The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Strictly Business

Posted on | November 1, 2011 | 142 Comments

“The Pagan Right is a vigorous defender of conservative values and classical liberalism in an arena that few other conservatives have access to. It is time the movements were linked together so that both are strengthened.”
Rob Taylor, Jan. 22, 2001

In January 2008, I interviewed Roger L. Simon, CEO of PJM, for a feature article in The Washington Times, in which I wrote, “In this Wild West online frontier, Mr. Simon might as well be John Wayne.”

Between the time I interviewed Roger and the time that interview was published, I tendered my resignation at the Times, so that this feature profile was actually my last bylined article for the paper.

Though entirely a coincidence, this was perhaps fitting, as I subsequently have made my career as a gunslinger in that “Wild West online frontier.” And for a while, I was an occasional contributor to PJM, for example reporting on a July 2008 campaign appearance by John McCain in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and reporting from the Democratic National Convention in August.

That friendly relationship continued until Sept. 12, 2009, when my PJM coverage of the 9/12 March on Washington — the biggest rally of the Tea Party movement — proved to be the spark that lit the fuse of Charles Johnson’s final meltdown at Little Green Footballs. Although Roger professed continued friendship toward me, my future offers to contribute at PJM were rebuffed by the editors (not Roger himself) and, with the exception of an April 2010 article specially solicited by my friend Charlie Martin, I ceased to be a contributor.

Certainly this was not the result of any animosity on my part. Many of my friends are associated with PJM and link me in their blogs. However, it gradually became obvious to me that something (most likely my role in the LGF meltdown) had made me persona non grata in the eyes of influential people at PJM. Someone within the organization had decided I could never officially be affiliated with PJM.

“It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business.”

It’s frustrating, this inability to remedy a problem I understand completely: Being “controversial” makes it impossible for friends to offer me positions for which I am otherwise qualified.

Charles Johnson understood this, too: If he could do nothing else to harm me — and I have continued to succeed despite all his deranged viciousness — Johnson knew that his attacks would attach a permanent taint to my name, forever casting me under a penumbra of suspicion that would damage my career as a professional journalist. So I am sympathetic when my friends at PJM and other organizations profess their personal friendship for me and their admiration for my work and yet, inevitably, pre-emptively strike me from the list of names to be considered when it comes to hiring opportunities or other recognition.

Not a Synonym for ‘Crazy’

No one will ever say this to my face, of course, and I sometimes wonder if perhaps my friends are no longer even consciously aware of why they hold me at arm’s length. Nothing succeeds like success and nothing fails like failure, and there is a sort of momentum to things like this, whereby one snub leads to the next rejection and so on until, before you know it, you find yourself on the receiving end of backhanded insults. And when you attempt to halt this snowball of negativity by calling attention to such contemptuous treatment, the friends who have insulted you will redouble the insult by accusing you of “whining,” and others act as if you have lost your mind.

About a month ago, when I e-mailed friends to express alarm at an apparent increase of negative attitudes toward me, one friend responded by urging me to seek professional help for a “chemical imbalance”!

Well, maybe I get so jacked up on coffee that my e-mails sometimes seem crazy, but there is nothing irrational in my perception of the situation. Nor is there anything insane about my efforts to prevent the problem from snowballing by publicly calling attention to occasional snubs.

My methods may be unusual, but “unusual” is not a synonym for “crazy.”

Keep this in mind: If you find yourself excluded where you expected to be included, one of two explanations is possible:

  1. You have been considered and rejected; or
  2. You were merely ignored.

This is applicable to many scenarios in organizational dynamics. If you find yourself passed over or excluded in such a situation, a judgment has been rendered. Your natural sense that you have been unfairly rejected does not justify anger toward the person or persons who have rendered this judgment. Nor is a self-pitying attitude of victimhood helpful. Your emotions, although perfectly understandable, cannot explain or resolve your problem.

In a situation where you have been considered and rejected, the decision may reflect an honest assessments of your shortcomings. More likely, however, you were merely ignored — overlooked, “out of sight, out of mind,” a name that never occurred to the decision-maker when they were compiling the list that did not include you. For some reason, your abilities and achievements have not earned the positive attention you had hoped.

Either way, the best way to remedy your problem — assuming it is not irremediable — is to seek an explanation from the decision-maker. “What am I doing wrong? How may I fix whatever the problem is?” Whether you were rejected because you are a Bad Person, or omitted because you are a Nobody, you’re never going to know the answer if you don’t ask.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

All of this is preamble to an astonishing bit of news: PJM has hired David Swindle as an associate editor. Swindle evidently had been given hiring authority for “PJM Culture,” and has hired Rob Taylor among the contributors to this new project.

Friends contacted me about this, and I was at first tempted to write Roger Simon an e-mail with the subject line, “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot”?

The choice of Swindle is astonishing enough. It took Swindle less than two years to run David Horowitz’s NewsReal blog into the ground. Failed online projects are common enough that one cannot necessarily blame the pilots of the doomed aircraft. However, this particular crash produced complaints from some former NewsReal contributors that suggested poor judgment on Swindle’s part. Most especially, Swindle invited American University student Alex Knepper to contribute at NewsReal and, when Knepper subsequently offended readers, Swindle then mounted an extraordinary (and evidently quite personal) vendetta against Knepper.

Well, Swindle is a young man and young men sometimes do foolish things, being unfamiliar with the Ways Things Should Be Done. As weird as the Knepper episode was, however, I might have dimissed it as a rookie mistake had Swindle not subsequently permitted a NewsReal blogger to personally defame me and refused to rectify the blunder. As I wrote in June:

[L]ast December, [Rob] Taylor used his posting privileges at David Horowitz’s NewsReal blog to compare me to serial killer John Wayne Gacy (!), and when I objected to his malicious defamation, Taylor doubled down, calling my blog a “little LGF like cult of degenerates, ‘Men’s’ movement sissies and neo-nazis,” calling me a “liar” and gay-baiting me (!!) to boot.

Just as he used NewsReal to attack me, Taylor then used his posting privileges at Red State to attack me, which was the occasion of my June post, “Self-Proclaimed Pagan Rob Taylor Lectures Conservatives on Morality?

At no point has Taylor ever explained to readers that he has been harboring a grudge against me that dates back to September 2009, when he dogpiled me in the wake of the LGF meltdown. Taylor has never apologized for nor recanted his repeated attacks on me. Instead, on each occasion when I’ve called attention to these attacks, Taylor has doubled down, dishonestly denying his personal malice, then adding further insults and accusations.

And now Swindle has brought his friend Taylor within the fold at PJM, where my own friends apparently are unable to do the same for me.

So I find myself confronted with new evidence showing that, however sincere Roger Simon is in expressing personal friendship toward me, this friendship is not sufficient to prevent his company from promoting the work of someone who has repeatedly attacked and insulted me. Not only am I apparently prohibited from further writing for PJM, but those with hiring authority have sought ways of giving new prominence to my implacable enemies, who hate me without cause.

What should I make of this? The only possible conclusion is that, while Roger is my friend, other people associated with PJM — those responsible for bringing the Swindle/Taylor team aboard — are actively hostile toward me. This is a possibility that had long loomed over my dealings with PJM: If the CEO likes me, and yet I remain persona non grata there, someone else in the organization must be exercising influence against me.

Am I Fredo Corleone, to be treated this way?

Am I a useless imbecile, who may be insulted with impunity? Am I powerless to retrieve my fortunes and vindicate my dignity against the secretive whispering malefactors who have conspired to humiliate me in such an ostentatious manner?

It doesn’t matter how this happened. I can’t let it pass unremarked.

“It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business.”

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Comments

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    Yep, he’s another – found him way back at Confederate Yankee.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    Well, add feminist issues to that, too.

    The Hollywood type of conservative is usually very libertarian on social issues.  People who disagree with dogma on “gay, women’s, and transgender issues” horrify them, they can’t argue any of the points, they just do NOT want to hear them.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    Hey, he’s still better than the OTHER one!

  • Anonymous

    That man is on a mission, admire that.

  • Anonymous

    Apparently not even that.

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    It makes sense though, because Taylor has always been a staunch advocate of gay rights. I don’t know for sure whether he is or is not pro-gay marriage, but he tends to be down with some aspects of the homosexual agenda. By the same token, I’ve seen him go ballistic over certain other aspects of it as related to public schools. So I don’t know.

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    RSM, just curious, have you ever considered writing a novel?

  • http://twitter.com/BatesLine Michael Bates

    Same here. I occasionally click through Instapundit’s tweets to his blog or follow a link to one of the other PJM writers (like VDH), but I have no interest in registering or subscribing to see the videos. (I don’t care for videos or podcasts, anyway. You can’t skim a video.)

  • Bunk X

    “There is a 3d possibility: you are The Competition.”
    Ditto that. The internest is full of petulance, and CJ is worthy of a medium-sized dollop of Ignore.

  • Anonymous

    Based on PJ’s editorial stance I’d say if there were only one editorial reason that would be it. I know very little about Roger except what he writes, the fact that his son is gay may explain his stance but everybody else’s there?

  • http://conservativecommune.com Joy W. McCann

     . . . and Conservative Commune. Right? RIGHT?

  • Anonymous

    The Conservative Commune is on my ‘check it out’ page… I get your headlines RSS, and just actually finished the article on the Iceland Spar sunstone find… gotta try that come morning.  Lots of cloudy days here in Seattle, and I have some Iceland Spar Calcite crystals.  So yeah, you’re sneaking into the mix.  Heard about you here, of course.

  • http://conservativecommune.com Joy W. McCann

    None of this has anything to do with homosexuality. Truly. Because everyone involved gets along with gay conservatives just fine. I’m sorry that this isn’t the “key” that unlocks the “mystery,” but it isn’t. Stacy gets along with the gay right; so does Swindle. So does Roger. This has nothing to do with gayness.

    If Cynthia were here, she’d tell you the same thing, and that she and Stacy get along just fine, despite deep differences over gay-related policies.

  • http://conservativecommune.com Joy W. McCann

    Yeah. That’s why I’m here . . . oops! That doesn’t work, does it? And I live in California, too. And I have plenty of ties to entertainment.

    Come on, people–you’re trying to spin straw into gold, here.

  • Anonymous

    No sale.

  • http://conservativecommune.com Joy W. McCann

     Okay. So, David Swindle picked on a young gay conservative, and got a lot of bloggers mad at him for doing that, even as he engaged in some unsavory behavior toward Stacy.

    Then PJM/Roger HIRED the guy who was gay-bullying, but don’t want Stacy–because he isn’t tolerant enough of the gays that the gay-bully bullied. Even though he gets along great with Cynthia, the bloggin’ “Conservative Lesbian,” who refers to Stacy as her “fairy blogfather.”

    Well, have it your way, then.  You’ve clearly got it all worked out.

  • http://conservativecommune.com Joy W. McCann

    It might not do any such thing, of course. 

  • Anonymous

    “Gay rights,” as dictated by the Official Gay Rights Movement, is not libertarian, but egalitarian — that is to say, the movement’s demand is that government impose a legal regime in which sexual preference is treated as analogous to race, so that any opposition to or criticism of nontraditional sexual behavior is a violation of “civil rights.” This would be a death blow to freedom of religion and freedom of expression, insofar as anyone’religious belief or public expression contradicted the dogma of the Official Gay Rights Movement. It would be another step toward the Orwellian dystopia, already far progressed as a result of political correctness.

    Recall that there were calls from soi-disant conservatives to purge Ann Coulter when she used the word “faggot” in a speech. Coulter could have spoken disparagingly of “hillbillies” or “rednecks” or “holy rollers” without provoking any such reaction. Yet the Sensitivity Police consider some pejoratives and slurs to be acceptable, while others are automatically condemned as expressions of “hate.” 

    Not all hate is created equal. It is perfectly acceptable — even praiseworthy, in the liberal mind — to hate the “1%.” A corporate CEO can be called every ugly name in the book, and the Sensitivity Police do not see this as dangerous “hate.” Ditto any Republican politician: Comparing George W. Bush to Hitler was fair game for eight years but on Jan. 20, 2009, suddenly comparisng the president to Hitler was proof of “racism.”

    All of this is to say that adding “LGBT” to the menu of Government Protected Victim Groups would not protect or expand anyone’s liberty, but rather would curtail liberty in the name of equality.

  • Anonymous

    P.S.: Why the “B” in LGBT? Is there any significant self-proclaimed bisexual constituency marching in all those Pride parades every June? How do we know that these “bisexuals” aren’t just a bunch of college sorority girls doing the fake-lesbian-kissing-at-frat-parties routine? But assuming we’re talking about genuine legit bisexuals, are they being victimized and discriminated against? Has the FBI ever documented any anti-bisexual hate crimes? Does the Bisexuality Rights movement have its own martyred hero or heroine, with the victim-sainthood star-power of Matthew Shepard or Brandon Teena? Because I’m extremely skeptical about the legitimacy of the “B” in LGBT, an acronym that always makes me think of a bacon-lettuce-tomato sandich for some reason.

  • http://twitter.com/badmrbunny43 steve benton

    I quit reading PJM due to Simon’s leftist leanings.

  • http://twitter.com/badmrbunny43 steve benton

    I got out of laundry duty for life . It took one load.

  • Anonymous

    It’s not dead yet!  I mostly keep an eye on the feed just to see interesting stories.  Occasionally, I’ll check in on the comments if I’m feeling in the mood for predictable flamewars.  My UID is upper 6 digits, but it is prime.

  • http://pointofagun.blogspot.com/ Dave C

    Let me put it this way, having a gay relative might make one more sympathetic to the gay marriage movement. 

    And, of course, living in that cesspool that in California. 

    Right, Joy?  ;) 

    [I was kidding about the CA part for your benefit]

  • Anonymous

    Jeff, I thank you for the sympathy. The only thing I can say is that my moral philosophy requires me to blame no one but myself when I suffer a humiliation like this.

    The fact that PJM considered Rob Taylor an essential addition to their team as a weekly columnist, but have never offered me such a position — despite my previous contributions — is entirely my fault. It is impossible, according to my worldview, for anyone to be denied anything they genuinely deserve.

    If my work is not praised, it must not be praiseworthy. If am not liked, I have failed to be likeable. If I am not respected, I have not earned respect. And I cannot blame others for my failures, for that would render me entirely helpless to shape my own destiny. To believe that I have any control my own future, I must believe that success can be earned by hard work and discipline. So when I fail, the only explanation is that I have not worked hard enough to succeed.

    Let others engage in scapegoating, projection, envy, self-pity, sour grapes, etc., when they fail — and see how far that gets them. Not me. I absolutely insist on owning my failure, seeing ever loss as a negative verdict on myself. If there is any career opportunity for which I am qualified but fail to achieve, who can I possibly blame but myself? Even if I am as good as or better than another writer, and he gets the position in my stead, this is still my fault in neglecting to call attention to my work. A failure of marketing is still a failure, and how could it be possible that a truly excellent writer might escape notice as such?

    Ergo, it is not Roger Simon’s fault that PJM hired my enemy instead of hiring me. This is a humiliation I richly deserve, having failed to deserve anything better. My enemy has earned the respect and admiration of influential people, and I have not. The blame is entirely mine.

  • http://zillablog.marezilla.com Zilla of the Resistance

    That’s fucked up, Patrick. Stacy’s my friend & he’s been a damned good friend to me. I hereby take back all the nice things I said to you because I felt sorry for you.  If this is your true nature revealed above, then it goes a long way to explain why people weren’t visiting your blog. Yikes.

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    If Rob Taylor ever engaged in any gay bullying, that would be a first. He’s basically a conservative but when it comes to social issues is more of left-of-center. I’ve never seen him be anything but supportive of the gay community in general. He might not agree with all aspects of the gay agenda, but a gay bully? I don’t think so. Swindle might be another matter, I’d never heard of him until this post.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    I quite reading Mr. Simon because of his Leftist proclivities, but there are some grand folks over at PJM.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    I am proudly degenerate!

    You have to be carefully taught ? and I was.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    No, it is not.

    How about this: the folks running PJM, before they even began to consider who to hire, developed a philosophy of how they would run the business and got it wrong.  Operating off this false premise, they have made decisions that [I think] will end up biting them in the arse.

    You see, once they built their faulty premise, they damned themselves to take actions that didn’t, couldn’t, include you because you existed outside of the faulty reality they had created.

    I have no doubt that, after their venture fails and they are sitting around trying to figure out why it did despite how smart they were in designing it, I will be quoting Ayn Rand to them:

    Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think that you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    You can take this self-responsibility thing too far sometimes.

    Now, go have a smoke and crack open a Boy Howdy on me.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    They weren’t visiting because his was a blog filled with nothing but hate [the real kind, not the Leftist definition] and some of us took the prick off our blog rolls and stopped visiting because he dug-up and used the calumnies hurled at Stacy by the Left.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    Good stuff and good people be there in The Commune.

  • http://zillablog.marezilla.com Zilla of the Resistance

    See, this is where being a relatively new blogger sometimes trips me up, as I am not privy to many of the blog wars that happened before I started hanging out with y’all. Thank you for the information, Bob, it certainly explains a lot!

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    You’re welcome, Zilla.

  • DaveO

    Who? I don’t support Communists.

  • http://conservativecommune.com Joy W. McCann

    It’s Swindle to whom I referred.

  • http://profiles.google.com/dianna.deeley Dianna Deeley

    Of course not – but some people insist on attributing views and beliefs to others. It’s easier and allows a sort of shorthand.

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  • http://aconservativelesbian.com Cynthia Yockey

    Cynthia is here. I was one of Stacy’s first defenders rallying the right blogosphere to his defense during the LGF meltdown. Last month, I had a financial crisis and Stacy’s post asking his readers to donate to me brought in the most donations and saved me from disaster. 

    Regarding Hollywood and gay equality — based on how few gay characters there are in TV and movies and how few stories with lesbian or gay characters get produced, Hollywood is the gay-hating capital of the U.S.

    This all reminds me of a couple of episodes of “Sex and the City.” In one, Carrie is left alone in a new boyfriend’s apartment and gets very anxious over a locked box she finds. She eventually breaks into it and finds everything in it is completely innocuous. But the boyfriend dumps her for violating his privacy. Similarly, Charlotte goes berserk because a man isn’t returning her phone messages. The reason why turns out to be very innocent of any fell intentions. Stacy would have been better served calling both David and Roger with his concerns. If he’d treated it like he was reporting a news story, he would have gotten confirmation of whether or not his suppositions were true. I still hope he does that.

  • http://aconservativelesbian.com Cynthia Yockey

    Stacy, the gay agenda is simple equality: everything the same as for heterosexuals, including the right to choose the spouse for whom we feel both love and sexual attraction.

    And the gay rights movement is an inalienable rights movement, not a civil rights movement. For one thing, it is the right not to have someone else’s religion imposed on us through force by a secular government. Gay equality is analogous to the right to choose one’s religion, however ridiculous, repugnant or blasphemous it may be to people of other religions. 

  • Quartermaster

    I’ve seen much the same type of behavior over at Horowitz’s Frontpage. Horowitz hasn’t purged all the leftism from his system and as a result can defame Auster as a racist all the while patting Dershowitz (a plagiarist and liar) on the back.

  • Quartermaster

    Just don’t give them any money. Eventually the good people will find a better roost, and the lefties will go back to where they really belong.