28 February 2008
Then he adds a neat little parenthetical qualification, for which I will personally take credit. He writes, "Yet, with a single (quickly rectified) exception, every conclusion extrapolated here has proven accurate."
The exception that I presume he has in mind involves a reporter named Susan Antilla, of Bloomberg News, who has written critically of Mr. Bagley's favorite company, Overstock dot com. That's always a good way to draw Bagley's attention, which it seems to have done.
Antilla is also the ex-wife of Dennis Leibowitz. For the particulars of why that's important to Mr. Bagley see what I wrote in September.
Anyway, after Bagley went out on a limb on an IV bulletin board and referred to the present-tense Antilla-Leibowitz marriage, he was immediately informed of the divorce. He chose not to believe it, and to write up his disbelief in Antisocial. He even suggested Antilla's divorce lawyer may have failed to file the appropriate papers, so she may still be married without knowing it.
Now, this is a matter on which there can't be a lot of room for confusion. I happen to be a member of the bar of the state of Connecticut (that is itself a matter of public record, as easily verified as is marital status!) and I know that a divorce can be verified with ease.
Anyway, after this was explained sufficiently to Bagley, he eventually deleted the babbling from his website. Since he's been called on it before, I do believe that's the "one exception" to his accurate "extrapolations" he now acknowledges so fleetingly.
We shouldn't let him off the hook too easily here, especially given the odd word "extrapolation" itself. He made a false statement of fact on an easily verified matter. What was supposedly extrapolated?
I'm not inclined to accept his implicit factual claim (in that parentheses) that this was his only factual error. He hasn't hired me as a fact checker, after all. But I'm pretty confident that is the factual error that inspired the parenthesis, because of an exchange he and I had on the subject in September of last year.
At that time, Bagley e-mailed me to note that I had referred to "demonstrably false assertions" of his. He asked which assertions were those. I replied, referencing Susan Antilla. He responded to that, claiming that he hadn't made the marital claim about Susan Antilla in his blog, only on IV. That was a demonstrably false assertion itself, as I pointed out to him in his reply. Deleting something from a blog doesn't mean it was never there. Deletion isn't a memory hole.
He replied telling me, "Forget Susan Antilla," [I'm sure he would like me to] and asking me for other examples of his falsehood, on the theory that learning of them would help him develop as a writer. At this point I was getting tired of the game, and I didn't reply.
As I had expected, he soon thereafter posted a very long blog entry in which my name plays a very small part. He puts me on a list of his blog's "harshest critics" and complains in general that none of us have replied to his e-mail. "My e-mail must be broken" he says, in what I suppose is meant to be irony or sarcasm or something stylish.
Just in case anybody who read that has now found your way here. Mr. Bagley's e-mail isn't broken. I did reply to his initial request about whether he had said anything demonstrably false, and I pointed out to him that he had. He told me to "Forget Susan Antilla." I did so, and accordingly did not respond subsequently. Now I see that all of this rates a parentheses from him.
Ah, so I have not lived and breathed entirely in vain.
Why am I taking note of it only now, five months later? Well, because Bagley doesn't occupy many of my neurons for very long and I've let time slip by occupied with other matters.
But I come back to it because I do feel a certain non-emotive indignation at being listed, as I now have been, as among Mr. Bagley's blog's "harshest critics." That's language that just makes you say: huh? If I'm among that blog's harshest critics, it leads a charmed life indeed. I've written of it rarely, and if any "harshness" has crept into my writing on the subject, I'm unaware of it. Correcting the Antilla error isn't harshness. It's fact finding. Positing the absense of any need for an article about Mr. Bagley on wikipedia may be as "harsh" as I've gotten. But, hey, there's no article on wikipedia about me, either, and that's honky-dory at this end.
Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.