Do you boys want me to pull this goddamn internet over? Because I sweardagod I will pull it over right now! Do not test me. I will stop the whole internet right here and end you all.
[An imagine of my mom just popped into my head: Trying to steer the car with one hand, swerving all over the road, while she flails her arm in the back seat trying to smack us around… and we’d laugh our heads off, while she got more pissed off trying to make contact. This was before booster seats and seat belts, so we could ninja. God, that was funny. I am about to become my mother, so hold onto your hat.]
I’m glad to see Danny back – especially since I invited him back. I didn’t just invite him, I badgered him. (Yeah, tell me with a straight face you’re not glad he indulged me.)
Our vision here is not incompatible with the By the Big Bookers’ vision, in so far as we both take serious issue with AA (or as Danny calls it, Pop-AA). We get tangled with semantics: we (meaning us) call AA “AA,” while they don’t… they want us to mean their AA when we say AA, but they don’t mean their AA when they say it either, except when they know what they mean. So, whatever. We know what we mean. They know what we mean. We know what they mean… I don’t know why we hassle about that. No, well, I know why. But, still, we’re on the same page.
AA and the 12-step treatment industry (which are incestuous) is an unholy clusterfuck, that ruins countless lives, subjects vulnerable people to the abuse and whims, bad advice and opportunism of their unqualified, untrained, arbitrary sponsors, and other predatory members. The 12-Step treatment industry has a monopoly, and it depends mightily on its own failure and “all-comers” policy for its bottom line. Not only that, but AA tends to turn people into fascistic, passive-aggressive, slogan-spewing scolds with no capacity for critical thought.
And because AA refuses to make its self accountable, and therefore doesn’t actually exist as anything you can talk about (very convenient), except as a corporate entity concerned with its copyrights and brand name (wait, no, it’s because of its generous hands-off philosophy…), it’s not likely that it’s going to do a fearless moral inventory of itself anytime soon. What the Big Bookers (including Danny, Cuda and Jim – who make an occasional appearance) bring to the table is as close as I’ve ever seen to a 4th step. They are the AA members willing to speak out about AA’s current incarnation, but no AA member can speak for the whole, so these guys are flapping in the wind, entirely unsupported.
If AA looked like what the By the Big Bookers envision, we’d have no reason for a blog. Philosophically speaking, I take issue with the 12-Steps, but I take issue with a lot of things that I don’t feel motivated to verbally stomp around about. Like religion, for instance, or politics, or Goths (“Oh help! There’s a real undead spawn of Beelzebub working at the Starbucks!”) You know, I might have an opinion, but I’m not going to dedicate a blog to it. I am passionate about this subject, and I’ve got a good reason to be.
Based on what I see in the list of search terms that people use to find our blog, I know that our visitors are righteously pissed off about their experiences in AA. And those are precisely the people we’re here for. They are why we created this blog. But, there’s no censorship on Stinkin’ Thinkin (unless you pull a McGowdog and cut/paste the same 3 words over and over again for a half an hour straight and then hit “post” when you get a hand cramp – in which case we will probably just edit you down a bit so that people can get the gist of your argument without having to take a nap on the scroll button. McGowdog might hate our guts, but it’s not because we didn’t let him speak his mind or give him a fair shake.). What I mean is that the floor is yours. You will never be deleted. Speak your piece.
But, I’d also like to keep this place accessible to debate – because I love a debate. I love an enormous, wide-ranging, in-and-out of topic debate that no one can follow, full of semantic nit-picking and pissy meltdowns. So, if you’re up for a debate, this is the place.
The only rule (suggestion?) I have is that we put the immediate kibosh on the ad hominem attacks. As far as I’m concerned, ad hominem attacks are censorship, and I’m against it. They utterly ignore the matter at hand. Instead of addressing the point, you question the character, sanity, sobriety (I know we get that one a lot – we do what we do because we failed AA, etc), honesty, motivation, intelligence, maturity, etc. of the person you take issue with. Not only that, but deflecting an argument with a personal attack demeans one’s own position. I do not want it ever to be said that we can’t stand our ground on the merits of our position. We can and we do, and we do it very well.
If someone can come over here and convinced me that I’m thoroughly misguided, I don’t want to miss the opportunity to have my ass handed to me. I can take it. If it doesn’t kill me, it will make me stronger. And I will concede a point in a heartbeat, if I can see how I flawed my research or that my logic is off, because it gives me the opportunity to either back up my position, or let go of a flawed position. I also don’t want to miss the opportunity to hand someone their ass. But if I go after my opponent personally, I’ve automatically lost. That is, of course, unless I’m arguing with someone who really is an irredeemable asshole, in which case all bets are off.
I realize that my lecture has the potential to alienate our readers and our awesome commenters (and please let it be known that I am speaking strictly for myself here, not the whole Stinkin’ Thinkin’ outfit – MA and Speedy have their own policies, and I don’t know if they jibe with mine or not – we’re a loosely organized, ha ha, etc.) If you’re going to ad homimen, you won’t be censored – you will just be contributing to the gestalt here. Can we field it or not? I feel strongly enough about this thing that I’m willing to risk pissing everyone off. While ST has a clear bias, a solid position, and an agenda, which I will never apologize for or compromise, this blog is still not a “safe place” for anyone, meaning that we’re all subject to the court of opinion. And I love the court of public opinion.
You will notice, as Speedy brought up in my “Call for Submissions” post, that most AA/12-Step sites will not subject themselves to the court of public opinion. That’s one of those things that make you go, “Hmmm.” They’re king of the hill, the Gold Standard, and they can’t field an argument? They don’t want a challenge? They don’t want anyone getting any ideas? They feel persecuted?
That’s not us. We can field our arguments, because they make sense, no sweat.
So, this is a formal and public invitation to Danny S., Real Live Recovered Alcoholic to bring it. And also a formal and public invitation to our readers and commenters to give it back.