There was some unexpected drama this weekend when Leo Laporte, a longtime technology journalist well known for his work on TechTV, flipped out during a live Internet broadcast after his integrity was questioned by TechCrunch publisher Michael Arrington.
Laporte has a reputation for being genial and non-confrontational, making it all the more amusing to see him drop a bunch of F bombs and kick the entire Gillmor Gang show off the air. After Arrington apologized the two mended fences, but I'm posting the video here to ask a broader question about how people react when they're the target of a tirade like this.
When someone you think of as a friend unloads on you in a moment of anger, itemizing the accumulated list of things that bleeping bleep them the bleep off motherbleeper, in most cases you probably make nice-nice with them later. Water under the bridge. Let bygones be bygones. Peace in our time.
But it's not like you forget the things that were said when the rage knob was dialed up to 11. So as you go forward in the relationship, do you really write off the comments as the product of a fit of anger? I think that most people go through life being nice to a bunch of people they don't like, because the cost of being candid is usually higher than the benefit of telling them off. This is particularly true at a workplace or another professional environment.
As nice as Laporte is reputed to be, if I'm Arrington I would not let the guy take me fishing out on Lake Tahoe.
P.s. If you're reading this and we're not strangers, do not interpret this blog post to mean that I'm hiding the fact that I do not like you. We're totally BFFs.
There's a multitude of assumptions embedded in that statement.
One of the things that makes me extremely uncomfortable in a "conference club" setting, is the necessity of constantly keeping in mind, that while these people might be nice to my face, they did not get to the level where they are by choosing morality over expediency.
The Gillmor Gang is better off without Laporte, actually. Mike just said what he always says. Mike calls out people all the time. This was no different.
Laporte doesn't seem to do well when he's not calling the shots on "his network." And having him crusading to rid the Gillmor Gang of the sins of "Ad Hominem" adds contrast to the way the Gang doesn't mesh with the Twit Network.
BTW, What Mike did was not Ad Hominem, it was a call for "full disclosure." Leo made it mean what he wanted to make it mean.
I love Laporte for what he does with his affable, genial, fun takes on various sides of technology. Keep up the good work, Leo. However, the Twit network is not somewhere you go to get hard-hitting commentary. For that, there's the Gillmor Gang, and Workbench.
Thanks, Scott. I definitely need my own gang. We could fight the Gillmor Gang with elaborate dance numbers like the Sharks and Jets.
I think Arrington didn't really need to apologize, though it was gracious to do so. He was making a point about Palm giving early review units to sites that have covered them favorably and denying them to sites that have been more critical. If Laporte hadn't flipped out, he would have seen that it wasn't a challenge to his personal integrity.
After reading Arrington's apology I don't think Arrington apologized at all. I don't think Arrington even gets what he did.
When Arrington realized that Leo wasn't going to let him get away with his subtle and sneaky allegation and also realized that he had really struck a nerve with Leo, Arrington's response was: "What are you going to do about it?"
That statement totally describes Arrington.
While Arrington kind of apologized and Leo completely apologized, I still think that Leo still views Arrington as a troll. And I also think Arrington will still keep acting like a troll.
# 4 | Marcus Sasiadek | 2009-06-09 10:08 PM | link | edit
I've always watched and listened to Leo since way back when. He is definitely a "politically correct" guy. But I would always catch little things he would say that led me to believe he isn't the sweet cuddly bear he makes out to be. And his arrogance would show every once in a while, but he was quick to put his mask back on. He has a bunch of fans that will defend him, as these comments show. But as the saying goes, "the truth hurts" and Leo got hurt when he was called out. I'm no fan of the Gilmore Gang, they bore me. But Im not going to defend Leo simply because I always listen to him and my disliking of the Gilmore Gang.
This kind of thinking is why Bill Maher was booted from ABC back in 2001. Come on people. Even Oprah shouldn't get all the praise that is given to her. Sure, she comes out with informative and helpful episodes, but she also comes out with crap and she should be called out on it. No one is perfect.
# 5 | Dave Coultier | 2009-06-11 08:54 PM | link | edit