Correspondence with
Tampa Bay Mensa
Sounding Editor Tom Thomas

By John "Birdman" Bryant

 

To: Thomas George Thomas, editor, Tampa Bay Sounding (FardleBear@aol.com)
From: John 'Birdman' Bryant
Re: TBM: Open letter to Sounding editor - for publication as letter or article
Date: January 23, 2005

Dear Tom:

I noticed your 'Editor's Introduction' in the Jan 2005 issue of the Tampa Bay Sounding which said that, as the new Sounding editor, you intended to retain the old Submission Guidelines. These state, among other things, that

"Personal attacks and bigoted, sexist, hateful or otherwise offensive material will not be published."

Now the meaning I get out of this is that the Sounding is to be politically correct, which is to say that the following rules shall govern:

* Critical, negative or hateful statements about the following groups will not be tolerated: Blacks, Jews, Hispanics, Indians ("native Americans"), women, the handicapped.

* Critical, negative or hateful statements about whites, the Confederacy or Christianity are perfectly acceptable.

* Critical, negative or hateful statements about other races, ethnicities, religions or groups may sometimes be acceptable, depending on various considerations. For example, it is ok to denounce Arabs and Islamics for being 'terrorists', but it is not ok to object when Islamics take over a community and want to blast a call to prayer at 6 AM over the local mosque's loudspeakers, or point out that it is white middle-class Americans, and not swarthy Middle East types, whose anuses are probed for explosives at airports by Homeland Insecurity, since the latter might be considered 'profiling'. As another example, it is ok to criticize Poles for erecting Christian crosses at Auschwitz, but not ok to tell Polish jokes. As a third example, it is ok to (mildly) criticize the Chinese for being communists, for selling the organs of newly-executed prisoners for transplants, or having slave labor camps (laogai) that fill Wal-Mart with cheap stuffed animals and nasal hair clippers, but not ok to call them Chinks, make fun of their sing-songy language, or point out their propensity for recycling fetuses by the oral route. As a fourth example, it is ok to criticize the Japanese for not opening their borders to non- Japanese or creating restaurants with Hitler themes, but not ok to criticize them for their outrageous cruelty to POWs in WW2.

So if you are going to retain the old Submission Guidelines, I would really like to see you write a defense of them. Or if you should by some miracle agree with me that they are indefensible, then I would like to see you make explicit exactly what is forbidden and what is acceptable. But in either case, I would like to see you address the following points:

* The original purpose of Mensa was to bring together 'the best and the brightest' in hopes that this would catalyze productive discussions (and maybe even solutions) of the problems of the world. So why is it that a huge chunk of the world's problems -- those of race, ethnicity, sexuality and other groups -- is forbidden to be discussed? What I mean by this is that 'discussion' implies the airing of both sides, but TBS allows the airing of only ONE side.

* Why is it ok for the officers of Tampa Bay Mensa to post outrageous lies and smears about me on the TBM website, as they have done for several years, while at the same time never allowing me equivalent opportunity to reply? You can see the relevant post by clicking on the link to my website from the "Members' Websites" section of the TBM website, found at

http://tampa.us.mensa.org/membersites.php

That is, why is it ok for TBM to keep an outrageous personal attack on me permanently posted, but not allow me to respond in the Sounding or anywhere else?

* The supposed motivation of political correctness is to keep from hurting people's feelings. (It's much more than that, but space prevents a proper discussion.) But if one is forbidden from hurting people's feelings (except for mine and those of others who are politically incorrect), then that means there are truths one is forbidden to tell. So why is it that avoiding hurting people's feelings is more important than telling the truth? (It may be that you would respond to the above by answering that political correctness IS true, and anything which contradicts it is not. But that, of course, is only your opinion, and since there is no way to distinguish truth in any absolute sense, every declaration that something is true (false) must be a sotto voce declaration that it is true (false) in the  declarer's opinion. Which is to say that one person's declaration that political correctness is true (right, etc) has no more claim to 'absolute' truth than a claim that it is false (wrong, etc).

* Can you divine why the outrageous treatment I have received at the hands of the Powers-That-Be in TBM have not caused them to be tried and expelled from Mensa? I outline the full case in my book

Political Correctness, Censorship and Liberal-Jewish Strongarm Tactics in High-IQ/Low-Morals Mensa: A Case Study

which I have now placed online for all to read at the following URL:

http://www.thebirdman.org/Index/TBM/TBM-Bkmensa.html

Many of the persons responsible for the abuses I suffered still hold office in TBM, and for this reason the story should make interesting reading for their friends and acquaintances. This is especially true in light of the recent catfight between Mary Matthews and Maxine Kuschner, both of whom are first-order assholes and who have been involved in my case in one capacity or another. (FYI, a piece on the conflict written by Matthews can be found at http://www.extremelysmart.com/resignation.php )

* Will you publish this letter in the Sounding, and if not, will you tell me why?

To give you a bit of personal background, I run a website, www.thebridman.org, which was begun precisely because of the abuse which I received in Mensa. It is now one of the most popular websites in the world, with 11,000 unique visitors and 3/4 million hits per month, and an Alexa rank that has generally varied from 20,000 to 60,000 out of an estimated 40 million websites worldwide. From these stats, it is clear the political correctees and the enemies of free speech made a mistake when they tried to censor me, as my work has now reached hundreds of thousands of people who would never have seen it. But besides this, the stats also indicate that the issues I am dealing with are of great interest to the people of the world. In particular, they seem to strike an especially resonant chord in Europeans who have now mostly lost their legal right to discuss these issues -- a fact which would make me subject to a long jail term should I set foot on the European continent, as several people I know already have been.

I am waiting for an apology from both national Mensa and Tampa Bay Mensa for the rotten treatment I have received from both. I will probably never receive that apology, but I will stick around and continue to make my case in my unwanted but forcibly commissioned role as the Conscience of Mensa. Battles over censorship and suppression of ideas are hardly new in the world, and this is but another one, but it is an important battle because it is being carried on among the world's supposedly-smartest people who nevertheless seem to exhibit no smarts at all in this particular case. The battle is also important because political correctness is a mass delusion which our country -- and indeed, the entire Western world -- is foundering on, and will soon break up as a result of unless some of the smart people get a grip on reality and bring it to a halt.

You have a chance to do something, Tom. You probably won't, because you probably don't have the courage to buck the TBM Establishment. (Indeed, you may even be politically correct yourself.) But you have a shot, Tom, and I hope you'll take it. It might just start an avalanche that will bury political correctness under the pile of shit that it is.

-Birdman

PS: Am I correct that your AOL handle is a reference to that line in Hamlet, "For who would fardels bear, to grunt and sweat under a weary life ..."? If you like Shakespeare, you might be interested in my book Better  Than Shakespeare. You will find it described on my site (www.thebirdman.org) under "John Bryant's 40 Books".

 

[Tom responds:]

John,

I apologize for not getting back to you sooner; I've been recovering from eye surgery and am back on the task of assembling the March Sounding.

I have chosen not to include your letter in the upcoming Sounding, for a variety of reasons, which I hope to make clear in this response.

First, it is apparent from the content that your letter stems from an ongoing conflict between yourself and some current and former members of the ExComm. I do not choose to become involved with this conflict. If at some point you have an issue with me, or with actions I take, I will respond to that, but I will not take sides in something that started before I got here.

Second, the letter lacks focus on a particular point, any of which may or may not be appropriate for discussion, but grouped together they come across more as a frontal assault than discussion points.

I will, however, respond directly to you as thoughtfully as I can under my time constraints, since you did take the effort to bring these points to my attention.

[The remainder of Tom's letter is Birdman's first letter interleaved with Tom's comments. However, Tom often ran his comments together with Birdman's text, so we have omitted this confusing jumble in favor of an un-jumbled copy that includes Birdman's responses to Tom's responses and appears in the next letter below:]

 

[Birdman replies:]

Tom:

This is an overview-type response to your rejection of my letter submitted for publication. I have responded to particular points of your letter in the copy that follows this letter.

If there is any one thing my first letter was intended to say, it is the following:

First, one cannot say anything significant about the problems of the world without being offensive to at least some people. So any forum which bans offensive statements is going to end up saying ... NOTHING!

Second, the ostensible purpose of Mensa is to bring together 'the best and the brightest' with the implicit if not explicit purpose of focusing on -- and perhaps solving -- the world's problems.

Third, the editorial guidelines of the Sounding make it impossible to discuss huge areas of the world's problems, because of the ban on statements which are negative, critical, etc. This includes many problems concerning races, groups, and the like, but from your letter it also sounds like it includes pretty much any kind of negative or critical statement.

Conclusion: Not only do the submission guidelines undermine the ostensible purpose of Mensa, but they guarantee that the Sounding will be a useless piece of butt-wipe. Now it seems to me that, as editor of the Sounding, you would want to be in charge of something which is more than butt-wipe -- something that people would notice, comment on, discuss over coffee and in Internet forums, something that would make people say, Hey, there goes Tom Thomas, the Sounding editor! As an editor myself of one of the world's most popular websites, thebirdman.org, I delight in the intense interest which people have in my site. For example, hardly a week goes by when I don't get a letter telling me how great my site is, and also hardly a week goes by that I don't get a letter telling me what an awful person I am for having the temerity to put it up. In other words, my site is a swirling cauldron of intellectual ferment -- everything that a Mensa site ought to be. You, on the other hand, seem determined to have a publication which will never attract anything more than a few silly pieces from women or castrati [REPLACE WITH: certain groups that the editor refuses to be named]. The only possible respite from this is you may get some liberal hit/hate pieces denouncing people like me or ideas which I deal with, which, judging from your comments, you will have no hesitation in publishing.

OK, so now I have laid it out for you as to what your PERSONAL interest is in getting rid of the old Sounding guidelines. But there is also a SOCIAL interest, ie, the fact that problems can't be solved unless they are 'cussed and discussed'. Let me put it this way, Tom. Why do you suppose that my website -- with absolutely no advertising whatsoever -- now has 11,000 unique visitors and 3/4 million hits per month? I'll tell you why, Tom: Because people are CHOKING TO DEATH on political correctness and other forms of Establishment misbehavior. They want to see someone who lays out the facts, and that means telling the truth, and letting the cow chips fall where they may. Because you can't tell the truth -- you can't state the facts -- without hurting SOMEBODY'S feelings.

But it's not just that more and more people are getting as mad as hell and aren't going to take it anymore. It's that the entire Western world is falling down around our ears even as I speak, and we are at the eleventh hour as far as doing something about it is concerned. I could enumerate dozens of aspects of this situation for you, many with heavy racial overtones -- but since they are already discussed in detail and thoroughly documented on my webpage, I will leave you to research them on your own should your curiosity somehow get the better of you.

Now let me point out to you a very elementary rule of human interaction: IF SOMEBODY DOESN'T WANT YOU TO KNOW SOMETHING, THAT MEANS THAT THEY HAVE SOMETHING TO HIDE. So why do you think, Tom, that the Establishment, from Mensa to the government, and everything in between -- is promoting political correctness, ie, censorship of information about races and groups? The answer, Tom, is obvious: SOMEBODY IS HIDING SOMETHING. Even YOU ought to be able to figure that out. And it's not just here in America -- it's in Canada, Australia, and in virtually every country in Europe, ie, the entire Western world. In fact, it is much worse outside the US, because I would be in prison for my website if I didn't live in America. In fact, several people I know HAVE been in prison or are presently incarcerated for saying just the kinds of things I say.

So if America is the last bastion of freedom of speech -- and at the current rate, perhaps not even that for very long -- it seems that, if you place any value on freedom, you might just want to take some effort to preserve it. In fact, you are in a position to make a difference -- a small difference, but nevertheless a difference. And yet you are just going along with the tide of censorship. In fact, you don't even seem bothered by the fact that you yourself are censored -- my website is blocked at your work. Sure, you 'justify' it by saying that it is a private company, etc, etc, etc, but the fact is, there are things people don't want you to know, and this is the way they try to keep you from knowing them. And you go along with it! So cooperative you are! And maybe when they get ready to take you to one of the Camps (there are 600 in the US at this moment), you will serve them tea and crumpets before you leave!

There's a lot more I could say, Tom, but I will just conclude this letter by recapping what I have already said: There is a clear choice between being nice and telling the truth, and specifically, telling the vital truths that need to be told if Western civilization is not to go 'the way of all flush'. And there are people -- very powerful people -- who don't want these truths told. But even if you don't see the big picture, Tom, you ought to be able to see the little one, which is that you are going against the fundamental purpose of Mensa, that you are helping to insure that the Sounding will remain a piece of butt-wipe, that you refuse the opportunity to do anything toward righting a moral wrong against me, and that you are willingly if not eagerly helping people who have a lot of nasty stuff to hide. It is not a pretty picture, Tom.

-Birdman
www.thebirdman.org
john@thebirdman.org

PS: How about publishing this letter as a challenge to the Sounding submission guidelines? I ask this on the basis of the following statement in your letter to me:

[begin]

"I do not agree that the Guidelines are indefensible, but if I did it would not matter, as they are also contained in American Mensa's Editor's Handbook. Besides the Guidelines, the handbook specifies that the contents of local newsletters are first and foremost to communicate Mensa announcements, activities, and group reports, and insofar as they meet the guidelines, to print letters, articles and other communication from local members. If you were to present a letter or article that meets the guidelines, I would be obligated to print it. I am also obligated to work with you to modify anything you do submit to help it to comply with these guidelines (as I attempted to do with Ronnie Dubs and the responses to his letter). I hope to get better at this with time."

[end]

Of course the question in deciding whether to print my letter is whether it is 'offensive'. If it is, I would like to know what you consider 'offensive'. My purpose in writing, of course, is to pose a challenge to the Guidelines -- matters of race, ethnicity, etc, are not discussed in this letter, but merely noted; hence cannot be 'offensive'. Is attacking the Guidelines 'offensive'? Note that I put in brackets an alternative wording of something that you would undoubtedly want to censor.

PPS: I have attached your letter with a few brief comments. I begin mine with a line of *********, yours with a line of #########; sometimes my comments are two in a row.

Date: 2/13/05 6:53 PM From: FardleBear@aol.com To: jbryant@lzy.net Copy: Subject: Re: TBM: Open letter to the Sounding editor for publication as letter or arti...

[Begin attached letter with comments:]

John,

I apologize for not getting back to you sooner; I've been recovering from eye surgery and am back on the task of assembling the March Sounding.

I have chosen not to include your letter in the upcoming Sounding, for a variety of reasons, which I hope to make clear in this response.

First, it is apparent from the content that your letter stems from an ongoing conflict between yourself and some current and former members of the ExComm. I do not choose to become involved with this conflict. If at some point you have an issue with me, or with actions I take, I will respond to that, but I will not take sides in something that started before I got here.

Second, the letter lacks focus on a particular point, any of which may or may not be appropriate for discussion, but grouped together they come across more as a frontal assault than discussion points.

I will, however, respond directly to you as thoughtfully as I can under my time constraints, since you did take the effort to bring these points to my attention.

*******************

In a message dated 1/23/2005 6:47:20 AM Eastern Standard Time, jbryant@lzy.net writes:

I noticed your 'Editor's Introduction' in the Jan 2005 issue of the Tampa  Bay Sounding which said that, as the new Sounding editor, you intended to retain the old Submission Guidelines. These state, among other things, that

"Personal attacks and bigoted, sexist, hateful or otherwise offensive material will not be published."

Now the meaning I get out of this is that the Sounding is to be politically correct, which is to say that the following rules shall govern:

* Critical, negative or hateful statements about the following groups will not be tolerated: Blacks, Jews, Hispanics, Indians ("native Americans"), women, the handicapped.

* Critical, negative or hateful statements about whites, the Confederacy or Christianity are perfectly acceptable.

#####################

Your premise is flawed. My interpretation of the guidelines is quite straightforward: Critical, negative or hateful statements about Blacks, Jews, Hispanics, Indians, Native Americans, Women, Handicapped, Whites, Confederates, Christians, Moslems, Buddhists, Republicans, Democrats, Whigs, Americans, Canadians, French, British, Germans, Zoroastrians, Klingons, Eloi, Martians, Alien Lizards and any other group you care to mention will not be tolerated.

Likewise, the same rule will apply to critical, negative or hateful statements about any individual.

This is to be differentiated from critical statements about an action or statement an individual may make, which is fair game. But as soon as you ascribe an action taken by an individual or a subset of a group to the entire group, you run up against the first guideline.

****************

What about discussing the Jewish role in 911?

##################

I would add that the converse is true as well: No group shall be praised to the detriment of any other group, nor may praise of an individual or their actions be taken to apply to a group they are associated with. Besides, this would be a flawed affiliation, since no individual belongs to only one group.

**************

What about pointing out that blacks make up 85% of the NBA?

****************

* Critical, negative or hateful statements about other races, ethnicities, religions or groups may sometimes be acceptable, depending on various considerations. For example, it is ok to denounce Arabs and Islamics for being 'terrorists', but it is not ok to object when Islamics take over a community and want to blast a call to prayer at 6 AM over the local mosque's loudspeakers, or point out that it is white middle-class Americans, and not swarthy Middle East types, whose anuses are probed for explosives at airports by Homeland Insecurity, since the latter might be considered 'profiling'. As another example, it is ok to criticize Poles for erecting Christian crosses at Auschwitz, but not ok to tell Polish jokes. As a third example, it is ok to (mildly) criticize the Chinese for being communists, for selling the organs of newly-executed prisoners for transplants, or having slave labor camps (laogai) that fill Wal-Mart with cheap stuffed animals and nasal hair clippers, but not ok to call them Chinks, make fun of their sing-songy language, or point out their propensity for recycling fetuses by the oral route. As a fourth example, it is ok to criticize the Japanese for not opening their borders to non- Japanese or creating restaurants with Hitler themes, but not ok to criticize them for their outrageous cruelty to POWs in WW2.

################

This is where you begin to mix the issues I mentioned above, and one of the reasons I cannot print this letter. I've been unhappy with the tendency of certain pundits to link Arabs and Islamics with terrorism, simply because some Arabs and so-called Moslems engage in terrorism. This is the group being painted with the broad brush of the actions of individuals within the group, and does not consider the fact that there are also Arabs and Moslems who do not subscribe to terrorism. The mosque situation should be handled by the local laws. If such a thing were to occur in the United States, most local noise ordinances would apply, preventing the announcements over a certain decibel level - and since this does not interfere with the individual's right to practice their religion, the noise ordinances would stand, as demonstrated by precedent.

*************

You didn't address my point: What if the moslems become a majority and outvote whites?

################

The discussion of the display of religious symbols is an open and unresolved issue. While I would prefer that the discussion remain dispassionate, it never does. There are valid reasons why certain Christian groups would want to commemorate their losses at Auschwitz, and there are understandable reasons why Jewish groups would feel proprietary about their own losses, which were substantially larger. When people become highly emotional in the debate, there is no room for resolution. I certainly have no answer to this; I don't purport to be Nobel Peace Prize material.

I think you are aware of how deliberately offensive your third point sounds, and I believe you make it only to get a rise out of your audience, as this is one of your explicit objectives as stated on your website. Therefore I won't address it.

I also won't re-fight WW2. Who said outrageous cruelty to any prisoners of war by any nation, including our own, is beyond reproach? It all depends on how you make the complaint, and based on your third example, I suspect you generally get negative reactions to the presentation, not the ideas.

***************

So if you are going to retain the old Submission Guidelines, I would really like to see you write a defense of them. Or if you should by some miracle agree with me that they are indefensible, then I would like to see you make explicit exactly what is forbidden and what is acceptable. But in either case, I would like to see you address the following points:

#################

I do not agree that the Guidelines are indefensible, but if I did it would not matter, as they are also contained in American Mensa's Editor's Handbook. Besides the Guidelines, the handbook specifies that the contents of local newsletters are first and foremost to communicate Mensa announcements, activities, and group reports, and insofar as they meet the guidelines, to print letters, articles and other communication from local members. If you were to present a letter or article that meets the guidelines, I would be obligated to print it. I am also obligated to work with you to modify anything you do submit to help it to comply with these guidelines (as I attempted to do with Ronnie Dubs and the responses to his letter). I hope to get better at this with time.

In any event, as the newsletter bears the Mensa logo and is paid for in part by Mensa funds, my opinion on the validity of the guidelines is irrelevant.

***************

* The original purpose of Mensa was to bring together 'the best and the brightest' in hopes that this would catalyze productive discussions (and maybe even solutions) of the problems of the world. So why is it that a huge chunk of the world's problems -- those of race, ethnicity, sexuality and other groups -- is forbidden to be discussed? What I mean by this is that 'discussion' implies the airing of both sides, but TBS allows the airing of only ONE side.

################

Which side? Besides, while the original purpose of Mensa may be as you stated, it almost immediately changed based on the insurmountable conflict between associating intelligence aptitude with ideological action. As there is no relation between the two, since aptitude for intelligence does not necessarily coincide with the exercise of intelligence, and as there is no central agreed-upon point of view, the organization immediately took the position that it instead takes no position. Members within the organization may take whatever position they like as individuals, but may not present their own position as a Mensa position.

*************

* Why is it ok for the officers of Tampa Bay Mensa to post outrageous lies and smears about me on the TBM website, as they have done for several years, while at the same time never allowing me equivalent opportunity to reply? You can see the relevant post by clicking on the link to my website from the "Members' Websites" section of the TBM website, found at

http://tampa.us.mensa.org/membersites.php

That is, why is it ok for TBM to keep an outrageous personal attack on me permanently posted, but not allow me to respond in the Sounding or anywhere else?

##################

The website has not been substantially updated since Mary Matthews resigned as Webspinner. Until you brought it to my attention, I was not aware of the page in question. There are now a couple of people working on revising the site, and the question of warnings on links is being addressed. It has been proposed that since we obviously cannot police websites that are not housed on the Mensa site, that there be a general caution notice placed on the Member Links page as a disclaimer that Mensa does not necessarily support the views expressed by the members on their sites.

If there are substantiated complaints about a particular website, as there were in your case, then a second standard warning will be put in place bahind their link. The warning would be non-specific in nature, simply noting that complaints have been received and investigated and that the person going to that site acknowledge that they are aware they will be viewing potentially offensive material and giving them the option to decline to proceed.

************

Doesn't this strike you as a bit silly, as well as insulting to even an average person's intelligence? People on the Net are exposed to all kinds of 'offensive' material. Porn is the biggest category, but the Net is the Wild West of information, and telling someone to 'be careful here' is patronizing of the most offensive sort, speaking of offense. Of course what you are really doing is generating an excuse to keep up the 'warning' sign on my website, is it not, Tom?

############

The investigation process is necessary so as to filter out frivolous complaints. For example, I had expressed that for my part I am offended by an overabundance of kittens and bunnies on someone's site (and I'm not kidding), since it seems awfully childish and precious and a waste of my time - but this sort of complaint would not result in a warning, no matter how many people raised it. Since you state up-front on your site that your goal is to be offensive, I'm sure you can have no quarrel with this approach.

***********

You confuse existence with intention. I don't intend to be offensive, but people are often offended by free speech. Can you see the difference, Tom?

*************

* The supposed motivation of political correctness is to keep from hurting people's feelings. (It's much more than that, but space prevents a proper discussion.) But if one is forbidden from hurting people's feelings (except for mine and those of others who are politically incorrect), then that means there are truths one is forbidden to tell. So why is it that avoiding hurting people's feelings is more important than telling the truth? (It may be that you would respond to the above by answering that political correctness IS true, and anything which contradicts it is not. But that, of course, is only your opinion, and since there is no way to distinguish truth in any absolute sense, every declaration that something is true (false) must be a sotto voce declaration that it is true (false) in the declarer's opinion. Which is to say that one person's declaration that political correctness is true (right, etc) has no more claim to 'absolute' truth than a claim that it is false (wrong, etc).

#############

I'm not clear on the relevance of this point. It is possible to tell a truth without hurting people's feelings; it's just that many people feel it is a waste of their time to make the effort.

*********

It might be possible to say that water freezes at 32 degrees F without offense; but it is often not possible to say that there was heavy Jewish involvement in 911 without offense. Is it clear to you now?

##########

In this, I disagree. Besides, there are shades of truth. For example, the statement that an event is scheduled at a particular place at a particular time is an objective truth.

***********

The Six Million is an objective falsehood. But I take it that you would never let me discuss why this is in the Sounding.

#############

The statement that Writer X intends to put forth a radical agenda or speaks for a nation is a subjective truth, in that it is an extrapolation of the perception of the speaker. To illustrate: One person may say that George W. Bush speaks for America; another with more validity that George W. Bush speaks for the slight majority of voters who entered the polls and voted for him, another with more validity that George W. Bush speaks for his constituency (the extent of which is open for discussion), and with even more validity may say that George W. Bush speaks for George W. Bush - and even this is subjective, since it can only be applied to the specific statement made at a specific time, and makes the further assumption that George W. Bush is actually expressing his own statement and not one that he has agreed to read but does not personally agree with.

*************

* Can you divine why the outrageous treatment I have received at the hands of the Powers-That-Be in TBM have not caused them to be tried and expelled from Mensa? I outline the full case in my book

Political Correctness, Censorship and Liberal-Jewish Strongarm Tactics in High-IQ/Low-Morals Mensa: A Case Study

which I have now placed online for all to read at the following URL:

http://www.thebirdman.org/Index/TBM/TBM-Bkmensa.html

Many of the persons responsible for the abuses I suffered still hold office in TBM, and for this reason the story should make interesting reading for their friends and acquaintances. This is especially true in light of the recent catfight between Mary Matthews and Maxine Kuschner, both of whom are first-order assholes and who have been involved in my case in one capacity or another. (FYI, a piece on the conflict written by Matthews can be found at http://www.extremelysmart.com/resignation.php )

##############

I received Mary's letter when she resigned, and have had subsequent correspondence with both Mary and Maxine. I will not take sides; it is not my argument. Each of them has made statements I agree with, and each has made statements I disagree with. And each has warned me about the other. I will keep my own counsel rather than get in the middle. But similarly, your issue with some of the members of the ExComm are between yourself and those individuals. I choose not to take sides, and therefore, with no disrespect intended, have chosen not to read your book on the matter so as not to get bogged down with events I have no firsthand knowledge of or participation in.

I suspect that if there was an avenue to have certain members expelled, you would have already taken it. I'm not going to revisit the topic.

*************

* Will you publish this letter in the Sounding, and if not, will you tell me why?

#############

I hope I have made myself clear. If you were to focus on a topic, and address that topic under the guidelines, I will work with you to print your letter or article. The grand sweep of this letter seemed too broad, and the tone much more personal than would be appropriate for the Sounding.

*************

To give you a bit of personal background, I run a website, www.thebirdman.org, which was begun precisely because of the abuse which I received in Mensa. It is now one of the most popular websites in the world, with 11,000 unique visitors and 3/4 million hits per month, and an Alexa rank that has generally varied from 20,000 to 60,000 out of an estimated 40 million websites worldwide. From these stats, it is clear the political correctees and the enemies of free speech made a mistake when they tried to censor me, as my work has now reached hundreds of thousands of people who would never have seen it. But besides this, the stats also indicate that the issues I am dealing with are of great interest to the people of the world. In particular, they seem to strike an especially resonant chord in Europeans who have now mostly lost their legal right to discuss these issues -- a fact which would make me subject to a long jail term should I set foot on the European continent, as several people I know already have been.

#############

I visited your website, though it was not a simple matter to do so - it is, for example, on the forbidden list at my place of employment based on the content. (Since a private employer is not a government entity, this violates no censorship laws.) I'm curious, though: based on what I saw on your site when I finally got there, I'm not certain which part of the warning page you consider a personal lie or smear. It seemed merely descriptive of what you yourself admitted to on your site.

*************

For starters, please tell me where you saw me advocate rape. In fact, please tell me where you see ANYONE advocating rape.

****************

I am waiting for an apology from both national Mensa and Tampa Bay Mensa for the rotten treatment I have received from both. I will probably never receive that apology, but I will stick around and continue to make my case in my unwanted but forcibly commissioned role as the Conscience of Mensa. Battles over censorship and suppression of ideas are hardly new in the world, and this is but another one, but it is an important battle because it is being carried on among the world's supposedly-smartest people who nevertheless seem to exhibit no smarts at all in this particular case. The battle is also important because political correctness is a mass delusion which our country -- and indeed, the entire Western world -- is foundering on, and will soon break up as a result of unless some of the smart people get a grip on reality and bring it to a halt.

##############

Anytime someone brings up "political correctness" as a catchphrase, I have to wonder what in particular they are really responding to. It's gotten to the point where it has no real meaning of its own. I've already stated what I mean by it. If the definition you provided at the beginning of your letter is what you refer to, then we are not in the same debate.

**********

I use the phrase as it is commonly used: Suppression of the discussion of negative aspects of races, groups, ethnicities, 'minorities', etc. If you proposed another meaning, I didn't catch it.

**************

You have a chance to do something, Tom. You probably won't, because you probably don't have the courage to buck the TBM Establishment. (Indeed, you may even be politically correct yourself.) But you have a shot, Tom, and I hope you'll take it. It might just start an avalanche that will bury political correctness under the pile of shit that it is.

#############

Interesting approach. You challenge me to take an action by taking unmotivated potshots directly at me.

Aside from the fact that I don't respond well to that approach, I will reiterate my earlier point: The Tampa Bay Sounding is a publication of Mensa, governed by guidelines provided by Mensa, paid for with funds from Mensa. I have less control than you seem to think. The approach you suggest would guarantee that the issue I produce would be my last, and that one would never reach the subscribers.

************

-Birdman

PS: Am I correct that your AOL handle is a reference to that line in Hamlet, "For who would fardels bear, to grunt and sweat under a weary life ..."? If you like Shakespeare, you might be interested in my book Better  Than Shakespeare. You will find it described on my site (www.thebirdman.org) under "John Bryant's 40 Books".

#############

Yes, that is the source of the name, thank you for noticing. It is deliberately mispelled in the screenname, since as you know the definition of fardels is burdens and I don't wish to carry one (or to be one). I performed in a production of Hamlet once where I was presented with a teddy bear which I named Fardles. At the time, AOL only allowed a ten-character screen name, so the "s" was banished.

I think Shakespeare (or whoever wrote the works that bear his name) was reasonably talented. I'd rather hear from someone more objective before considering the idea that you were better.

*********

If you bother to read the description of the book on my website, you will find TWO people who have acknowledged that, yes, I am 'Better than Shakespeare'. Is that objective enuf for you?

##############

Given the context, I'm sure you can understand that I couldn't consider you either objective or humble enough to be a reliable source on the topic, and besides, I already have an extremely full reading list, having spent thousands of dollars on books I haven't had time to read yet.

Regards,

Thomas

PS: As you have an interest in Offense as an aesthetic device, are you familiar with Peter Handke's play "Offending The Audience"? It's a fascinating study in actually doing what the title purports, without including anything overtly offensive, but which as a whole rarely fails to enrage large portions of the spectators even though they were warned upfront by the title.

 

[Tom responds:]

There is one point on which we must have agreement before any of the rest of the dialogue matters: What is the purpose of the Sounding?

My statement is that the Sounding is first and foremost to disseminate event notices and news from Mensa, and secondly to represent Mensa to the membership and to the public.

Your purpose is to create a debate and to enrage people. It would be disingenuous of you to deny this.

The two purposes are not compatible, as the debate you wish to raise would present Mensa in a negative light to the membership and the public.

I saw no effort to make the changes I suggested to make your letter (or article) workable in the Sounding. If you are not going to make that effort, I see no point in continuing to make the effort to assist you in being published.

You may wish to debate the topic, but the Sounding is not the place for the debate. I believe you would find the same resistance if you were to send letters of this nature to the Mensa Bulletin. What you would not get is a response such as the one I sent you, and since you chose to pick and choose what to respond to in my letter (did you happen to read the section on straw man debate techniques in this month's Sounding?), there isn't really room to discuss this. I certainly don't have time for it; at the moment I have a magazine to put out.

What I have done is attempted in the ExComm meeting to have any comments on the disclaimer/warning pages on the TBM website removed if they can be reasonably interpreted as personal. I regret that you feel this is insufficient, but as I stated before, this is your argument, not mine, and I will not get in the middle of it. My stance was that whatever action we take should be taken equally for all, and I have to say I met much resistance to this in your particular case. This should come as no surprise to you, and in fact it seems to please you. I would imagine you could even be grateful to Mensa for motivating you to start your website where so many people who would not have seen your message would have access to it. Granted, this was an unforeseen result, but unrelated to Mensa objectives.

 

[Birdman replies:]

Now at last we are getting somewhere.

First you say that you will publish letters which meet the Guidelines, and that you have an obligation to work with writers to make their letters meet those Guidelines. Quote:

"I do not agree that the Guidelines are indefensible, but if I did it would not matter, as they are also contained in American Mensa's Editor's Handbook. Besides the Guidelines, the handbook specifies that the contents of local newsletters are first and foremost to communicate Mensa announcements, activities, and group reports, and insofar as they meet the guidelines, to print letters, articles and other communication from local members. If you were to present a letter or article that meets the guidelines, I would be obligated to print it. I am also obligated to work with you to modify anything you do submit to help it to comply with these guidelines (as I attempted to do with Ronnie Dubs and the responses to his letter). I hope to get better at this with time."

But then, confronted with a letter that meets the Guidelines, plus your additional criterion of 'Focus', you won't post it. Or if it doesn't meet the Guidelines, you certainly have not pointed to anything that is incompatible with them (Do I notice an absence of 'working with someone to satisfy the Guidelines' here?). Beyond this, it is quite irrelevant what my motives are (or what you think they are) -- motives are not mentioned in the Guidelines. It is equally irrelevant whether you and I agree on the purpose of the Sounding. That's not in the Guidelines either.

And on top of that, you make such amazing statements as chiding me for 'picking and choosing' the things I responded to in your letter (I did, because those were the only things I had a response to) and declaring that the Sounding is not the place to debate the guidelines for the Sounding. (Well tell me, Tommy-boy, where shall we debate them? In Harry's Bar or Martha's Whorehouse?)

Back in the days when I was growing up, they called the kind of behavior you are exhibiting 'lying', 'hypocrisy' and 'not keeping your word'. Do you have any more accurate terms?

I thought not.

 

[Tom responds]

I was not confronted with a letter that met my guidelines. Your second letter did not, and you know it.

 

[Birdman replies:]

I am still waiting for you to point out what in my letter is incompatible with the Guidelines.

 

[Tom responds:]

Briefly, because I spent a lot of time on my first letter to you and you have deliberately chosen to miss the point:

1: The letter is personal, in that it talks to me personally about what I should do - the way it is written does not apply to the general interest of Mensa, and would result in more people tossing it aside than if I didn't print it. If I alienate you, that's one reader lost. If I print you, that's a couple of hundred readers lost. My opinion, but of course you understand about strong opinions, since you are rather forceful with your own.

2. It is deliberately offensive. A statement like "the Sounding will be a useless piece of butt-wipe" - which you repeat - is beneath a purported intellectual, and is intended to be provocative, not informative.

3. It has no context. Without printing the first letter, people miss the context of the second, which means I would have to print the first letter - and my response - to provide that context. You would have to start over to make it a stand-alone letter.

4. It is self-promotional. You spend a lot of time talking about your website.

5. It is overlong. It would be disproportionate to the main purpose of the newsletter, which is to disseminate news.

There is more, but I said I would be brief - you are wasting my time.

John, I was advised by people you have dealt with before not to respond to you at all. I saw from your website that you were probably not going to be cooperative. But I gave you the benefit of the doubt because I have no history with you. You are bringing your past history with the organization and throwing it in my face, and I will not play along. I originally responded in the hope that the experience you have had with others were simple clashes of personality and that you might be reasonable. I appear to have been mistaken.

I will not respond to any more challenges from you. If you have anything else you wish to publish, send it. I will respond only if it is acceptable, but will not waste time on back-and-forth with you unless you show a legitimate interest in abiding by the guidelines.

The place to challenge the guidelines would be the National Office, by the way. I have been notified - a little too late, unfortunately - that you already attempted this and failed.

 

[Birdman replies:]

All I can say, Tom, is that at each new exchange of correspondence between us, new barriers seem to grow up to my letter being acceptable for publication. Now it has suddenly become 'overlong', 'personal', 'deliberately offensive', 'self-promotional' and so forth -- none of which is mentioned in the Guidelines, with the possible exception of the second. And beyond this, to keep your butt out of any further fire, you are 'not going to communicate further'. Right, Tom. And you are going to remain, as you were before, a lying, hypocritical, word-breaking SOB, to say nothing of a shill and water-carrier for the forces that are taking our country and Western civilization down the toilet. Thank you, Tom, for revealing yourself unambiguously so that all can see.

PS: I will be posting our correspondence permanently on my website, unless you object to having your side of the correspondence posted, in which case I will simply post MY side. But if you object to my posting your side, that will of course mean that you are ashamed of what you said, and your refusal to post will stand as an acknowledgement that you got your butt whipped.

It's your call, Tommie-boy.

[Tom responds:]

I see nothing to be ashamed of, but I make it a matter of standard practice
that a private correspondence remain private. Therefore I request that you
do not post my emails to you on your website. I have no control over the
conclusions you draw from this, as you have already demonstrated a giddy
eagerness to misrepresent anyone you disagree with.

 

[Birdman replies to Tom's demand that his correspendence not be posted:]

That's right Tommie-boy -- hide your shame behind your 'standard practice that private correspondence remain private'. But Tommie-boy, our correspondence ISN'T private -- it's gonna be right up there on the web where all yr friends can see it. Except they won't see your stupidity, your ignorance, your foolishness, your lying, your hypocrisy, your failure to keep your word -- just my reactions to it. And of all the gall -- accusing me of 'giddy eagerness' to misrepresent those I disagree with -- why not only is that a bald-faced lie, but in this case it is YOU who are suppressing your own correspondence, so if there is any misrepresentation, it is YOU that is responsible.

Really, Tommie-boy, it is hard to believe that anyone would sink so low as you and the other political correctees over at the TBM shitpile. You and they are frightened to death of being called 'racist', 'anti-semitic' and all the rest. It is just amazing to see how you are willing to sacrifice every shred of personal honor, and every pretense of being courageous and moral, just to keep from incurring liberal -- which is to say, Jewish -- wrath. You are so sickening, so cringing, so gutless, so unmanly, so feminine, so testosterone-free, so completely worthless as a member of your sex and your race, that it absolutely makes me puke.

Have a nice day, Tommie-boy.

 

 

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