That TLO feeling again …

A number of people have asked me whether I happened to see yesterday’s deleted “Mark Samuels” thread over at the TLO.

Yes, it was brought to my attention.

The end of the thing was certainly highly amusing. Particularly the demands by one poster that I conform to group-think, and his final insinuation – directly aimed at me personally and my weird fiction – that post-Ligotti ne plus ultra.

But I’m far too busy with my own projects to worry much about what intrigue happens at the TLO any more. I haven’t even posted over there for nearly two years. Life goes on.

Mark S.

19 Responses to “That TLO feeling again …”

  1. The Metaphysician Says:

    I still think T.L.O. is an excellent resource for great literature, and there are many fascinating and intelligent members there; but it is sadly true that there are vain debates that become overheated and amount to nothing. For my own part, I only use the site when I feel I have something to announce, or see a topic that I feel I can contribute to. Like you, Mark, I just need the boost to concentrate on my own work. This young writer from Edinburgh has been quite busy this year.

  2. Brian Janson Says:

    It’s a shame that your friend Evans was treated like a punk. Oh, well.

  3. FriendlySranc Says:

    Stuff like this is why I’ll never pull the plug and register there myself. It isn’t helping that I feel zero kinship with philosophical bent of most of their active members. That combined with how easily I’m inflamed on reddit and message-boards means that I would never fit in their discussions.
    There’s a thread now where one member recommended how it should be made as clear as possible that the board is dedicated to pessimistic philosophy and literature with nihilistic bent. That might be a good idea, so that people wouldn’t register there thinking that it is dedicated to every branch of philosophy and weird fiction. It would probably lessen the chance of arguments like that one appearing, but then as seen from the thread about you, dissenter doesn’t even need to post anything there or write anything recent on the subject anywhere in order to provoke some members and cause cluster**** … Even their attempts at “friendliness” and “open-mindedness” are a bad joke (“I have nothing against writers who are religious lunatics lolololol”)

    I use the place for one reason now, and that is browsing the past threads in the hope of digging out interesting obscure authors. They aren’t very active as far as messageboards go, and they aren’t that useful for hearing about new releases and stuff like that.

    • marksamuels Says:

      Yes, I certainly think it would clear up a lot of current misconceptions about the place if it were made clear it is primarily a forum dedicated to pessimism in philosophy and to literature which reinforces said analysis (viz; ‘didactic’). Of course the place then runs the risk of ending up as an echo-chamber; but then that’s what’s apparently desired – some kind of online internal movement with discussion promoting a shared cultural agenda.

      The depth and interest of the archives relating to the aesthetics of weird fiction are a tribute to its past contributors and its long history. But I don’t know whether many of the relatively new recruits consult them very much. I’m glad to learn at least one person still does so.

      Mark S.

  4. evanslichamleas Says:

    Your absence on TLO has been noted and commented on. It’s okay for some…

  5. I registered with TLO because i really appreciated the thoughtful regular comments of a very few, and was hoping to be able to contribute in that vein but alas, i’ve allowed myself to be inveigled into many an unpleasant exchange by hypocritical bullies; at a certain point one must attempt to ameliorate the general discussion, or leave, as you’ve chosen to do.

    In a recent discussion there, i am being pigeonholed into ‘a culture,’ or ‘Othered’ as some would neologize which is funny because all we are doing over there, it seems to me, and the varying interests and topics at TLO only reflect this, is swimming, trying to keep afloat, amid the detritus of cultures.

    • marksamuels Says:

      This is slightly awkward. There are still a handful of wonderful people over there, and I know that the bad apples are very keen to characterise any criticism I make of the TLO as a blanket condemnation of everyone who posts there, when it’s not the case. In addition, I suspect that the same bad apples would like nothing more than an excuse to promote their binary narrative of “all good men must come to the aid of the TLO party and unite against dissenters”.

      However, I will say that it is pointless getting into certain debates over there. They are not undertaken in good faith. Basic flaws in reasoning are not addressed, rhetoric substitutes for informed reflection, and, above all, constant reiteration (even of previous statements shown to be spurious or false) follows – after a suitable gap – well, the exact same reiteration all over again.

      I am not really surprised there was an attempt to ‘co-opt’ you, as a Muslim, and to use this for their own agenda. Patronising assumptions of group-think and adherence to identity-politics, as well as a lack of awareness of individuals as multi-faceted and complex, are signature elements in certain group’s ideologies.

      Mark S.

      • I intended no awkwardness to gestate, sorry. I still enjoy of it what i enjoy of it, and i suspect we’d be in agreement over whom that handful of wonderful people comprises. What you point out as to flawed reasoning &c is spot on though, and all the more glaring in juxtaposition with some of the more perceptive contributions. As to the whole ‘who is Ligottian enough to qualify as Ligottian’, i have no dog in this fight. God made the earth spacious.

        • marksamuels Says:

          No need to apologise at all. I shouldn’t have mentioned it.

          I suppose there might be some interesting parallels to be drawn with Lovecraft here. It was pretty de rigeur in the 1980s to be a strident atheist (though not necessarily also a biological reductionist) if one was a ‘true’ Lovecraftian. Whatever that qualifier means in this instance.

          Mark S.

  6. evanslichamleas Says:

    I suppose there might be some interesting parallels to be drawn with Lovecraft here. It was pretty de rigeur in the 1980s to be a strident atheist (though not necessarily also a biological reductionist) if one was a ‘true’ Lovecraftian.

    Present company excepted has this changed?

    • marksamuels Says:

      No, probably not. But back in the 1980s, even present company was amongst the most vocal of atheists! (To my eternal chagrin.)

      Mark S.

      • Brian Janson Says:

        People are just meat. Nothing special. And when we die we are no better than roadkill. Trying to convince ourselves otherwise smacks of desperation.

  7. I’d say it is exactly the love of desperate causes that makes us human, because it allows for faith instead of mere calculation.

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