I find the whole thing about knowing people awhile interesting.
Right now Larry’s being vilified in ways that have nothing to do with what Larry’s actually like. I’ve known him for ages, so have Vicky, Mike, Joel, Laura, and a bunch of other people I know. And every last one of us regardless of the rest of our personal relations with him see what’s being said about him as so far off the mark as to be nearly unrecognizable as Larry. This isn’t because we all worship him, far from it. It’s because we’ve known him long enough to have some clue as to his character, and his actions over time are not the actions of an attention-seeking narcissist.
Similarly, when someone posted the “secret” that I was once diagnosed with schizophrenia and used to talk better and stuff, nobody who’d known me for very long was shocked. That’s because they all knew this stuff, they knew what had happened and why (in great detail, because I used to talk about it a lot), they’d been around for all this and it wasn’t news to them. But since I hadn’t been discussing it much recently, there was this entire bizarre theory that I was hiding this stuff from people, and it was only people who’d heard of me relatively recently who even thought of believing it. I got to watch people I thought I knew writing bizarre things about what my motivations were for things that were totally unrelated to the motivations they put on them, and I got to watch people who’d in reality known me for very short periods of time (measured in months) claiming great amounts of knowledge of my life based on having interacted with me for brief periods during the time they knew me.
Which I guess should serve as some sort of warning about judging people too hastily. There are people convinced Larry is a showoff narcissist with no thought or care for other people, and who will explain minutae of his actions in terms of that. There are people who believe I’m a fake autistic or something, and who will explain minutae of my actions in terms of that. It’s disturbing to watch people create such elaborate descriptions of what is going on in other people’s heads, based largely on the fact that they don’t like what the other person is saying. It’s a human tendency to if you don’t like someone or are mad at them, assume the worst in everything they’re doing. I’m not sure it’s a good human tendency though, seems like one that ought to be fought. And maybe there’s something about knowing someone awhile that means you know enough about them to, even if you disagree with them, have a little more respect for them. I don’t know.
And ultimately it seems like an evasion of the real issues. It’s really easy to fling mud at someone. It’s harder to grapple with the sort of power issues that Larry and I are always (in our very different styles, but I am convinced we are dealing with and aware of roughly the same issues) bringing up. It’s a lot of heat and very little light going on. And just as Larry and I are not unfamiliar to each other, none of the dynamics or details of this argument are anything but tiresomely and depressingly familiar to anyone who’s spent very long in communities fighting various kinds of oppression, especially but not even limited to disability-based ones.