Lissener's obnoxious behavior in GQ

After more than five years here, this is my very first Pit thread. It has taken a “Perfect Storm” of ignorance and obnoxiousness in GQ on the part of lissener to motivate me to start one, but here goes. Although the misbehavior took place several days ago, I’ve been too busy until now to give it the attention it deserves. It is, however, sufficiently serious that it merits addressing even if it is a little belated.

It is a pet peeve of mine when people who don’t know very much about a subject respond to a question in GQ with misinformation, especially when they try to “correct” an answer by someone more knowledgeable that was already correct. This does relatively little harm, however, once the misinformation has been successfully refuted by others. What is especially detrimental is when someone who doesn’t have a clue about what they are talking about persists in arguing with those who have provided correct information, wasting everyone’s time and derailing threads.

Lissener’s antics took place in this thread: Do other countries have an official language?. The actual point of dispute was a rather trivial one: the correct translation of the word castellano as it refers to Spain’s official language. Lissener, although he obviously has little or no first-hand knowledge of the subject, began an absurd hijack that succeeded in getting the thread locked.

Nava, a native of Spain whose first language is Spanish, first made this post that correctly stated that, unsurprisingly, Spanish was one of the official languages of Spain. In response, lissener ** “corrected” Nava with this post, which not only was unnecessary but which cited a Wiktionary definition that turns out to be incomplete and misleading, as shown by many other more accurate dictionaries. Lissener also incorrectly implied that Basque and other languages were part of the Spanish language. Lissener** subsequently claimed he knew that it was not, but had just phrased his response badly. Whatever the case, it was a post that succeeded in confusing the issue, rather than clarifying it.

After several other posters, including me, corrected this misinformation, rather than letting the matter drop, lissener then began to contend that “Castilian,” rather than “Spanish,” was a better way to translate the word castellano as it referred to the official language in the Spanish constitution. His basis for this was this Wikipedia article, which not only fails to support lissener’s position, but actually refutes it, discussing it in the section on “Usage and misconceptions abroad” as one of the misconceptions.

Opposing lissener’s interpretation were 1) me, who has 16 years experience living in Latin America and speaking Spanish on a daily basis, and who regularly translates articles from Spanish into English; and 2) Polycarp, who has substantial knowledge of languages and is well known as one of the most objective posters on the board. Several other posters whose expertise I am not familiar with also contradicted lissener. Near the end of the thread, Nava, who is familiar with the issues surrounding the use of *castellano *in the Spanish constitution, also responded, corroborating that lissener’s position was incorrect before the thread was mercifully locked by samclem.

Despite this, lissener continued to hijack the thread based on nothing more than his misinterpretation of a Wikipedia article. I would note, as someone who has done translation in the language, that the correct translation of castellano, as it is used in the Spanish constitution, as “Spanish,” rather than “Castilian,” is a fact, not an opinion. It would be no more correct to translate *castellano *as “Castilian” in that particular context than it would be to translate león as “cat” in an article about lions simply because a lion is also a cat.

Beyond this ignorant behavior, lissener’s general obnoxiousness in that thread also needs to be addressed. After several patient responses to lissener’s continued misinformation, I eventually expressed some annoyance in this post. Although I think it was pretty mild, lissener proceeded to characterize it as an “extreme of incivility,” and accused me of thinking that he was “retarded” (his word), “a liar,” and “dishonest,” merely because I had disagreed with him. He persisted in this behavior even after I assured him that was not the case. His subsequent behavior has convinced me that I may have been incorrect in my initial assessment.

For the record, my general impression of lissener previous to that thread has been as an intelligent but rather excitable poster. But to quote one of lissener’s least-favorite movies, Forrest Gump, “Stupid is as stupid does.” Regardless of lissener’s actual IQ, his behavior in that thread was spectacularly stupid. So yes, at this point lissener has convinced me that he is capable of extreme stupidity.

Regarding the accusations of thinking him “a liar” or “dishonest,” I initially had no particular opinion on the subject one way or another, not having participated in many threads where he was involved. The accusations would not, however, be a logical conclusion by any reasonable person from anything I said in that thread. I do not know if lissener has a habit of feigning excessive outrage in order to put opponents on the defensive. If he does honestly believe what he said, however, I believe he is in need of some kind of therapy. I do not mean this as an insult, but in all seriousness. If someone IRL responded to my remarks the way lissener did in that thread, I would think they were highly in need of at least anger management if not more serious treatment.

Discussion and debate is fine if it is done from a position of knowledge. When it is done from a position of ignorance, as lissener did in that thread, then it has no place in GQ.

[Note: On the odd chance that anyone might get the wrong impression, the initials SDSAB under my name do not indicate that I have anything to do with the administration or moderation of this board. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own, and do not indicate anything official regarding board policy or any other matter.]

I must, regrettably, concur with Colibri on this. lissener is generally a well-informed and courteous, if argumentative, member, whose ire is generally aroused only by those impugning his sexuality (or disagreeing with him on the book and movie that share the name Starship Troopers, about which the less said, the better in this context).

But Nava and I, ably abetted by Colibri attempted to set the matter straight, including the ideas of:
[ul][li]False cognates – foreign-language words that appear to have English parallels that are in fact not what the foreign word means[/li][li]Nuances related to Hispanic regionalism – After the centralizing tendencies of the Franco regime, the post-1975 democratic Kingdom is alive to the regional identities of what Nava refers to as “the separatists,” though beyond the Basque extremists with which she is as Navarrese no doubt most familiar, their claims seem to be largely for autonomy and recognition of cultural identity. [/li][li]The use of Castellano as a synonym for the Spanish language as a whole, as opposed to the Castilian dialect that is, like Florentine Italian, something of the national standard[/li][li]The idea that the Spanish Constitution might have, in consequence of the above, chosen to use Castellano in preference to Español to identify that tongue spoken in the majority of Spain as distinct from the other three languages granted regional official recognition in their principal usage areas.[/li][li]The idea that los demas lenguas Españolas (to identify Catalan, Gallego, and Basque) may reference, not the slavishly-literal “the other Spanish languages,” but “the other languages of Spain” – the adjective form carrying a meaning we would more commonly render with the “of” form in English.[/li][li]The fact that Wikipedia, on which lissener founded his argumentation, is a user-written project, with all the advantages and disadvantages that methodology provides.[/ul][/li]
In short, lissener was, uncharacteristically, being a pompous ass in this particular topic. Which is singularly unfortunate.

Now THIS is a Pitting. Well done.

I agree. Especially about the Basque part. Just adimt you were either wrong or sloppy. It wasn’t the reader’s fault that you basically said Basque was Spanish, even if that isn’t what you meant. Give it up.

Excellent pitting and richly deserved.

Lissener torpedoed an interesting thread through his baffling persistence in a wrong-headed argument. When you’re wrong, you’re wrong, and no amount of words will make you right, although** lissener** clearly belived otherwise.

A remarkably balanced and fair pitting, well expressed and clearly justified in context, and not casting aspertions on the sinner, just the sin.

No profanity though, which I feel lets you down somewhat.

I disagree. I think this Pit would suffer for a few needless "motherfucker"s. It is elegant, precise, and deadly as it is.

Aw c’mon. How much better would the concluding sentence be if it read:

Discussion and debate is fine if it is done from a position of knowledge. When it is done from a position of ignorance, as lissener did in that thread, then it has no place in GQ fucksticks.

The odd thing, Poly, is that the article doesn’t even support his position, but contradicts it. I actually found it pretty much correct.

From the first paragraph of the article:

My emphasis.

Rather clearly, I think, this paragraph refers to misconceptions

Not that I have anything against profanity, but my feeling is one of deep annoyance, rather than outrage. Perhaps some other time. Or maybe later on in this thread. :wink:

Thanks, Colibri. I was considering starting this; I didn’t run into that discussion until after the thread was closed, but it was absolutely pathetic.

lissener’s apparently limited Spanish led him to a mistaken interpretation of a line in the Spanish Constitution, and he completely ruined that thread by stubbornly refusing to admit that he was wrong. The point he was clinging to was absolutely ridiculous (which I say having studied Spanish linguistics, and knowing at least a bit of Galician and Catalan, two of the other languages in question.)

It was an absolutely pathetic display, and it became even worse when lissener began his typical whining about what a goddamn martyr he is. Hey, lissener, if people treat you differently than they treat others, it probably has something to do with your consistently obnoxious behavior. And if everyone here is so goddamn cruel to you, then leave. Otherwise, knock off the constant whining. It’s repulsive, and it makes me hate you.

Your smug self-superiority is grating enough when you talk about subjects you know well, but it’s absolutely intolerable in this case, when you were going on and on about something you clearly don’t know anything about. Of course, I’m only assuming that you have the knowledge of movies and music that you claim to; I don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of those areas, which means I could probably be fooled by someone who was confident in his delivery. Your performance in the official languages thread - in which you argued with your typical stubbornness and characteristic pathetic whinging over an issue you clearly didn’t understand at all - makes me a bit doubtful that you know other subjects as well as you claim.

It’s a pity you throw these fits, I have to say. Because sometimes, you’re actually clever, even witty. Sometimes, you’re actually insightful. But those times seem few and far between to me, given how often you take over and ruin perfectly good discussions like this one.

I couldn’t agree more, and it happens all the time. lissener is certainly not the only offender, but this was one very clear instance of it. lissener owes you in particular an apology; your patience in that thread impressed the hell out of me.

Well, to "quote’ Forrest Gump again, “objective is as objective does”. Not too objective towards a sub-group of fellow Christians, whom he defines dismissively as “Anglo-Chinese missionaries”. And all this objectivity even though he enjoins us constantly to observe the two great commandments.

Excellent pitting, Colibri – a hell of an entrée in to the Pit.

To add another voice to the chorus: Español and castellano are completely interchangeable in almost all contexts, and certainly in the context used in the Spanish constitution. Want a cite? Read that Wiki article you’re clinging to so stubbornly.

Castilian and castellano are false friends, like Gift and Mist in German and actual and asistir in Spanish. You were wrong, lissener. Get over it.

Colibri: excellent and very politely worded pitting. I hope that Lissener will own up to the fact that he was the offensive one in that thread. Once again, he has demonstrated his one major character flaw, when he gets into a disagreement he cannot let it go.

my bolding
This line is a classic over reaction and he should be embarrassed and sheepish that he wrote it.
Lissener your actions in that thread paint you in a bad light, be a mensch and own up to it and apologize.


Roger, I have not, at this late date, got a clue what your problem with me was and is, though obviously it has to do with some religious discussion in which I used the phrase you quote. But I noted last fall that you were taking some snarky snipes at me in MPSIMS and elsewhere. At that point, I chose to play them off with humor, and you didn’t pursue them. But obviously there is something deeper than that going on. I am going to publicly request: stop trolling me about this.

If there is a problem you and I need to resolve, detail it in a new thread, and you will either get an apology or an explanation from me. I disagree with you on a number of issues, agree on others, reserve the right to hold and express my own opinions generally, and to distinguish them from assertions of fact. And I respect your right to do likewise. If we have an issue to resolve, bring it. If not, drop it.

Further digs outside the Pit will be referred to the moderators for what action they see fit to take. I’m posting this here because I’d prefer that we iron out whatever the problem is like two honorable adults and not invoke staff and rules. I’m here because I enjoy learning, wit, and repartee; you seem to feel likewise. Let’s sort it out and find out where the problem lies, and hopefully resolve it.

Polycarp, thank you for trying to get some clarification on this. I generally enjoy reading your posts and roger thornhill’s, and I found roger’s post here mystifying. A search for the offending phrase turned up only this thread.

Dude, given your behavior in that GQ thread about the word “negro”, I don’t think you have any business criticizing others’ behavior right now.

Appropriate pitting. Thank you.

Great pitting. Fanfuckingtastic, in fact.

Roger, fuck off, you twit. I have seriously considered pitting you too, for posting bullshit in GQ. It is entirely inappropriate for you to use this thread to attack Polycarp, who is a far superior poster to you. Unless you would like me to go back and research some of your own obnoxious behavior in GQ and start my second pit thread with you as guest of dishonor, I would sincerely advise you to butt out.

I gave lissener a formal invite to his pitting in the last Pit thread he was active in today. Hopefully he will attend.