Bob Birchard wrote:
“Are there really any ideas on any of these groups that "NEED [emphasis mine] to be out there?"
Certainly, all opinions “need” to be out there, good ones and bad, just as the opinion to counter the bad opinions also need to be out there. There is so much done wrong in the presentation and preservation of early film that needs to be pointed out, just as there is so much done well that gets criticized unfairly and needs to be defended.
That said, yeah, 97 percent of all of it is just gabbing and wanking. It’s just time-killing entertainment for the like-minded.
“The notion that there is an inevitable trajectory to a news group, i.e.
1) group of well-informed [read exclusive] like-minded enthusiasts forms a news group, and . . .
2) attracts attention due to the lofty content of the posts, which in turn . . . .
3) leads to lesser lights joining in on the conversation, causing . . .
4) the old guard to get exasperated and go batshit crazy, leading to . . .
5) disaffection, indifference, acting out, withdrawal (or banishment), only . . .
6) to have the whole cycle start over again, and . . .
7) again, and again, and again . . .
Is frankly a crock (although it certainly has happened this way before).”
Such a crock that even you admit it happens again again, again, and again.
I just came across two toy train groups at the Arizona County Fair recently. They were in two buildings on opposite ends of the Fairgrounds. One group had split off from the other group years ago because the people with the new group fought with the people who stayed in the old group. Both groups hated the other group and had issues with how the other group put together their toy train tracks, and both did it differerntly. Apparently there were also other groups that had split off from these two Groups.
We just enjoyed having two different sets of toy train displays to see.
Seems to happen quite a bit in life actually, ironically, one of the reasons we have four different Cinephile Conventions is that each one was pretty much started because certain Cinephiles didn’t like the way the other Cinephiles were running a certain show and decided to do one themselves. Heck, we started Slapsticon because we didn’t like the fact that none of the other Cinephile shows ran enough comedy, and then some folk didn’t like how things were done at Slapsticon and went out and started another Comedy film Fest.
Since religion is out of bounds here, I won’t go into Martin Luther and that whole Protestant thing, and gee, how many groups have splintered off from that?
Back to Birchard:
“The whole purpose of a news group is to encourage the free exchange of ideas. It is a given that not everyone will be at the same level of expertise. Some newbie questions will be asked, some ignorant pontification will occur, some misinterpretation of intent (even with emoticons brandished) will lead to ill feeling--that's life (life on a news group, that is).
So, my two cents, for what little it is worth:
There is (and has never been) anything said on any of these movie groups that rises to the level of stuff that "needs to be out there." It is merely a discussion among those of common interests.
It is not a contest. Even those who know a lot don't know everything, and those who only know a little may actually know the one piece that may make the puzzle come together.
As one who has flown off the handle myself from time to time, I'd have to say "victories" have been pyrrhic at best, and I try to remember (though I don't always succeed) that one can tell the truth and still be civil.
One very good author (not affiliated with this group) got involved on some of the Facebook silent groups (vapid as they may be) and rapidly managed to make himself persona non grata for his political, and other comments, and managed to be banished from those groups for his belligerency. The result?: The groups still go on, deprived of this fellow's real expertise but seemingly none the worse for wear. The fellow has fewer outlets for sharing his very real knowledge with others. And, I'm sure this guy's potential book sales (on a really excellent study of a silent director's pre-movie years) have suffered because those who might have bought the book have been turned off by his hauteur.”
I don’t really disagree with much that you say there Bob, except that I still will refuse to believe that anything I said on Nitrateville was really that particularly uncivil, certainly not uncivil enough to be banned from it, and frankly, being uncivil is no crime. Heck, you and I probably said some of the most uncivil things said on the group to each other and neither of us wanted the other banned for saying what we said.
I have always believed in the old Winston Churchill quote (which I’m paraphrasing, cause I don’t have the actual quote in front of me) where he told someone : “ You have enemies, good. It means that sometime in your life you stood up for something you believed in.” I also go with the old Popeye quote, “ I yam what I Yam”, and since the ones who get upset by what I do still seem to be the right ones and the ones who defend me still seem to be the right ones, I’m not in any particular mood to change.
And hell, I don’t think it affects book sales one way or another. I don’t want to have a conversation with William Drew or read his too-densely-packed ramblings on the Internet either, but I bought his Griffith book, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I don’t like you Birchard and I buy your books, I get the information without having to deal with the man. Anyone who won’t buy my book because they don’t like me is doing nothing but robbing themselves of a lot of neat info about Hal Roach and they get what they deserve, it affects me none, I’d be a fool if I was doing this for the money.
And getting tossed from a newsgroup or two does indeed not really mean a hill of beans on the big old internet. New groups spring up all the time, or you start your own. My words are still out there, just a mouse-click or two away, and I can speak much more freely and pleasantly over here anyway. I still value my free speech and the ability to speak my mind over all the crap that comes with it when you do. What saves us all is that 99 percent of everyone out there in this field of interest could give a damn either way, they just enjoy looking at the toy trains, and that’s how it should be.
Now, as we are actually not speaking to each other at the moment, that’s all I have to say to you.
RICHARD M ROBERTS