The first was that New Zealand's own special little snowflake crazy man has been doing some name dropping or something like that - not sure on the details. Anyway, when Raymond Buckland has a facebook status denying any connection with him and that he doesn't in fact know either of these people (one a real name, one a pseudonym - both the same person) well, news like this does the rounds.
At first the comments were sniggers and giggles. Then a few newer people to the community asked a few questions about the person in question and the stories started to come out.
It was suggested by a couple of people that really, perhaps his doings were none of our business and we should leave him alone. But when his behaviour includes pushing drugs on others attending workshops, targeted email abuse and threats of physical violence (he was going to come and cut my head off at one stage) - then it *is* our business. That's not counting the consistent clueless attacks all over the internet on everyone who doesn't follow his own created path.
Then today, I see that someone has unfriended someone else. She then felt a need to tell us all about the fact that she'd unfriended him, that she doesn't like what he posts to his blog and provide a link to one of his blogposts. There was a long line of people commenting on how much of an arse he is and a bully and mentally deranged and on it went.
Now, I agree, at times, he can be an arse, he can be extremely intense and most people find that hard to deal with and when he gets passionate about something, the words begin to fly. There are times when reading his blog that I do get a mental picture of him frothing at the mouth as he's typing.
There is usually a point and a valid one at that. I've learned that to get through to people you often have to upset them first - just to get their attention. As one of my friends says in Tarot readings:
The Truth might set you free, but it will piss you off first!
The polite people may have something of value to say, but they get drowned out, overlooked and ignored.
I called it as I saw it. Great that she'd made the grown up choice to unfriend him, but to start a discussion where everyone was bagging him where he was unable to see and respond was childish in the extreme. She believes that she is providing a public service -
"I feel ethically bound to warn people about him because of many reasons, which I will not list because then it becomes a legal issue."
Or in other words, I'm going to tell you all to keep away from this chap, but not the real reasons why. She goes on to describe him as a cyberbully and suggests all sorts of ulterior motives for those times when he is nice or helpful.
I've said it before, I'll say it again. I really must have a different definition of cyberbully to damn near everyone else. I've seen cyberbullying in action, a friend of my daughters who was getting constant text messages that say things like:
Ur a stupid ugly bitch, u don't deserve anything u have nd especially not ur boyfriend. Ur a cheating slut that shouldn't even be alive, go slit ur damn wrists nd bleed to death we don't need or want u around. Just fucking die stupid whore. People only pay for u cause the good prostitute's r taken.
This is cyberbullying, I believe it was taken to the Police and rightly so. Expressing an unpopular opinion that hurts your feelings is not the same, it's not even remotely the same. And this is coming from alleged adults!
Why have I used these two examples? The first one is crazy, he is dangerous, he fits much of the Advanced Bonewits Cult Danger Evaluation Frame and I for one find that a real cause for concern. The second one says mean things on his blog.
And yet they both got the same treatment. You would think from reading about the second that he was just as crazy as the first.
I got a notification to say I'd been mentioned in a comment, but had no access to see this comment. At the same time, I get a notification of a private message from that person. It's terribly polite explaining that she's felt the need to unfriend me because ethically she can't have anyone who is friends with him or defends him on her friends list.
Just a note, I didn't defend him or his actions. I clarified a situation where people thought I was making assumptions about the material, where in fact I knew more than they did. I did say that I was less than impressed that everyone was jumping on the bandwagon to stick a sneaky boot in where they couldn't be seen.
I queried that notification about a comment that I can't see and got a rushed explanation. A mutual friend tells me the entire discussion then disappeared. Seems it was my turn, although as I said to her, I hoped I was wrong as she'd raised ethics.
What followed was an incoherent bunch of stuff about how she'd gotten lots of private messages from people who actually are scared of him and that she was putting herself at great risk by saying things in public. But these people clearly knew more than I did and knew what he was capable of, but she couldn't actually say anymore than that, other than she believed them.
What a load of shit.
If there is something potentially dangerous about a person, you contact the authorities. You don't hint and backbite on facebook. The comments on that thread were mostly along the line of "I'll only tell him to leave once, after that I'll make him." Now those are the words of people who are genuinely frightened of someone?
Worse still, these are all people who have been in the Pagan and Magical scene for "a whole lot longer than me". So if he's such a problem, do something about it! Are you witches and magicians or are you a bunch of poseurs talking yourselves up? Is it that really, you know that your vague suggestions of danger are all hearsay and chinese whispers and that doing a little malefica would backfire? If you're all that and a bag of chips, there would be no need to whisper and insinuate but "say no more than that because there'd be legal ramifications". There would only be legal ramifications if it's untrue.
One of the complaints was about the way he speaks to beginners. He's full on and harsh. Yep, I agree, but on reflection, maybe that's not a bad thing. He's open to beginners who have a brain and are willing to do some work for themselves rather than expect everything that others have worked hard to understand to be handed to them on a silver platter.
Should we be sugarcoating everything for beginners? I'm starting to think that this may be where many of the problems within our community have come from. Beginners start out with everyone giving them the "love, light and unicorns that fart rainbows" information. When they start to find out that it's work, that it's not just easy and positive thinking they then reject that as "not my thing" but feel that they've been doing this long enough to know what they're talking about.
Between the backbiting and the fluffies, it's no wonder that this community is so dysfunctional.