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Ewan and Brad sat at the foot of Feldspar's Porsche water bed. The cheap Superfriends duvet didn't feel great on their bare asses but that didn't matter. Jon stood in the middle facing them. He pumped their cocks with methodical efficiency and smiled at the Mary Lou Retton poster above his bed. "Man, I wish I was Bela Karoli," he thought to himself. "Well Mary Lou, which one of these guys do I jerk off to completion and which do I leave hanging?" Mary Lou smiled down at him beatifically. She winked. He had his answer. He winked back. The future was wide open.

Date Written: December 02, 2003
Author: Dylan Danko
Average Vote: 4.5

12/2/2003 qualcomm: see matza's most recent short for a more effective example of a 'protest short'
12/2/2003 Texxx (4): Bela Karoli? Nice.
12/2/2003 Dylan Danko: If you have to label it a 'protest short' to make yourself feel better go right ahead.
12/2/2003 Dylan Danko: Bela Karoli is the famed American Olympic gymnastics coach
12/2/2003 qualcomm: i was just trying to give this pointless piece form and shape.
12/2/2003 Dylan Danko: Huh?
12/2/2003 qualcomm: me
12/2/2003 Dylan Danko: As you know I always hate to disagree with you jon but I'm liking this one more and more.
12/2/2003 Texxx: I'm aware of Karoli. I'm just impressed he was included in a short.
12/2/2003 Dylan Danko: Sorry Texxx. I saw the question mark and thought i needed to explain.
12/2/2003 Texxx: No problem. The Mary Lou Retton was nice too, by the way.
12/2/2003 Phony Millions (5): Five stars because I'm on the receiving end! Eat your heart out, Feldspar! And while you're at it, got any lube?
12/2/2003 Will Disney: wow - look at that 3.2 rating - and with two 5 star votes! guess we've got a few secret dive bombers on this short. not enough to get it below the 2.9 "death" level though.
12/2/2003 Will Disney: make that one five star and a four from tex - whoops.
12/3/2003 Will Disney (4): four stars!
12/3/2003 qualcomm: come on, this thing's a shitter.
12/3/2003 Dylan Danko: Don't make this personal, Jon, it's just a short.
12/3/2003 Jon Matza: I'd like to weigh in here because some vital points aren't being made. First, it strikes me as bogus, to put it mildly, for Danko to accuse Feldspar of 'making it personal' when he depicts Feldspar, Snow et al in such a compromising situation. If this wasn't an attempt to provoke a personal response, my name isn't Matza. Why not use fictitious characters instead?

As for the contents, I'll admit it succeeded as a piece of blatant provocation, but that's about it, frankly. Does it really have any other value?

This brings up a larger point: While these controversies can be entertaining, I'm distressed to sense a recent trend in which the hopes of inciting a heated/defensive response becomes the primary reason for writing a short. What happened to the innocent days when we created our shorts for love of characters like Tildar, Dick Gregario and the gay actuary? Surely when incitement becomes the primary reason for a short (and worse, gets taken seriously) it results in a loss of quality. I'd go further and say it goes against the spirit of the whole enterprise...and finally, must be monumentally boring and offputting for guests to come across.

p.s. Next time please include me in the short.
12/3/2003 qualcomm: yeah. also, i'm not judging this as poor because it makes fun of me. i actually think it sucks. i'm just emphatically saying so because it makes fun of me.
12/3/2003 Ewan Snow: I don't agree with Matza because that's what the "Inside Short" marker is for. Guests won't see them by default. Dylan, mark this as an inside short.
12/4/2003 Phony Millions: I don't know - I think this is funny insider or not. The references such as Mary Lou Retton, Beli Karoli, and the water bed are from a Gen-X spring from which we all partake and litters our shorts to varying degrees of success. Furthermore, fellow readers does not Feldspar's heated denouncement of this short strikes you as a transparently defensive gesture? Dylan is treading on Feldspar's own turf here, specifically, the playful, light-hearted fecality of 80's homosexuality found in such Feldspar classics as here
12/4/2003 Dylan Danko: I will address all these issues by the end of the day.
12/4/2003 qualcomm: come on, evans, i admitted it was a defensive gesture in my last post. anyhow, dylan and i talked about this short last night and it proved most enlightening. one of the reasons i disliked the short was because, as stated in one of my earlier posts, it seemed pointless. making fun of me is a legitimate subject for a short, but the barbs need to have some truth to them. to me, this short seemed to lack that; it might as well have been some in depth description of me eating a bowl of diarrhea, a childish insult with no merit to it. however, dylan informed me that there was in fact a point that i was missing: the short was apparently about my giving high ratings to ewan's short about brad and to brad's short about ewan. playing both sides, or sucking both sides off. ok then. that's totally legit. i still don't think it's a very good short, but i stand largely corrected.
12/4/2003 Ewan Snow: To answer Matza’s question about if it has any other value, I’d say yes. This short contained the following jokes:

1. “Porsche waterbed”
2. Superfriends duvet on bare asses
3. Bela Karoli reference

All three are halfway decent, if not laugh-out-loud funny, which is at least par for the course, I’d say. Feldspar’s revelation about its allegorical meaning was apparent to me at first reading, so I’ll give it a point for that, too. I do agree that it would be good to write a short about Feldspar eating a bowl of diarrhea. Feldspar, why would you be defensive about such a silly short? I still think, however, that these should all be marked as an inside shorts. Disney, isn’t that how it’s supposed to work? What the F?
12/4/2003 qualcomm: i don't think the references in this short are "halfway decent" jokes. they have a secondhand dennis miller quality that rankles me. not trying to harp on this, dylan, but i feel compelled now to rebut people's comments. i have no problem being the butt of a short, such as this one by benjamin maniacs, which, interestingly, depicts my annoyance at being the butt of jokes. i guess the difference is that maniacs' short makes a real point about my personality, while the point being made in danko's strikes me as contrived and false.
12/4/2003 Dylan Danko: My God! First off, my apologies for not marking it as an inside short. I thought I had, please forgive me. Matza, surely we are still allowed to make lighthearted fun of one another without fear of personal, irrational retribution that lacks any sense of proportion. I don't need to link to the number of shorts that lampoon me, some with direct references to recent events I'd like to forget. Some of them were funny and I rated them accordingly. Some I found less so - not because I felt hurt by them - and I simply declined to comment. Should I not expect the same? Unless I’ve put my foot in my mouth and inadvertently dredged up real events better left unwritten about, nothing in the short should be taken personally. I simply noticed what I thought was Feldspar humorously playing Brad and Ewan off of each other with his comments to their shorts. Because they have all known each other since their school days, I imagined, for the purpose of my short that this dynamic existed for a long time. I'll admit the attempt to provoke but only as it related to the recent debate between Brad and Ewan and the comments that followed. Matza, your point about the overall value of provocative shorts is well taken and you're to be commended for staying above the fray but it certainly isn't a recent trend. If anything there have been fewer of them than in the past. I agree with Ewan's assessment of this short. It's not particularly great - the jokes are only ok etc etc - and it certainly doesn't merit the numerous comments but it is not the "shitter" Feldspar pretends it is. So now on to Feldspar. Sorry to say it, Jon, but I find your responses shrill and unconvincing. When Evans accuses you of defensiveness, you pretend to have already copped to it in an attempt to prevent further allegations. You’re comment, “…i'm not judging this as poor because it makes fun of me. I actually think it sucks. I’m just emphatically saying so because it makes fun of me” doesn’t admit anything. It’s just more of the same, strange vitriol. Your most recent comment is simply bizarre. You claim – and until now I thought it was true – to have no problem with being the butt of a short yet you use Maniac’s short as an example and commend him for accurately representing a part of your personality – um…the part that gets annoyed at being the butt of jokes. So which is it? Is Maniac’s depiction accurate? Do you get annoyed when people joke at your expense or is it as contrived and false as my depiction of you occasionally playing the devilish instigator? I’m not even sure if your interpretation of Maniac’s intent is accurate but does it really matter? I get the feeling - and this may be defensiveness on my part but hey I’ve earned it - that your reaction to my short has little to do with the short itself and more to do with your general opinion of me. I can’t help but feel that if someone else wrote the short you would have a different reaction to it. So I suggest we hate fuck until the hate goes away and there’s nothing left but love…pure, adult, shameless love!
12/4/2003 Phony Millions: Hadn't caught the allegorical suck-off thing, nice. Feldspar, you have humbled yourself more than necessary. We understand it hit a nerve.
12/4/2003 qualcomm: now just hang on there: maniacs' short represents me as being annoyed by poorly constructed jokes at my expense. i think the strange, possibly shrill tone of my comments has less to do with my opinion of you as a person (seriously, i think you're tops), than with the sense i have that since the short had me as the butt, i can't give it a bad comment, since that would mean i'm taking things too seriously. well, fuck that. you can see it in the comments; there seems to be a general consensus that i couldn't possibly be giving a fair rating to this short because i'm poked fun of in it. that kind crap triggers a certain perverse tendency in me to go ahead and badmouth it even more than i normally would have. i'd like to thank you and the acme community for this opportunity for self-discovery. i apologize for wounds inflicted. no hard feelings on either side, i hope. you i'm into.
12/4/2003 qualcomm: and it didn't hit a nerve, evans, you douchewig!
12/4/2003 Dylan Danko: For the record, I never intended for you to be the butt. That honor was supposed to be shared by Brad and Ewan. You had the power...which i found and still find very alluring, Feldy. Murmur, murmur, coo, coo.
12/4/2003 Dylan Danko: I should say, though, that your attacks preceded any accusation of defensiveness. Not the other way around.
12/4/2003 qualcomm: that's true, but 1) they grew in vitriol exponentially after the accusations of defensiveness, and 2) i knew before posting even the first comment that i was setting myself up for such accusations, and lo and behold.
12/5/2003 Ewan Snow: Okay, I guess this is more or less played out, but that won’t stop me from attempting to get the last word. (I have to say that all of these ridiculous new controversies add a fun (albeit histrionic) new element to acme.) As for this one in particular, I really don’t think the short’s so bad, Jon, not as bad as you have been saying, anyway. It’s not great, particularly, but there are plenty of worse ones on the site which have gone without comment entirely. Why attack Dylan over it? To do so draws attention to itself. Not every short is going to be great; so be it. The Maniacs’ one you point to does even less for me, however. I couldn’t even get through it the first time I read it, and still don’t quite see its point. Is there really something about it that is telling about your personality? On the other hand, Dylan is right, there have been plenty of nasty ones about him (with or without merit) over time, probably more than about anybody else, which he has had the good grace to put up with.

This short could have been criticized effectively by pointing out its specific weaknesses or it could have simply been ignored. But you chose to engage and all in all, you failed on this one, Jon. You say that you knew that you would be accused of defensiveness and you were right, naturally; why shouldn’t you be? All that means is that either 1) it would have been impossible for you to effectively trash it, 2) you would have been better off just writing a counter-short, or 3) you should have very specifically pointed out its weaknesses in a tone moderate and dispassionate enough that nobody would mistake it for mere defensiveness. The fact that something like one of the above is needed in order to be taken seriously (when critiquing work seen as criticizing you) is just the way it is, fair or not, and is not your fault. Your inability to see that fact, however, is your fault, and is the reason you have effectively lost this argument. By striking down Dylan’s short you have only made it grow more powerful!

As for Matza’s claim that this stuff takes away from the pure short aesthetic, I have to respectfully disagree, though I can see where he’s coming from. But consider this: acme was on its deathbed a month ago; before all of these inside shorts and comment threads started showing up, readership was way down. Now we’re all checking it several times a day. Besides, a little bit of an insider feel is not a bad thing. Think of all of the insider jokes on Stern. People get into that (at least potentially) because it gives a feeling of listening in on a private conversation. Anyway, that’s another topic, which I think I’ll post in the discussion area. I’d like to hear what y’all think.
12/5/2003 qualcomm: The last last word.

First of all, I didn’t “attack Dylan.” Look at the record. I attacked his short. There is a difference. For an ad hominem attack example, I would direct the reader to snow’s comments in response to one “Lenny,” here.

Granted, my first several salvos on this piece were short and vitriolic, but
a) that is well within acme comment tradition;
b) I simply didn’t care enough about the whole thing to write anything long and well thought out; and
c) these comments are being read mainly by people who know me personally. why would I assume that they would be so misconstrued as containing actual venom towards Dylan? does that really sound like the feldspar you know?

Look at the record. It is only when my motives were called into question that my responses got lengthy. The way I see it, the short is a completely benign, good-natured assault on Ewan, Brad, and I. By keeping my comments on it short and over the top, I think I was responding completely in the spirit of things. Yes, I genuinely disliked the short. Yes, if I weren’t a character in it, I probably would have responded in my usual way for shorts I dislike: not at all. Since I was a character, however, I felt it was ok for me to make my opinion known, and in overly vehement language.

For some reason, though, my comments were taken as evidence of a wounded ego by the AcmeShorts community, and I was accused of being incongruously thin-skinned. It was then that I started to get pissed off in earnest, not at the short, but at those accusations. I think what’s particularly galling are these accusations that I was the one who made all of this personal. Error. Look at the record. My comments are all directed AT THE WRITING, not the author. The only personal comments are the ones directed at me.

As to the claim that I didn’t write any dispassionate comments that point out legitimate faults of the short, that is simply incorrect. I would direct you to my comments dated 12/4/2003 10:33:35 AM and 12/4/2003 12:48:43 PM. Agree with them or not, when it comes to the subject of the short, these comments are completely academic in tone. Finally, re your preference for this short over Maniacs’, I would attribute that to taste error.

In the cold light of day, I stand by my comments of 12/3/2003 12:38:51 PM. You’ll find it’s quite similar to my comment on Ewan’s short, here, a comment I made in response once again to an attack on my motivations. Okay, I’m sorry, I didn’t like the short. That’s my honest response. But who cares? Was a lot of work put into it? I would direct all of my detractors’ attention to your oft-repeated mantra: “It’s just a short.”
12/5/2003 qualcomm: oft-repeated even by mantra standards, i probably meant...
12/5/2003 Ewan Snow: Okay, so your feelings were hurt. Let's just leave it at that...
12/5/2003 Will Disney: ha
12/5/2003 qualcomm: i'm going to wisconsin
12/5/2003 Dylan Danko: In the spirit of the holiday season I'll forgo providing rational, well thought out and definitive responses to Feldspar's most recent attempt at an apology. Instead, I wonder if perhaps Ewan will make his house available tonight for some drinks and good natured chit chat?
12/5/2003 Jon Matza: Interestingly, every nuance of this controversy has been prophesied in Gang Starr's "Take it Personal" (note last couplet in particular...)

"Don`t be mad cause I don`t come around the way
like I used to, I don`t have time these days
I`m keeping busy making power moves
Don`t try to say I don`t remember you
You shouldn`t let your jealousy show like that
I stopped coming by, cause of the way you act
Telling my business to kids I don`t even know
You`re like a daytime talk show, and that`s low
So you can tell everyone, that I`m jerking you
And if you don`t like it, take it personal"

12/17/2003 anonymous: Hi this is Bela Karoli - Firstly, I want to point out to you all that I really didn't have too much to do with Olympic Gold winner Mary Lou Retton's success as a gymnist. Furthermore, I would like to express my objection; with all due respect - this site appears to me to be about gay issues, and I'm not very interested with having my name connected to all this. Please take my name out, or I'll have to take more drastic measures. Sincerely, Bela Karoli
12/18/2003 Dylan Danko: Maniacs is that you?
01/27/2004 Joseph Keith: what am i getting into here?? lol
03/9/2004 anonymous (5):