How to Handle Flames Thrown in Your Direction (was Re:Michael Perelman on pen-l)

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Thu Dec 21 10:27:32 MST 2000

Hi Doyle:

>May I, nonetheless, counsel the maintenance of a stiff upper lip, so
>to speak?  Do not turn the other cheek by any means, but never reduce
>yourself to the level of baiters by responding in kind to attacks,
>ridicules, slanders, etc.  The strategy here is to let those who
>attack you _make asses of themselves as much as they want_, while
>_you_ remain on the moral, political, & aesthetic high ground,
>skewering them with irreproachable propriety all the same.  Stay
>cool, remain unflappable.
>While this strategy sort of works in some cases, I want to indicate what is
>at stake, if Henry is goaded into a frenzy or out burst or intensified
>emotional state, is Henry wrong?

No, it's not "wrong" to be emotionally affected (sometimes you can't
help it either).  The thing is, though, that's exactly how those who
commit political-baiting, racist insinuations, sexist attacks, etc.
_want_ you to respond: become emotionally affected & "lose it."  Why
give them satisfaction?

Refuse to respond in kind, and the other side will nearly inevitably
"lose it."  Works at least in cyber-space, if not in the real world.
In the real world, more aggressive self-defense is sometimes called


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