What A Pain: Anatomy Of The Angry Internet User

Recently the site A Guide To Bad taste referred to Ivy-Style.com as a “community,” and I found the term both apt and a compliment. Someone else lately noted that the comments section is perhaps the site’s most entertaining feature, and while the Left vs. Right battles may grow tiresome, I have to admire the effort people put into arguing their points. And by the standards of the Internet, arguments do stay fairly civil.

Yesterday I had lunch with Bruce Boyer and Richard Press, and the first thing Boyer said to me, with a laugh and a nudge, was, “The amount of bad things said about this guy on the Internet…”

“You have no idea…” I replied. Then again, it’s really not so bad. Imagine being in the presidential race.

Internet vitriol has always amused me, and as I write for a living, I’m used to anonymous criticism. Though sometimes it’s not so anonymous. Early in my career I was writing op-ed pieces for a local paper, and my own sister denounced me in a letter to the editor, so inflamed was she by my essay. I still consider it a career highlight.

The thing that always amuses me is how often the criticisms contradict each other. I’m sure there are plenty of Ivy Style readers who think the site has a liberal bias, while others think it’s conservative. Some would say it romanticizes the past, while others would complain that it covers too much contemporary stuff. Contradicting critiques always tell me I must be doing something right.

By far the most incessant slanders against Ivy Style — and many others in the menswear industry — come from the forums at Film Noir Buff. While on assignment for The Los Angeles Times back in 2006, doing a story on menswear forums that was ultimately killed, I interviewed a number of longtime players in the forum world who referred to FNB as “Devil’s Island” — basically where all the Internet’s loonies and rejects wind up. (There’s a user there named Tony Ventresca who’s perhaps the most negative human being in the world.)

Whenever I chat with my father, he always mentions Ivy Style, politely saying he enjoyed one post in particular. Then he’ll say, “And there’ve been a lot of comments, I see.” Finally, he’ll pause and mutter, “There sure are a lot of crazy people out there…”

Father knows best, and all of us visit websites — YouTube, Yahoo! Finance, Huffington Post — where the discourse is not as civil as it is here, and the nastiest side of human nature rears its anonymous head. Obviously, the well adjusted man says, “They must be unhappy about something in their lives.” But today a little ray of light shone into the dark cave where trolls live and revealed just what makes them so miserable:

Chronic pain.

That’s right, the simplest explanation possible. Just like animals that are prone to attack when they’ve got a bad tooth or a thorn in the paw, people who are chronically negative on the Internet are in pain, and spewing vitriol on the web apparently offers some kind of temporary relief.

In this revealing thread at FNB’s Talk Ivy forum, several members disclose decades of struggling with chronic pain. GI Zhou reveals this:

As I have four spinal injuries, including the brain stem, a five year old girl can beat me in an arm wrestle.

And later:

You get good, bad, indifferent and fucking awful days. I also take morphine which shows in some of my comments.

4F Hepcat, author of the most inspired railings against Ivy Style, next shares this:

I’ve a spinal injury myself in the neck and I’ve been warned by the specialist to expect lots of problems in later life, most of the time its bearable, but when it starts aggravating with shakes in my right hand, tingling, loss of feeling, hot and cold sensations and acute pain, its hell for a couple of months. And then, as if by magic the symptoms vanish and I am okay for the next few months.

Previously he’s noted that his job is unfulfilling and that he used to dream of being a writer. Finally it all starts to make sense.

And lastly, Tradsville’s most notorious troll gives us this:

I have recently graduated from Tramadol to Morphine… My bad back goes back 21 years now after a car crash in which I lost my ‘pretty’ looks and messed up that front tooth of mine that I’ve never bothered fixing. Pain is a terrible educator and led me down many blind alleys as I self-medicated to try to get some relief, turning a stomach ulcer brought on by too much work into a tumour in the process.

… Give me pain and if the pain relief on offer is inadequate I will always top it up with whatever I can lay my hands on. The result is a ruined digestive system.

So the next time we come across hysterical meanness on the Internet, perhaps we should be more sympathetic. These aren’t just souls in pain, but bodies as well. —CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD

84 Comments on "What A Pain: Anatomy Of The Angry Internet User"

  1. Oh, so what you’re saying is that these two are… pains in the neck?

    OH, I SLAY ME.

  2. y l hollander | August 24, 2012 at 7:29 am |

    It’s widely known (now) that John F. Kennedy suffered from Addison’s disease, a condition which frequently left him in chronic pain, even with the assistance of steroid treatments and occasional other “palliative remedies” (snicker). Nonetheless, he never, and I mean NEVER, posted any negative comments on any Internet message board.

  3. Well, I can certainly see why you are loathe to put up an Ivy Style forum now.

  4. We had a forum in the beginning but it didn’t catch on. The comments section serves essentially the same function and is more up front and visible. Of course readers can’t post their own topics, but they can do that on our Facebook page.

  5. At least you aren’t that WASP 101 guy. He gets massacred.

  6. But he’s so fatuous, pompous, stubborn and clueless it seems somehow deserved. Of course anyone can easily say the same of me — or anyone else. The thing you have to accept about the Internet is that everything is 180 degrees from your point of view. The fakes think they’re real and that the real are fakes, etc. ad nauseum. Everything reads as unintentionally ironic.

  7. This reminds me of the phrase, ” Hurt people hurt people” which I try to remind myself when encountering upset people or commentators.

  8. Craig Sevde | August 24, 2012 at 9:18 am |

    “To ridicule philosophy is to philosophize” – Blaise Pascal

  9. Actually, the “forum” didn’t “catch on” because it too frequently pointed out Chennie’s blunders…and the fact that most of his content ( with the exception of advertising and dispatches from the exceptionally demented “Muffy”) was and is stolen from the FNB talk ivy forum.

  10. bottom line, people are jerks on internet forums because they can be, and there are no consequences-some admins delete comments but really thats no big deal-and if people arent going to be decent because they should be, for any intrinsic motivation, there is little that can be done-what moderates debates and arguments face-to-face is having the stones to say something to someone’s face-and possibly get punched in the grill in return

  11. Actually, Educator, I’m rude to nerds with asian fetishes in real life, as well. Being rude to them on the internet isn’t usually worth the time, as >90% of users at any given time are, in fact, basement-dwelling nerds with asian fetishes.

  12. I’ve had my posts deleted from other style sites – and this was for benign posts along the lines of, “A blazer with a pocket square and a crest and a flower and the collar up might be a little too much.” Nothing directed against the author, no flames, nothing rude, nothing outlandish.

    What I like about this site is that the comments are never stage-managed to present a certain image.

  13. I just had my comment deleted. It was a serious comment, CC.

  14. What was it? I deleted one remark that was aimed at another, which was pure trolling. Obviously standing alone the second one would not have made sense and it would not have been clear to whom it was aimed.

  15. Very compassionate and thoughtful article, Christian. Well done sir!!

  16. Yes, mocking people with back issues and/or cancer is the height of compassion. Chensvold/ Omega Man is the Mother Theresa of bad commercial clothing sites…

  17. It’s not their ailment, it’s their behavior in response to it. We can only assume there’s a causal relationship between their own unhappiness and the ill will they direct at others.

  18. Christian, you must have deleted more than one comment, as I am not George, and you deleted mine. Who are you to speak of trolls?

  19. You mean the post where you asked if I’d “threatened any young children lately?”

    Yeah, deleted that one. Sorry.

  20. Well…. have you threatened any young children lately?

  21. More to the point…. has Kionon?

  22. You just illustrated the point of this post beautifully.

  23. Englishmen shouldn’t be allowed to talk abouty American style. They know nothing about it. They also should be banned from writing for Newsweek and visiting Las Vegas, judging by this weeks events.

  24. Ah… This explains where the hate comments I just deleted from my own blog are coming from, I’m guessing, Bleurgh. And no, I don’t threaten children. At least not when physical abuse. I’ve threatened to make them stand in corners, or kick them out of class, or send them to the principal. You know… my job?

    I just got a lovely Anonymous comment calling me the ugliest person ever seen. I deleted it. Criticism is great, but that kind of stuff? Of course it’s going to be deleted. At the very least, put your name on such a comment. Be a grown up about it.

  25. Kionon,

    How can you stand the way Nipponese students butcher the English language? My solution is to do most of the talking in my class so that I don’t have to suffer.

  26. You mean as opposed to the way we regularly butcher Japanese? Or the way I certainly butchered French when I took it in JHS and HS?

    If you’re doing most of the talking, you are not giving your students opportunities to use the language. True, grammar points often require quite a bit of explanation (either in English or in Japanese, usually a combination of both), but there should definitely be a significant portion of the lesson devoted to language creation. Open ended questions, role-playing of students’ own designs, that sort of thing.

    If you haven’t learned a second language (and I am always shocked by the number of English teachers overseas who have not), then I wouldn’t be so quick to judge your students negatively.

  27. Kionon,

    I read your website today for the first time and asked you where you went to school in Texas. Frisco? With all due respect, I was born in Preston Hollow, went to Kinkaid through middle school, then moved back to Dallas and went to Tabor in Marion for two years, and now I’m finishing up high school at Highland Park (using my cousins’ address), and I’ve never heard Frisco been associated with affluence or “prep.” What was the private school you went to? When did you graduate? And I understand you went to UT, right? Sorry for bombarding you with questions, I’m just curious…

  28. Tabor Kid,

    Why is that “with all due respect” always seems to come out less than respectful? 😀

    I’m a bit confused, if you’re from Dallas, you should realise that Collin County is, per capita, one of the wealthiest counties in Texas, and because of flight from the coasts in recent years, currently one of the wealthiest counties in the nation. I don’t currently have the statistics, but I could look them up. When I moved to Frisco, there were a few residential subdivisions, including the one I moved into, but many of my peers, even those in public schools, lived in stately, plantation style homes on fairly large grounds. Most of those homes still exist up Preston, beyond Main, before you get to Prosper and Celina. One of my friends at the time lived in a house that her mother had decorated entirely with Faberge eggs. I kid you not.

    Now, to address your second question, if I had stayed in private school, and I did not, I would have gone to either Jesuit or Bishop Lynch, probably, since I’m Catholic. I think we were leaning towards Bishop Lynch when my parents and I had that conversation, but that was 14 years ago, and I admit, I don’t recall much other than my own stubbornness to attend public school. So I did not graduate from a private school/prep school. I graduated from Frisco High School in 2001, which I am very proud of. It was, at least at the time, an exceptional school with exceptional resources, and most of my classmates went on to very good schools, including the flagship state schools, like UT or OU, as well as military academies, and the Ivy League.

  29. Since you brought up your own Highland Park, I think this quote might explain a lot:

    “Collin County residents have the highest median income in the state — it’s one of the 25 wealthiest counties in the country. But you won’t find the sprawling lawns and century-old homes of Highland Park or River Oaks here. The treasures are more attainable: rows of spacious, neatly plotted ranch-style houses under black roofs of the kind that look identical from the air…” – Texas Tribune, May 27, 2010.

    That’s not exactly true, as I noted, up Preston, beyond Main, are many of the older houses. The difference is that many of these owners sold their land to developers when the Tollway and 75 got up into Collin, making those locations ideal for commuters. So the older houses are few and far between, and surrounded by newer, smaller houses, like my own. Which, btw, has more than doubled in value since we purchased it. Very good investment.

  30. Yes, when I think of Frisco, I think of new, Levittown-type developments that are big and cheap. I think of Plano or Katy. The boys from Memorial back in Houston would say “281er.” Besides, ranking wealth by county, at least in the South, is certainly indicative of its “bedroom community” status and is sort of meaningless.

    Sorry, I’m not sure why I’m putting down your suburb. I guess it bothers me when someone glorifies their background by citing almost irrelevant stats, especially because I have a contradicting notion that comes from experience.

  31. So, no longer “with all due respect” or any “respect” at all, I guess.

    There are plenty of reasons to put down Frisco, Tabor Kid, and yes, I myself have complained of the big and cheap developments, the rise of the big box stores… but also things which would be found in your own Highland Park… things like making a crime out of driving while poor, or driving while black, or drug problems which are quietly hushed up, when the same drug problems in South Dallas put black teenagers in jail… Both Frisco and Highland Park are overly concerned with keeping people they don’t like out of their independent school districts. Heaven forbid all of those tax resources paid for by those of us in higher income brackets actually help those of lower socio-economic status get a wonderful and competitive education. Why isn’t Highland Park part of the Dallas Independent School District, why do you even go to a high school which part of its own independent school district despite being a neighborhood? The reason is to keep out so-called “undesirables.” Have you even bothered driving ten miles away to see what kind of horrid facilities and out of date textbooks your lower-come peers have to deal with? Why don’t you complain about those issues… issues shared by Frisco AND Highland Park, instead of deriding my honesty as “glorification” of my background.

    Sorry, I’m not sure why you’re putting down Frisco, either. Oh, wait, I do. It’s because you want to feel superior to me because my parents decided to be reasonable and purchase a house they could pay off almost immediately, instead of something we didn’t need (since I’m an only child), and because although I had the option to continue to a prep school, a prep school my parents would gladly have paid for (as they had paid for elementary school and junior high before it), I chose not to. Dude, you’re what, 16 or 17? I’m 28. I’ve regretted decisions in my life, but my choice to go to FHS instead of prep school was not one of them. I decided to become a teacher because of the teachers I had there. I met my best friend, who 15 years later, I can still rely on to drop everything and come to my aid if I ask him to.

    I may like prep style, and I may have attended private schools for most of my schooling, but I support public schools, and I support a greater distribution of property taxes to level the playing field. I’ve had nearly everything I’ve ever asked for in life, and I’m sure you have as well. That comes with a certain level of responsibility and obligation. Hopefully a responsibility you learn as you grow older.

  32. Kionon,

    I didn’t butcher the French language in JHS and HS because my Jesuit teachers had no tolerance whatsoever for errors so I studied like the dickens, and produced grammaticaly-correct subjunctives and conditionals. We also got our articles correct and memorized 100 words per week. We memorized the arias from Carmen as well as learning by heart les fables de La Fontaine. We read (and understood) Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme de Moliere. How did this happen? Because our teachers employed the much-maligned Grammar-Translation method and had never heard of role-play, group work, pair-work, etc. They knew that language learning was not a game, but required hard work. Also, a teacher-centered classroom meant that we were able to benefit from their knowledge and experience. They did not pretend to be interested in us as individuals; they were interested in teaching. Period.

  33. So why attempt to call out Kionon on blog other than his, particularly under this subject heading?

  34. Gaijin,

    And how is your French now?

    You and I have very different teaching philosophies, and I don’t “pretend” to be interested in my students as individuals. I *am* interested in my students as individuals. Fact.

    Also, the reason why Japanese students can pass reading and writing standardised tests but cannot have the simplest of conversations is because of the “much-maligned” Grammar-Translation method and its use for the last fifty years. It does not create students who can actually use language in liquid and changing, that is REAL, situations. Real conversations are not memorised. They are created spontaneously.

    Dave T,

    I’m not sure what Tabor Kid thinks he’s calling me out for. I’m honest, sometimes brutally so, on my blog and here. Unless the direct question is truly uncouth, I answer it. I have nothing to hide. That ship sailed ten years ago when I decided to establish an online presence where I as anything but anonymous. So my parents bought a small house? So I chose not to go to a prep school? If he wants to go toe-to-toe in Feud of the Blue-Bloods, he picked poor points to hinge them on.

  35. Please let me have the right of reply since you attempt to have fun at a disabled ex-member of the armed forces. I hold a PhD in Political History, and have also been an affiliate in research at Harvard University (Ivy League no less) . I have spoken in Asia, Europe and the United States in bith academic and military settings on the fields of Asian security, air power, counter-insurgency and the law of armed conflict as it relates to wounding. If one were to read previous comments on Film Noir Buff, one would find I served 28 years in the air force including being a liaison officer with three foreign special forces elements. Serious spinal injuries from my service which saw me medically retired eventually caused me to lose use of my legs. I have regained the use of them through painful rehabilitation, and hence the need for pain killers. The United States Army has published two editions of one book of mine on the People’s Liberation Army with the third edition having become a warfighter’s manual. I have around 160 pieces of written works on Chinese Security, many which have been or are being used inside, the United States Department of Defense. GI Zhou is pronounced GI Joe and is a play on words for my work on China. The nuttier the better I say.

  36. Dear Christian,
    The closest you ever got to being Ivy League is when you were pruning it at the trailer park where you live. It is unfortunate that the internet has allowed inbred southern good old boys with Walter Mitty fascinations of grandeur such as yourself to exist in the fantasy nether world. I think you actually hail from McKinney and not Frisco where the wide open spaces allow your sexual adventures with livestock to go un noticed. You can pick up all the trimmings of Ivy League from eBay or the web, or heaven forbid a book. Why dont you take your poultry pecker and insert into an ivy based manure pile , its the closest you will ever get in fucking a preppie, Have a nice life choking your chicken. Oh and I imagine your IQ is directly related to your shoe size, and you score high on the teeth to tattoo ratio. 🙂

  37. “he’s so fatuous, pompous, stubborn and clueless it seems somehow deserved.” Really? Do you know him? Have you lived with his pain? Have you read the sharp perspectives that he has…and the nuanced irony that he brings to the table? Well, guess what? YOU seem to be the pompous one here. I know him and your slanderous and preconceived notions of his life, opinions and intelligence are at best…misplaced and in reality totally incorrect. Walk a mile in someone’s shoes before you share your “compassionate” (REALLY???) views. Pompous? Fatuous? Stubborn and clueless? I do not know you, so I will let you and others who do know you, marinate on those words…and what they mean. Would you say these things to someone’s face, Christian (I hope this is your name and not your…affiliation, although it wouldn’t surprise me)? Take a breath…look in the mirror…and write about something important. If you cannot do that shhhhhhh. And…would I say this to YOUR face without the anonymity of the Internet to hide behind ? Absolutely. Thank you for your smidgeon of time.

  38. Cry me a river, Zhou. I guess Christian was “Taking the Piss Out of Someone” with this post. You’re familiar with that expression, right? In the end, you reap what you sow. QED (It’s Latin and an Ivy thing that I guess you guys at FNB like to use).

  39. Feud of the Blue Bloods? You were the one who was quick to justify that Frisco was affluent and lacked diversity when you grew up there. I guess you felt compelled to say “those of us in higher income brackets” instead of just “those,” and “those of us in the prep set,” etc. Your post even begins with “it’s true, I grew up with prep.” You remind me of this kid from Strake Jesuit in Houston who was always telling people how we went to such an elite prep school. Just like a house doesn’t make a home,
    bearing the name “preparatory” does not make a prep school, and consequently the student not a preppy. There are only a few schools in Texas that can fairly be called prep schools, and they’re in Dallas and Houston. Hockaday is, Greenhill isn’t. St. John’s is, Strake Jesuit isn’t. St. Mark’s is, St. Thomas isn’t. That’s just how it is.

    Besides, exclusivity and elitism are the driving forces behind prep, and the only thing that kept it alive. When liberalism set in, prep and WASP culture began its decline. You can’t “convert” to prep. It’s not a fashion choice, it’s a lifestyle.

    And, of course, you feel the need to bash my background in HP. Why is it that every time a HP kid tries to argue something, someone reiterates that stereotype of how we never went through any hardships you we would never understand and bla bla bla?

    p.s. This post is to criticize those, and I suppose myself right now, who “troll” the internet, but don’t you think the readers, and perhaps CC himself, get tired of you talking about Japan in every 200-word comment on a blog about Ivy Style? I feel so pathetic arguing with you over the internet about something so trite. Maybe I should start my own blog about how preppy I am to comfort myself…

  40. Just Curious | August 25, 2012 at 11:34 am |

    @Lola, You say” Do you know him? Have you lived with his pain? Have you read the sharp perspectives that he has…and the nuanced irony that he brings to the table? ” Please share this inside info on his inner pain, whould very much like to hear what is driving that Blog. Please show me an example of this “sharp perspective” and “nuancd irony” I have read every post from the start but am not seeing it.

  41. @ GI Zhou, Please tell me I mistaken and you didn’t just try to play the crippled Vet card.

  42. Tabor Kid,

    I’ve written about half a dozen responses. Most of them angry retorts, but honestly… My overriding emotion is concern. Appropriate to this topic, there must be somewhere this is coming from, and I don’t really think this is about me. Why spend the time?

    I agree that “prep” is a lifestyle, but I strongly disagree that it is something one has to be born into. I also disagree that one has to have the lifestyle to wear the clothes. You can disagree, but the way you’ve disagreed above (especially the part about liberalism causing a “decline,”) is indicative of an insecurity. Who exactly are you afraid of that you can’t allow others to “convert” to prep?

    You asked me questions, and I tried to be honest. I have a problem with most of North Dallas, honestly. Frisco and Highland Park both, and your attitude is pervasive in both places. Which is humorous when you consider that it’s not unique, and you’re someone else’s punchline. Do you think that there aren’t kids at Exeter or Andover who look down on you for attending Highland Park, which is a public school? A very wealthy one, but a public school none-the-less. I didn’t bash Highland Park, or at least, if I did, I include Frisco in my list of complaints as well. There are those in New England who would argue that Texans can’t even be “prep.” That the South entirely is out of bounds. Why is your demarcation more valid than demarcations which exclude you?

    I was responding to what I felt was an attack on public schools. The reason why Highland Park is one of the best public high schools in Texas, and it is, is because it doesn’t share its resources with other Dallas area high schools. Frisco does the same thing, but at least Frisco has the veneer of being its own municipality. Highland Park is a neighborhood. Not its own city, no matter how much the residents may wish it to be so. I have a serious problem with that as a proponent of public schools. And I think you should have a problem with it, too.

    I wasn’t aware I mentioned Japan in every comment, though I’m sure I do often. That shouldn’t be surprising. If Christian has a problem with anything I write, he has only to address me directly. I was an occasional commenter only until he included the feature on Curating Style. Perhaps I should have stayed an occasional commenter.

    While it sounds like you have things well in hand, if you would like my help for any reason, you know how to contact me. Teenagers say a lot of things, and I won’t hold any of your previous commentary against you.

  43. You’re right Kionon. It’s my teenage angst that driving all these negative posts.

    “The way you’ve disagreed above (especially the part about liberalism causing a “decline,”) is indicative of an insecurity. ”

    An insecurity? It’s no secret that prep is directly tied to the decline of WASPdom. In fact, I just read several posts on it. Here: http://www.ivy-style.com/category/waspdom

    “Do you think that there aren’t kids at Exeter or Andover who look down on you for attending Highland Park, which is a public school?”

    No, absolutely not. When I lived in Houston, I knew numerous people who would intentionally get expelled, or threaten to get expelled, from private school so they could go to Memorial. Those who lived in Tanglewood or River Oaks would buy an apartment or small house within the school zone so they could send their kid their from a private school. The same goes for HP. And I’m not talking about just a few people, I mean a lot. I know a guy at Exeter and a few at Deerfield, who were from Dallas and would rather go to HP instead. And a lot of my friends from Tabor who weren’t even from Dallas said they would rather go to HP. Besides, many parents here won’t send their kids to boarding school because the curricula at those top schools are extremely liberal.

    I agree with you that Texas isn’t prep. I never said it was prep, Kionon. But the “Preppy Handbook” does in fact include Highland Park in the places to live chapter. I also lived in Memorial in Houston, which is comprised of four (technically 5, but we don’t consider the one north of the freeway to be Memorial) separate cities, and the high school there is seriously underfunded. They’re in some sort of “Robin Hood” program, in which all the funding is redirected to a school in El Paso. So, basically, all the funding comes from the parents through auctions and the PTA and whatnot.

    Why would I be afraid? I just don’t like posers, and I think every once in a while they need to be called out.

    This is my last comment on the subject.

    p.s. Catholic school uniforms aren’t preppy.

  44. Tabor Kid,

    My last sentences were not sarcasm. They were genuine. I told you I wouldn’t hold anything you said against you, and I said that you could ask me for help. You’re free to ignore my offer, but that should have been the end of it.

    So let me ask this, instead. Would you have said anything like you had just said to my face? To an adult? To a teacher? If, so, you do not exemplify the ideals and manners of the lifestyle you claim. And if not….? Then that shows you know the difference between right and wrong, and you are only “calling” me “out” because you can be anonymous and realise there will be no consequences to your actions. You’re a minor, so I can not compel you to (nor do I seriously desire the) end of your anonymity, but even if I were a “poser” (which, we have established, we clearly disagree on), what right do you have treat someone almost twice your age the way you’ve treated me here?

    My offer still stands. You never know when a bridge you burnt might be needed, so I’m not going to allow you to torch this one.

  45. Kionon,

    Thanks to the fact that I read French novels, watch French movies, and follow French blogs, my French is better now than it was when I graduates from highschool.

    The denizens of Nihon use their mother tongue in “real situations”, not the language of the much-maligned gaikokujin.

    Why any adult should be interested in the thoughts, feelings, etc. of adolescents is beyond me, particularly when those adolescents share nothing whatsoever with us in terms of culture.

  46. Gentlemen, this doesn’t reflect well on Texas. Besides there is no “old money” in Texas except for carpet baggers. That’s true for most of the country west of the eastern divide. So like most of the country Ivy Style is a transplant, not manor born. While I’m sure everyone is proud of their “neighborhood” and school ties, me being ICWT, maybe I don’t understand this WASPdom talk, but I thought a sense of humility was part of it. 🙂

    Back to Ivy Style, where do you guys like to shop in the Dallas-Fort Worth area?

  47. No old money in Texas? Do you not consider the Bushes old money?

  48. I’m choosing to give the Ivy Style commenting sections a rest for a while, so this will be my last comment for the foreseeable future.

    In recent posts, not only have there been views expressed I strongly disagree with, but there have been a series of personal attacks on a number of regulars, including those I disagree with often enough. I have disagreements with certain individuals politically or stylistically, but I have generally been civil and I have never attacked anyone’s localities, families, or finances. AEV and I often disagree about style, I disagree with Henry and MAC politically. Sometimes these disagreements have become heated. Sometimes I’ve said things I probably shouldn’t have in the heat of the moment. However, I have never been mean, vicious, or cruel just for the sake of being so.

    Unfortunately, this is precisely what has been happening, and I admit it upsets me. I do not like bullies, and I it isn’t healthy to place myself where so much bullying is present.


    I disagree with you on all counts. I’m not sure why you have such strong negativity towards Japan and the Japanese, and I really don’t understand how you can teach and not be interested in the lives of your students. That is beyond me. Let’s leave it at that.


    If there is a way to contact you outside of Ivy Style, and you’re interested in genealogy, I’d love to tell you what I know of how my family came to Texas. We’re originally from Maryland, but I thought carpet bagging was a Reconstruction thing, the Texas branch of the family arrived in Texas just before the Texas Revolution.

  49. Bush “old money” didn’t originate from anywhere near Texas.

  50. New England old money didn’t either. How do you think they got to New England? They migrated. Don’t you think it’s plausible that there are other families with similar ancestry that moved to Texas?

  51. Kionon
    As A once fellow Texan, I meant no offence, I was just trying to take the heat off with some humor. You are correct about the origins of the term “carpet bagger”, but it has been used tongue in check throughout the south for any non native immigrants from the north, especially now with the resent population escape from the north and west coast. By this standard even the most venerable Texas heroes of the Republic are “carpet baggers”. If southerners have anything it’s a sense of humor.

    I am sorry if I have ever offended you, politics is just politics, hell some of my best friend are Marxist and I’ve slow danced with Kathleen Sebelius.

    I’m always interested in your views on Japan, I was conceived there, one sister was born there and three older siblings lived there during the occupation. Teaching is a different thing, not boring, I like read the comments. I don’t comment because I don’t know anything about actually teaching students.

    One’s heritage should always be important, it is where we came from and impacts where we are going. Mine is Irish, no aristocracy, mostly military, union organizing, successful and unsuccessful bootleggers. Sky’s the limit.

    After that last Dallas County, prep. not prep, merry go round, I’d probably need a rest too. But, you’ll be missed. I guess my growing up in the military, knowing people from all back grounds, all political persuasions, all regions with parochial beliefs gave me a tolerance and understanding. I’m not saying I don’t get frustrated sometimes, I just don’t take it personal. Christ, try being a college republican during the V Nam War, if I had a dime for every time I was called Nazi, I’d fly over and take you to lunch. But, you learn to reply with a smile.

    Have a drink, relax, get some sleep and remember,”tomorrow is another day”.

    I really didn’t want to take sides, but I know some Catholic schools with some damn tasty prep uniforms. 😉

  52. Without doing hours of research, my gut feel is that the real money in Texas originated in Texas, home grown.

    Check out Forbes’ top ten richest in America, haven’t seen that list, but I’ll bet that most are only first or second generation money. Jobes, Gates, Kochs, Walmart family, Buffet, maybe Soros is my guess of some, none “old money” or American aristocracy.

  53. MAC,

    You have never offended me. I included you as someone I feel who I have disagreed with civilly, and as someone personal attacks have been directed at, quite unfairly. I felt the need to add this additional comment just to be clear about that, since I have no means to contact out outside of Ivy Style.

  54. Hi Kionon,

    If you think I’m negative about the Japanese, you should hear me about the Latinos. I left Lubbock for Japan to get as far away as possible.

    By the way, I teach English because I believe we have a civilizing mission.

  55. Tabor Kid said:

    *I’ve never heard Frisco been associated with affluence or “prep.”*

    You’ve never heard of the Pacific Union Club, the Bohemian Club, the Olympic Club, the St. Francis Yacht Club? Really? Trust me, we’ve got our share of affluence. And we’ve got our share of Ivy grads, perhaps too many per capita. All the really smart people come form Stanford, Berkeley or MIT — or they dropped out and started companies like Apple.

  56. I’ll give you the courtesy to retract that last comment, Anonymous.

  57. An excellent analysis of those semi-literate guttersnipes Christian. I think your choice of crippled personalities was apt. However many more also seem to be suffering from unhappiness that feeds their delusions of grandeur. Interesting,Mr Tony Ventresca has crawled back into whichever little pond he slithered from after being well and truly put inn his place by he site owner a few months ago!

  58. Edit: * Interestingly,Mr Tony Ventresca has crawled back into whichever little pond he slithered from after being well and truly put in his place by the site owner a few months ago!

  59. A long time ago, I used to write into a blog called gopreppy. It didn’t invent the ivy league style blogs, but it did give birth to one of its founding characters. These days I say the internet should be disinvented. This thread is living proof of the theory.

  60. The fallout from this over the past few days has been very interesting. Remember that everything written on the web is ironic FROM YOUR POINT OF VIEW. The fakes think they’re the real ones, and that the real ones are fakes, et cetera ad nauseum. In this post I called out people for their reprehensible behavior, evidently coping with their pain by lashing out at others anonymously on the net, and some people considered my act reprehensible, not the behavior I was critiquing. In ignoring my point — that their negative behavior is in response to their unhappiness, just as we’d all suspected — such people seemed to suggest that people in pain be absolved of standards of common decency (and sanity) when using the Internet.

    Sitting at a computer compulsively snarking about others is not normal or healthy human behavior, and you probably need to seek help for all the anger you’re carrying around inside of you. You also need to find a new hobby besides complaining about others on clothing websites, something that will make your life more positive and fulfilling.

    I was not so naive as to think those mentioned in this post, and those like them, would see this cold mirror shined in their face, have a sudden realization, and change their ways: coping with their own unhappiness by being terrible towards others. “Hurt people hurt people,” was a great quote someone left here earlier. There’s also Thoreau: “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Very, very few people are actually capable of change, and I can’t help but wonder what these people did with all that anger before the Internet.

  61. Middle linebacker? Hockey enforcer? IRS auditor?

  62. I forgot parochial school nuns before they started dressing themselves like bag ladies.

  63. And, as my dear old dad likes to say, sometimes people are just assholes.

  64. I love the way Christian’s post about the ‘cold mirror’ he held up for the deluded to have a free glimpse of self awareness has led to yet more badly spelled and punctuated protests, while bringing the crippled wannabee puppet master one step closer to his final breakdown.

  65. Would any chums of 4Hep Cat be kind enough to advise him that if he continues to use the word ‘erudite’ it might be a good idea to learn how to spell it?

  66. @Pekham Boy

    4Hep Cat???

  67. This sort of discourse is beneath most all of the participants here. I’m a little disappointed that this post and the resulting comments remain.

  68. “There is no physician like cheerful thought for dissipating the ills of the body; there is no comforter to compare with goodwill for dispersing the shadows of grief and sorrow. To live continually in thoughts of ill-will, cynicism, suspicion and envy is to be confined in a self-made prisonhole.” — James Allen, As A Man Thinketh

  69. Chelsea Drug Store | October 8, 2012 at 9:01 am |

    Comment by Christian — October 8, 2012 @ 6:59 am

    ‘“There is no physician like cheerful thought for dissipating the ills of the body; there is no comforter to compare with goodwill for dispersing the shadows of grief and sorrow. To live continually in thoughts of ill-will, cynicism, suspicion and envy is to be confined in a self-made prisonhole.” — James Allen, As A Man Thinketh’

    ill-will, cynicism, suspicion and envy

    Envy is the generator: the other crippling habits follow.

  70. Mark Miwords | October 8, 2012 at 3:27 pm |

    Envy makes it all understandable and I think that’s wrong and far too easy,
    What you have to confront is hatred.
    You are personally disliked by some.
    But not by all.

  71. ^ ^ ^ Not sure to whom he’s referring, but in case it’s me, it’s worth noting his UK IP address and use of the word “personally.”

  72. Chelsea Drug Store | October 8, 2012 at 8:13 pm |

    Comment by Mark Miwords — October 8, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

    Envy makes it all understandable…

    Yes, that’s exactly how it works, I think. For example, some style writers have columns in internationally acclaimed blogs, attend parties along with world-recognized figures in the clothing world etc.I would imagine that many wannabees who can only manage to attract a few disgruntled, barely literate ex mods would be exceedingly envious. Actually there are such characters that infest the internet. Their lack of security and awareness of their basic inferiority is signalled by their need to change their identities often. I suppose they just aren’t comfortable in their own skins, which have achieved nothing..

  73. Mark Miwords | October 9, 2012 at 12:16 am |

    @ Christian.

    My apologies for not being more explicit Christian, by “you’ I meant Ivy Style as an entity, not you personally. I am indeed based in the UK, but have no dog in this fight. I have even posted very critically on a certain menswear forum to this effect too.

    @ Chelsea.

    I still think that attempts to understand and explain away are a mistake. You seek to humanise inhuman behaviour and find motives which defend the indefensible. To do this is to join in with somebody else’s game. As I have said to you before, if we are talking about who I think we are then you are dealing with a pack of lies. It is as simple as that. A.N.Other would just seem to love winding people up.

  74. Chelsea Drug Store | October 9, 2012 at 2:04 am |

    Comment by Mark Miwords — October 9, 2012 @ 12:16 am

    ‘I still think that attempts to understand and explain away are a mistake. You seek to humanise inhuman behaviour and find motives which defend the indefensible. To do this is to join in with somebody else’s game.’

    Taken to its logical conclusion, Mark, this ‘argument’ suggests that behavioral psychologists are joining in with a murderer’s game by looking for motives. You could be right in the sense that psychopaths behave as they do for no apparent reason other than that they are psychopaths.

    However, in this instance (if indeed we are talking about the same sad soul) to label this unfortunate as a psychopath would be I think to mislabel. What we have here is just an unfortunate who needs to be pitied.

    Thankfully, humans do have compassion and the same can even be said of the unwashed who hang around the object of our ‘study’. I note with interest the willingness shown by the malodorous to defend him. This suggests that even ingrowing toenails and lack of schooling do not diminish one’s ability to respond to a motherless child. Pity must surely be the source of their defense: even they cannot be such dolts as believe he has anything of value to say.

  75. Mark Miwords | October 9, 2012 at 2:48 am |

    And yet you too are engaging with him by this discourse (as am I). This is my point, the man tells you he is a liar and yet you are basing all your analysis on his lies. You have been dragged down the rabbit hole too. What I can’t understand is how he does this. He has no charisma. He presents himself as loathsome and quickly lives up to that description, yet you are all talking about him which is clearly what he wants. And I would still maintain that you are all talking about nothing. His “I don’t exist” defence is the most mocking thing of all. I do not believe a word he says and all this analysis of him is ridiculous. He is a character of fiction.

  76. ‘Dragged down the rabbit hole’! What a deluded little nothing he is. ‘ We drag him here any time we like.

  77. And we now have him talking to himself. Yet again
    Meanwhile other people have lives.

  78. Mark Miwords | October 9, 2012 at 5:40 am |

    All I can see is Ivy Style publicising him. I mean no criticism by this, only a word of caution given with the best of intentions.

  79. I don’t think censorious references in a comments section counts as publicizing.

  80. Mark Miwords | October 9, 2012 at 7:46 am |

    But what does he think ?

  81. Hi Christian, I’ve been reading the blog for a couple of months now and thought I’d say hello. I’ve followed the antagonism between you and the British contingent with interest. I’m from London myself, and hope you don’t have anything against British readers generally. For what it’s worth, I feel I have more in common with your sensibility than theirs. I admire the Ivy aesthetic, but it’s just a good starting point, a bedrock if you will, of assembling a wardrobe.

    I think the British fetishists with their Weejun worship are pretty laughable, but they’re the kind of people who would be collecting bus timetables if they weren’t drooling over loafers. What I do find interesting though, are the way people in different countries reinterpret things, often in startlingly new ways.

    An instance that comes immediately to mind is when hip hop pioneers got hold of early 80s British electronic pop, like Gary Numan and Phil Collins and sampled them to great effect. I’ve heard those names held in some reverence in American hip hop circles, whereas over here they’ve always been something of a joke.

    In the case of Ivy style, the fact that it was exotic has always made a big difference over here. Fashions that may in the US have once had connotations of privilege or conformity in Britain have always signified cosmopolitanism and sophistication.

    Another interesting point is that nowadays there is almost no such thing as a ‘smart casual’ style over here. Wearing an open-necked spread collar means running the risk of looking like an off-duty Conservative politician, whereas an open-necked button-down, or perhaps a knit tie is just unusual enough here to impart a sense of character. Strange that fashions which would once be considered the height of casual attire are now the smartest styles on the street.

    Anyway, I’ve waffled enough. Keep up the good work.

  82. At least three nations, Japan must always be considered now, united by an uncommon wardrobe?

  83. Great piece in the current Esquire on Internet nastiness and just how messed up all those anonymous trolls are:


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


WordPress spam blocked by CleanTalk.