To start, I probably should admit that I am as guilty as anyone in the circle of people that corresponded here (and continue to do so as ever-increasing splinter groups) of perpetuating the cult of personality of web-dom. Oh, I know we have had countless arguments over web elitism, cliques and so forth, but I'm not being as specific as that. I'm talking about the personalization of people over the web based upon the limited interaction we have here, through e-mail, or instant messaging. Even as I belittled, argued against, or otherwise denied that I would be part of it, in doing so I fell into it, and embraced it.
(Say, is this all going to be about Rich? This narcissism will get old pretty fast) Don't worry, I'll move on soon enough.
My point is I am trying to start out this post exposing myself for being somewhat of a hypocrite; such as expounding (as Scott Cohen says) 'It's just a freaking web page, people' or (as Bri has just stated) 'it's just a club' while at the same time diligently updating my home page with a critical eye towards building an audience (while denying that I really need an audience at all) and taking the time to write this rambling 'goodbye' note of sorts, which in itself is an overly dramatic gesture.
This club (it's just a club) evokes strong emotions for many reasons, some of which I don't really understand. It has a phalanx of lurkers that either joined to be part of the 'experience' that was 'the clique' (that did, in fact, exist for readers of PBOT and Monster regardless of any arguments to the contrary), or to actually participate but were too shy to show their virtual faces. It has one banned member, Zach Garland.
Why Alex turned the club over to pink_pant is anyone's guess. Pink doesn't know why; she never asked for it and felt rather burdened by the experience. It may have even left a bad taste in her mouth, which would explain why I haven't seen much of her around other places. Pink gave it to me because I asked. As it states at the top there, 'It's an irony type of thing.'
I've never really cared for airing my personal laundry, or that of others, in a public forum, and I don't really want to go that route (private dissecting, though is loads of fun). But I think I can walked along the line I draw concerning this to just get some of my points across. The reason why I feel it necessarily involves some personal issues is because this club eventually did come down to personal issues, personalities, and the conflicts between them. (And it'll explain the 'irony' part).
Alex and I, from my perspective, got along rather well, web-wise. I found Alex's site just when Anthology began and some of the things she was tackling writing-wise, I was as well. We shared some ideas and she actually quoted some of what I said in that section where she used to quote people. From an experience point of view, she had been on the web longer than I, so I took some cues from her on design and whatnot. Hmm.. too much detail, I think. Anyway, the club started here, plus she created a private club that I never asked to join.
Anyone who has been around awhile knows that I've always been a devil's advocate, if just to be argumentative sometimes. I'm also blunt, not very eloquent, and stubborn. While this, I think, helped spark and continue many excellent discussions on many themes, it came to a point that I was 'infuriating' to Alexis. (Of course, this was after Zach was banned, so it was only a matter of time. Side bar: Zach was, and is, a pretty good guy. As I've told him before, though, he likes to be the victim.. and that was what led to him getting the boot here. All the more Alexis and others tried to get him to change, the more they were actually pushing him to take a harder stance against them, and so on and so on. It was doomed from the start since no one was going to give).
Anyway, for whatever reason, the rapport I had thought I had developed with Alexis fell off. I found it disappointing. I'll say this publicly; I think Alexis is a pretty talented web designer and editor. She's a good wordsmith, but I think her real talent sits in editing. She's got a good imagination. I also think she has some issues that she personally has to deal with and realized that - thus her abrupt departure. But she is not the be all and end all of the medium, the grande dame, or anything like that. Many of you out there are just as talented, if not more so (Bri, for one) - she just got here first.
Hmm.. I could write a book on the dynamics of the interactions of sites and personalities involved in this whole thing, but I'm trying to keep it limited to this club, why it is still here, and what I'm thinking of doing with it and why.
I personally never understood what happened with my correspondence with Alexis, and because of the type of person I am, I have to wonder what happened. It's a touch thing for me to let go because I like to have answers to things like this.
The last few posts have all been very dramatic.. Alex's surprise exit (stage left) wrapped in the air of secrecy an intrigue, and people's reactions to it, like this place was dying. It never really needed to die, but because of the perpetuating cult of personality that surrounded it, people either didn't want it to continue out of 'respect' for Alexis, while others didn't want it because it was just another peek into one of the psychosis that plague Alexis (and that she inevitably published in some form on the web) and they thought it was just weird and narcissistic.
Why did I want to leave it (the Club) here (undeleted)? 3600 posts. A lot of them have been inane. Many of the discussions were stupid. But a good many of them were very insightful. I looked forward to getting the perspectives of the various players, even if it seemed I didn't 'like' them. I never 'disliked' anyone, just for the record.
This is now all moot. Megan has deleted the club moments before I was to post this. I was going to ask the opinion of people if they wanted to preserve any of their old text, to go copy it, give them a few days. If people objected to it being deleted, I simply would have unjoined.
The whole experience has been interesting, from a personal dynamics point of view; alliances, grudges, cults of personality, misunderstandings, and so on. The only liingering I have within myself is the desire to understand, regardless. But then, that is part of my personality. I don't mean any harm... it's just the freakin' web. It's supposed to be fun.