to their website to read the actual memoir. You were no better than his idiot monkeymass. That both surprised and dismayed me. I expect better from you.
You're smarter and more skeptical than they. You argue with me, and call me down, all the time. That's as it should be. I despise sycophants, and unlike the populist arousal of the surly teenager, sic'ing twerp hackers onto this site for "revenge" for a crime never committed... ...how many of you have ever read THE OX-BOW INCIDENT by Walter Van Tilburg Clark...?... ...you should have applied what you've experienced here over the years, and obtained the facts, gotten a different perspective, or kept your mouths shut till you knew what had really happened. Just because something appears on the internet, does not mean you are REQUIRED to add to the blather.

The second thing that troubles me is that Mr. Tycho should disrespect me with a completley bogus "assumption" that I was uncomfortable "sharing" GoHship with him and his surly teenager partner. This, again, is demonstrably codswallop, as it is standard operating procedure at EVERY convention I've attended, either as a Guest or a Guest of Honor, that there are multiple GoHs. There is a writer GoH. An artist GoH. A film or tv media GoH. And on and on. I've shared GoH "spotlight" dozens, if not hundreds, of times since 1952. Never had any problem with it. They do their thing, I do mine. Why Mr. Tycho should cobble up a reason to find me truculent even before we'd met, unmans me. It just wasn't so. But even if his "assumption" has coin, I have gone out of my way to remove him from this matter. I never insulted him then, at the Foolscap, nor in my single posted response. I described him as I'd found him: seemingly decent, mildly charming (we shared only a moment, so my impression was mild) and quite unlike his partner, who struck me then, as now, as arrogant, insecure, meanspirited, immature, a surly bully, and a classic example of that geek generation of wireheads who think theirs is the noblest state possible for a human being.

All that aside, the one last thing that troubles me... ...no, let me be candid...

The one thing that raises in me a homicidal rage, is the posting of the pustulent rodent whose handle is "Penelope"
--a remark of unforgiveable ugliness about my wife.

That none of you, after Susan's many kindnesses, never rose against this gratuitous ugliness, saddens me. That this twerp thinks s/he is beyond my reach for posting it is, well, foolhardy.

You, and the PA monkeymass, can say anything it chooses about me. I do not seek their approbation (they can look it up) or their dubious assertion that they will never read me...as if they ever had...as if they are capable of thought at that level of ratiocination.

But do not for an instant think I will not rain on you if you bring my wife into it. If Mr. Tycho, clearly in SPITE of my taking his peripheral involvement to notice, clearly in SPITE of my excluding him from this ridiculous imbroglio that began and exists only in the truculent psychosis of a surly teenager, if Mr. Tycho wishes to wade into that cesspool, it's his choice.

But NO ONE insults my honey and gets away with it.

Those who know me--Paramount, Xerox, James Cameron, AOL, assorted smartass twerps over the years--know that I will not suffer this vile behavior. I WILL rain on "Penelope." In Japan, or Moscow, or Topeka, or amid the swirling rocks of Saturn's inner rings. "Penelope" can start trumpeting inviolability now; we WILL come face to face.

This is the end of it for me. No more explanations, no more attempts to set the matter straight. Only a fool makes enemies needlessly. If Mr. Tycho wishes to discuss this like civil human beings, absent the posturing so endemic to the cowardly anonymity the web provides, he can get in touch with me personally, via telaphone or in the flesh, by contacting my webmaster, Rick Wyatt. I am open to him 24/7; I have no interest in even the merest congress with the surly teenager. He is welcome to stew in his own demeaning misinterpretations.

I'm here. And will be for, as you put it, the next 150 years.

Keep at it, Mr. Tycho; it'll take you that long even remotely to approach the niftiness of "egomaniacs" like myself.

If anyone knows how to get this to PA, or to Mr. Tycho, I would take it as a kindness for you to pass this message along.

Harlan Ellison


Bruce

Re:A few words about Harlan... (1)

brother_b (16716) | more than 8 years ago | (#15154268)

Funny part is that he continues to refer to Gabe (Mike) as a teenager - he's the same age as Tycho (Jerry). Both are 28.

Re:A few words about Harlan... (1)

ZombieWomble (893157) | more than 8 years ago | (#15154494)

The entire story seems to be one part description of events, 9 parts "I'm better than them". Any respect he may win by clearing up the events that happened is surely squandered by childish self-aggrandizing and meaningless putdowns.

Re:A few words about Harlan... (1)

bookofbiff (969384) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156761)

Is he trying to get the #1 spot in google for the keyphrase "surly teenager"? It seems like when someone freaks out at you because of a misunderstanding, a calm explanation of "No don't feel that way, I was talking to my friend in the audience." is in order, but instead this has turned into a who can shout the loudest wins contest.

Re:A few words about Harlan... (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 8 years ago | (#15158187)

This comes down to a he-said, she-said sort of thing. Harlan is a known prick with a gigantic ego. This gives his side of the account...but really, this guy is wrapped in a fantasy world where he is the center. He perceives himself as victimized...totally innocent which you know is utter bs. His whole account is riddled with insults towards the PA guys and their audience. He can't understand that plenty of intelligent, articulate people read and enjoy those comics (and playing video games). He believe his medium of communication is superior and looks down upon others. Don't defend this asshole. Maybe if he took a social styles class he would realize how everyone else perceives him and maybe try to be a little more humble. Like I said, there is no way to say who was right in all this...but the PA guys sure seem a heck of a lot more credible to me. And what's with the whole "you spoke poorly of my wife, now I will hunt you wherever you live" part? Seriously, the guy needs counseling.

Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15159389)

"I didn't insult them" "I am courteous"
"I did tell them to fuck off"

Re:A few words about Harlan... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15160816)

I guess the question arises: who has more centipedes in their vagina, you or Harlan Ellison?

Re:A few words about Harlan... (1)

mariotwins (956610) | more than 8 years ago | (#15161773)

Well, now I understand where the "melodramatic" label comes from.

Re:A few words about Harlan... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15163793)

I am a courteous person, as any of you who have met me will attest.

I have not heard of one person who has enjoyed his company. Every single person that has met him has walked away feeling worse about life.

What an egotistical dick.

Re:A few words about Harlan... (1)

aneurysm36 (459092) | more than 8 years ago | (#15151908)

did you graduate college?
did you graduate high school?

did you RTFA? haha

Re:A few words about Harlan... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15151995)

This turns off a lot of "ordinary" folks (and even some of the geekier ones), who are so insecure about their own beliefs that they can't really wrap their head around someone else who is so secure in theirs.

Yep, you keep telling yourself that poor social skills and lack of respect for others is just being secure in your beliefs.

Re:A few words about Harlan... (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15152050)

Many SF writers are opinionated. None have quite as nasty a reputation as Ellison. I don't know why you got along with him, but you're definitely in the minority. And many SF writers who were screwed over by his mishandling of Finally, Dangerous Visions (and worse, by his inability to admit that he was doing anything wrong) utterly loath him.

Since SF is something I read, rather than write, I could forgive his immaturity — except that it leaks over into his fiction. He's spoiled many promising stories by ladling on the melodrama and schmaltz. I guess lots of people like his M&S. Not least Michael Straczynski, Ellisonesque M&S being the main reason I can't abide Babylon 5.

Re:A few words about Harlan... (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15152091)

who are so insecure about their own beliefs that they can't really wrap their head around someone else who is so secure in theirs

I'd rather be around someone who admits they are wrong than someone who blindly believes in their own infalibility.

Or rather... I perfer people who take this view "I believe myself to be correct now, but given extra information or changes in stuations I understand and accept I could be horribly wrong in the future."

Being an ass and strongly believing yourself to be correct... doesn't make you correct.

And yes... Harlan started it.

And now you know... (2, Insightful)

PhoenixOne (674466) | more than 8 years ago | (#15155174)

"Harlan is a lot like me (and many other geeks), in that we can often be opinionated, blunt assholes who insist their current view is the right one, and will defend it with passion and vigor."

And now you know why you don't get invited out to parties.

I have a lot of "geek friends" and, while I can normally deal with this, I can tell you that you're not turning off "ordinary folks" because *their* insecure. You're just coming off as an asshole.

It's fine to have beliefs but, right or wrong, you're going to annoy the hell out of 98% of the people out there if you feel the need to get all vigorous about jamming it down their throats. If you get off on this, fine. But don't think these "ordinary folks" are the ones with the defects...

(Sorry for being blunt with my belief system, but I've seen too many unhappy "smart people" with this problem.)

Re:A few words about Harlan... (1)

schon (31600) | more than 8 years ago | (#15162799)

This turns off a lot of "ordinary" folks, who are so insecure about their own beliefs that they can't really wrap their head around someone else who is so secure in theirs.

No, actually, it turns people off because you're an asshole. It has nothing to do with how secure other people are or aren't. But it does have a lot to do with how secure you are (but not in the way that you think).

And those people don't like to be shown to be wrong, either; it just makes them hurt and hostile.

So, because you;re shown to be wrong, but you can't admit it, you're not just an asshole, but a stupid asshole.

And because you get hurt and hostile about people discovering you're a stupid asshole, it means that you're insecure too - which means that you're doubly stupid.

Hmm.. a doubly stupid insecure asshole.

The plain truth is that if you were really secure in your beliefs, you wouldn't care what anyone else thought of them, and ergo you wouldn't be an asshole.

Therefore, you and Ellison are doubly stupid insecure assholes.

QED.

I don't get it (0, Troll)

chemical55 (446280) | more than 8 years ago | (#15151815)

PA is about as funny as any other comic strip one would find in their newspaper. They just happen to concentrate on games.

I wonder if the people who laugh at PA are the same people who make Two and a Half Men the "number one" sitcom in America. Judging from the overwhelmingly corny forum posters I would be inclined to say yes.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Rallion (711805) | more than 8 years ago | (#15151958)

A big part of it is...just getting into it. You have to get to know the characters and the style, and you'll start to appreciate it. That's not really something that everybody can/wants to do, so, like anything, it's not for everybody.

Re:I don't get it (1)

nule.org (591224) | more than 8 years ago | (#15152062)

I agree that many of their comics are unfunny - it's just when they get a good one in it's genius. "Dear lord, bless the fucking nub. Bless him right in his stupid face!"

Re:I don't get it (1)

PatrickThomson (712694) | more than 8 years ago | (#15152283)

ranting (excessively) about penny arcade's god-awful archive search system aside, got a link to that strip? I tried every word in the quote seperately, nada.

Re:I don't get it (1)

nb caffeine (448698) | more than 8 years ago | (#15152106)

I happen to find PA very funny (well, sometimes its just funny), but since I dont really care for forums (nor network tv, for that matter), Maybe im not the typical PA fan. But nobody that i've found follows the games industry as closely as I do. And they usually have interesting commentary. I'm not really interested in the PA fans who think chuck norris is a demigod.

Re:I don't get it (4, Insightful)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 8 years ago | (#15152185)

PA's humor is one of those things that carries quite a few prerequisites.

You have to be a fairly avid and experienced gamer to catch even half the allusions they make. You have to like sarcastic and satirical humor, as well as be able to understand and appreciate more juvenile humor (like the frequency of the word "wang" in their strips for a while).

There are a lot of PA strips that I don't laugh at, even when I see the humor. A few of them I just shrug my shoulders and move on to something more interesting. But they get out at least a couple a month that really make me laugh, and that's enough for me to spend a few minutes reading.

Re:I don't get it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15152190)

Have you considered that, perhaps, your sense of humor is what's lacking here?

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15152377)

As far as I can tell PA is about as funny as stepping in dog shit. If you think mention of "fuck" and "shit" is funny, well, have at it. What baffles me is that they have a cultish following of basement dwelling nerds. "Garfield" level humor all the way...

Re:I don't get it (2, Funny)

katamerry_damatree (840843) | more than 8 years ago | (#15152679)

"PA is about as funny as any other comic strip one would find in their newspaper. They just happen to concentrate on games."

Marmaduke:
First panel- Kid: "Hey Marmaduke! I'm playing a video game!"
Second panel- Marmaduke sits in front of TV.
Third panel- Kid: "No fair! You beat my high score!"

Family Circus:
First- Boy: "I don't want to eat my corn flakes! I want to play video games!"
Second- Dad: "Well, pretend it is a video game!"
Third- Dad: "First one to finish their bowl ..." Whole Family: "Wins!"

Yeah, PA's totally like the newspaper comics. Except it's not written by fucktards. They exclude the fucktards. Once you get over that, they're pretty cool.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15160420)

Yeah, PA's totally like the newspaper comics. Except it's written by fucktards with no sense of humor, for fucktards. Once you get over that, they're still retarded.
Fixed it for you.

Still, your examples still a lot funnier then the "comics" that PA puts out. Heck these are more funny then the "web comics" where the PA team is whoring themselves out!

Really Does it for Me (1)

triso (67491) | more than 8 years ago | (#15152523)

"...it starts out in this weird, Penny Arcade way, but it has these spacefaring dogmen that for some reason really do it for me. I don't know why."
Perhaps it is because you like to pee on the carpet.
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