•WiredAnswers-d1620TH-ANNIVERSARY REPLY TO THE WIRED ATTACK
=== 15.12.25, mods 16.03.21
Theodor Holm NelsonIt is twenty years since the attack, but it continues to spread its poison.
I thought that the founders of Wired magazine, Rossetto and Metcalfe, were my best friends, but they were pretending. In 1995 they commissioned a full-scale attack on me by a hate-filled fascist* twerp, one Gary Wolf, whom I prefer to call Gory Jackal. Supposedly a history of the Xanadu project, it was an all-out assault on me personally, describing my life and work in the most derogatory terms conceivable. Entitled "The Curse of Xanadu," it exactly fulfillls its name. The article is a hymn of hate.* I say "fascist" because at the end of the article he reveals his love of authority and order, which seems to explain his viciousness and contempt for our anarchic ways.Examples of the piece's nastiness:
.• the article makes it seem that I never finish anything-- despite my three earned university degrees, nine books, three patents, many articles and lectures and courses taught.The Jackal's hatred is perhaps best explained by Kathy Sierra as the hatred of the Internet troll--
• the article says I have a "tiny attention span" despite the above degrees earned, books written, etc.
• the article calls my childhood religious experience, on which my work is based, a "vision of water disturbed", rather than the immensity of interconnection I had perceived. WAS HE THERE?
• he calls my constant search for new knowledge an "omnivorous fascination with trivia".
• my absentmindedness is called "aphasia"-- brain damage-- though it's nowhere near as bad as Norbert Wiener's, and nobody ever called HIM brain-damaged.
• intending to portray me as a reckless driver, The Jackal says in the first sentence that I took a "scary left turn". But a witness in the car, none other than John R. Levine, says the drive was calm and ordinary. On this item it would seem that The Jackal is either a liar or an incredible coward. Later, still to make my driving seem reckless, he says that my Ford LTD of that time was "battered", meaning it had been in many collisions. But that car did not have a single dent, only faded paint. The car was battered only by The Jackal's abusive mind.
• the author claims that the Xanadu project wasted the most time and resources of any project in computer history-- an extremely ignorant assertion; we don't come close to the fiascoes of Apple's MobileMe, Microsoft's Longhorn, the UK's "Connecting to Health", the U.S. ABM system, or many more.
• But consider more deeply his slur about the time we've spent. There have been many Xanadu projects over the years, differing greatly. Therefore his slurs about the length of time are really attacking us for keeping the trademark across different projects over the years, in the face of the ridicule and disgrace he so lavishly inflicts.From the hater’s POV, you ... do not “deserve” that attention. You are “stealing” an audience. From their angry, frustrated point of view, the idea that others listen to you is insanity. From their emotion-fueled view you don’t have readers you have cult followers. That just can’t be allowed. ...I intend to do to the Jackal's reputation what he did to mine (but with the truth). However, I believe that despite his enthusiasm, The Jackal was (like Eichmann) only a paid assassin. The piece was intended to destroy my career and my life, and came very close. The false imputation that I never finish anything made me unemployable in the USA, and kept me close to bankruptcy for years.
You must be stopped. And if they cannot stop you, they can at least ruin your quality of life. A standard goal, in troll culture, I soon learned, is to cause “personal ruin”.--- Kathy Sierra, "Trouble at the Koolaid Point" (ironically, reprinted by Wired, long-time sponsor and protector of super-hating troll Gory Jackal)
The bastards at Wired would not print my letter of response in full, cutting it off with a sneering comment. I wrote two rebuttals on the net, "Lemonade" and "Ararat", but nobody reads them.
More recently, I made a feature-length video-- an hour and a half enumeration of the distortions, gratuitous insults, and in-depth nasties of the piece, if not outright lies. That video is quite harsh, so I have postponed publishing it, thinking instead of making a more cheerful and debonair version.
So this just is a twentieth-anniversary note, to say that the matter is far from over. Friendship betrayed so savagely can never be forgotten; it is a central, swollen, pivotal experience in life.