Precious Cargo

Refreshingly Bitter And Twisted Observations On Life's Passing Parade.

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Location: Valley Village, California, United States

Monday, December 17, 2007

Behold Fran, Queen of the Planet Petulant

7:45 PM: no more comment sections on the main page here. I'm not giving people a forum for attacking me in my own space, which is practically all they've been doing lately here and elsewhere. Enough! I'm not talking to anyone anywhere any longer.

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Blogger Margot said...

Oh, she's been doing that for ages. She posts furiously when she gets into an argument, then closes down the comment sections to stop replies, then posts furiously some more, then notices that no one is talking to her and reopens comment sections, rinse lather repeat until the argument is over. Then she leaves comments open for a while and gets no responses, declares that she doesn't want comments anyway and everyone sucks, closes comments, waits a while, misses at least the hope of attention, and reopens comments again.

Sphexishness is a fascinating character trait, not least because of how it affects social interactions. Amaaaaaaaaazing stuff happens when someone is too sphexish for too long; humans don't tolerate that kind of behavior because on a grand level it's severely maladaptive, and on a personal level it's hard to believe the behavior is real. If you poke someone in the arm twenty times and each time they say "Ow" in exactly the same way, you try to get a different reaction. What if you poke them in the arm 50 times? What about poking them in the leg? The side? The head? What about poking them harder? Lots harder? People can escalate indefinitely because on some level, the sphexish person has stopped being real.

Now combine that with a secondary trait, an annoying one. When you poke the person, they say "Ow" and whine that you're being mean. They don't do anything--ever--they just say "Ow" and whine. It's always the same whine, too. Over and over again. Every poke. "So stop me from poking you," you say, and they say, "But how?" "Grab my wrist," you say, and they say, "But how?" "Push me away." "But how?" "Tell someone in charge about it." "But how?" "Hit me back." "But how?" You've found another sphexish behavior (because sphexish people don't have just one) and you've discovered that this person

People lose it. I've seen people commit atrocities because a sphexish person wouldn't defend themselves, wouldn't stop repeating themselves, and wouldn't stop trying to draw attention to themselves. It's a horrible combination, especially with the third element (demanding attention) in place.

And there's no rational reason for it, apart from the fact that it's annoying; and there's no reason it should be so insanely annoying, apart from the fact that sphexishness is catastrophically maladaptive. Nor is there any way for the sphexish person to avoid getting this reaction, apart from retiring to the company of paid professionals who are skilled at dealing with mental abnormalities. These professionals usually want to work the sphexishness out of the person, which most sphexish people find an imposition; so really, there's no solution that will make everyone happy.

I suggest the paid professionals, though.

11:22 PM  
Blogger Peter L. Winkler said...

Fran's blog posts should be collected into a book and placed on the syllabus of every course in abnormal psychology. Every doctor specializing in psychiatry should also read it. She's an exemplary case study. I don't think Sphexishness is going to catch on as a popular descriptive term. It's hard to pronounce. Fran is a classic paranoid personality, with heavy dollops of narcissism and solipsism added like whipped cream and cherries on a sundae.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Margot said...

Oh look, she closed her blog... again. Bets on when she'll post again (with mandatory statement at the end that she's saying one last thing and then that's it)? I put it at 50% likelihood that she'll post again by the end of today and 50% that she'll post by the end of the weekend.

I think my Snow in Africa blog has finally found a theme. The world of unpublished writers is too damn strange to not have at least one commentary blog.

2:37 PM  
Blogger Peter L. Winkler said...

Ever read Martin Gardner's Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science? He has a list of characteristics typical of cranks, and one is that they interpret criticism as confirmation of their misunderstood genius.

"The world of unpublished writers is too damn strange to not have at least one commentary blog."

I look forward to it. The review of Vanna Bonta's novel was a good start. Are you going to rename your blog Fran Watch?

5:24 PM  
Blogger Margot said...

I'm not familiar with the book, but I know of the concept through the Wikipedia article on cranks. (Now I definitely need to pick the book up.) I had some hope when Fran said:

Even today, I've always looked for writers who were being ignored, looked for works being attacked because I was more likely to find gems there, and I did sometimes, though many times I didn't because a written work's being attacked and ignored isn't a guarantee that said work is really good, especially to me.

But then two paragraphs later she said:

I know that if my writing gets shunned, censored and attacked repeatedly, I've probably done my writing job well.

Fran lives by special rules.

Anyway, I'm not going to rename my blog or focus on Fran because as fascinating as her sphexishness is, she is, after all, sphexish. I could come back in a year and she'd be doing the same thing. The world of unpublished writers holds many far more colorful than her. For instance, have you heard of Lanaia Lee?

8:04 PM  
Blogger Peter L. Winkler said...

"For instance, have you heard of Lanaia Lee?"

The name itself triggered no recollection until I clickred the link and began reading the first few lines of the story. Then it all came back very clearly. I remember reading this story on Michael Allen's blog and elsewhere. It's a classic. So desperate for attention, she hired someone to ghost write a vanity book. You think you've heard it all...

12:23 AM  
Blogger Margot said...

Lanaia and her "agent" Cheryl are a classic case of Not Getting It. Even after people explained to them, carefully and slowly, over and over again, how publishing worked, why they were in trouble, and what they needed to do to get out of it, they refused to budge. Lanaia in particular focused on exonerating herself at the expense of any other consideration... including exonerating herself. Amazing.

Plus there were threats of witchcraft. Passive-aggressive tactics are standard in messes like this, but passive-aggressive threats of witchcraft are something special. Cheryl Pillsbury set a new standard for morons worldwide to live up to.

(Fran posted again today. Yay, I win! There's another post right before the "farewell, cruel Internet" post that I could swear wasn't there before yesterday, too.)

12:42 PM  
Blogger Peter L. Winkler said...

I'm going to try to break my addiction to reading Fran's stupid, repetitive, rants that molest empirical facts and the most rudimentary logic, such as her assertion that society only rewards or desires mediocrity, ignoring the enormity of artistic and scientific achievements, all created by exceptional men and women. I don't need to read her 49th screed against old Papa Hemingway. I already read it the first 48 times she assailed him. Fran can't separate a person's behavior from their art. Too bad for her.

Fran's a fanatic, as defined by Churchill as someone who's absolutely convinced they're right who won't get off the subject. She's just like the 9/11 truthers, like the commentators to the story linked below. Leave the door open even a crack and they'll break it down.

6:22 PM  
Blogger Peter L. Winkler said...

Fran just helped cure my addiction, or perhaps, affliction to reading her blog. She's made it accessible only to readers whose accounts she hasn't blocked. Since this reduces her potential readership down to about three people who ever left comments praising her, I assume she'll abandon the sign-in filter soon.

4:21 PM  
Blogger Margot said...

Annnnnd her blog is unlocked again. The post where she announced that she's closing the blog and starting a new one is also gone, and the blog description is changed:

Explicit, uninhibited, life-is-shit and human-society-is-disgustingly-barbaric-and-dishonest writings from Misanthrope Avenue. Explicit, uninhibited, life-could-maybe-be-better and human-society-could-maybe-be-better-if-the barbarians-and-liars-of-the-species-would-lose-their-barbarian-and-dishonest-ways writings from Progressive Avenue.

Oh, Fran. Never change how you never change.

8:07 PM  
Blogger Peter L. Winkler said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:46 PM  
Blogger Peter L. Winkler said...

Yeah. Her resolve crumbled after one day. Her blog's subtitle speaks volumes about why she remains unpublished. Explicit and uninhibited is a redundant phrase and is itself repeated. Stringing together words with hyphens instead of proper use of adjectives is grammatically hideous. Why, her writing is simply Frantastic! (TM pending).

4:48 PM  

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