A Case Study In Fury

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 16.884% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

Yesterday afternoon, I posted about the Speed of Rage and leaping to conclusions.  Then, later that evening, I posted this Twitter:

RT @plunderpuss: Hey everyone, please congratulate @PayPal on being a bag of DICKS to POOR KIDS at CHRISTMAS.http://bit.ly/vAujQX

It’s difficult to reconcile the two.  On the one hand, if you fire too fast, you wind up in a Siri-like conflagration of heat without substance. On the other hand, if you never fire at all, you don’t spread the word of bad things that people should know about, and potentially act/complain/generate more PR about.  So when do you know to pull that trigger?
I’d like to tell you that I know for sure.  But I’m a fuzzy logician.  This was probably the right trigger to pull.  Maybe.
Because first, I looked at who posted that link: that’d be my pal Skerry, who’s a hard-core liberal, frequently angry (in the sense that I’m frequently angry about things). Is he the sort of person who’d pass along a link without really analyzing it to see whether it’s true?  Survey says there’s a non-zero chance that he might, carried away by surface rage.  But on the other hand, being dicks to poor kids is the kind of thing I’d want to pass along if it did happen.
So then I read the entry.  It’s by Regretsy, a site I’ve generally enjoyed in the past, and they’re not notable for getting into flame wars.  This is what I think of as “The Yankovic Rule” – generally, Weird Al’s pretty chill, so when he blows up about Lady Gaga yanking him around about a cover of “Born This Way,” I assume the egregiousness of the slight is well above the beam.  And Regretsy’s been pretty stable in the past; I can’t remember a time when they seemed crazy angry at all, let alone crazy angry without substance.
Then there’s the villain: PayPal.  They’ve been bags of dicks to plenty of craftspeople, and this seems like something they’d do – sticking to their guns of policy regardless of what it says on the paper, with a bunch of idiot drones spouting company line.  I know of people who’ve had their accounts shut down for no reason, and I’ve dealt with PayPal and their suspended payments during disputes.  They’re a monolith who acts like a monolith, with most customer service interactions ending in a silent “…so where else you gonna go?”
So I opted to post the link, with the knowledge that this could be a misunderstanding.  It may be that someone at Regretsy is riotously misinterpreting and/or misquoting things, and PayPal is innocent.  But given the density of the original post (which is down at the moment, but a summary is here), I doubt they’d post that much detail if it wasn’t their last resort. So I posted the link, along with the characterization of “a bag of dicks,” in the hope that it reached critical mass enough that PayPal would be shamed into acting correctly.
In this way, I contributed to a ragefest yesterday.  Not sure I did the right thing.  Am about 93, maybe 95% sure I did.  Good enough.  But not enough to feel 100% good about myself until I know more facts.


  1. Richard Feldman
    Dec 6, 2011

    Not to nit pick overmuch on “Lady Gaga yanking him around,” but it does seem appropriate given the subject of these last two posts – I followed the link to the Weird Al post, and at the end he has an update noting that it turned out it to be Lady Gaga’s manager who yanked Al around, not Gaga herself.
    Apparently the manager never even told her about the song, and once she heard it she loved it and gave her approval right away.

    • TheFerrett
      Dec 6, 2011

      Or so Lady Gaga said, once it hit critical mass. If I’d been putting him off, I’d have blamed my manager too. I don’t necessarily believe anyone’s story of events here – and to be fair, even if it is true, the point about Al being enraged by what he perceived as Lady Gaga’s actions stands in terms of “Normally does not do this.”

      • Richard Feldman
        Dec 6, 2011

        Very good point. And yeah, certainly the central Al Barometer (Alometer?) thesis stands regardless.

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