Friday, May 31, 2013

The Problem, The Solution


A fellow blogger recently emailed me and asked whether or not I planned to come out of hibernation and resume the blog.  I responded by saying that not blogging is actually emerging from hibernation.  Between the malware attacks and a few creepy internet stalkers, I am a bit hesitant to do much more.

A day or two ago, I was sent a link to the blog Ivy Style, authored by Christian Chensvold.  In the blog post, he reveals another web-sleuth's stalker-bounty by posting the name and portrait of another blogger who wished to remain anonymous.  The source of his animosity seemed to be little more than a dislike for the other fellow's blog.  Instead of simply choosing to not read it, Ivy Style's author repeatedly took the low-road, dedicating countless pages to petty sniping and rallying a cowardly army of keyboard losers in a circle of self-gratification.

Not posting one's identity on the web serves to both protect one's personal interests (family, job, social life) and to keep the ideas and writings focused away from the author and on the writing itself.  One of the reasons I have intentionally walked away from all of this is because of a series of emails I received asking me about my family, with links to the website for my son's school.  The email was 'anonymous'.
Offline, it is common for bloggers to send one another personal emails, and "Richard" was no different, having entrusted a few of us with his true identity.  But we honored his wish and mutually respected obvious self-set boundaries.

Back to Ivy Style...
Unable to let go of his childish obsession, Chensvold sought to direct his malicious and blood-thirsty cadre of trolls, snoopers, and bunny-boilers to the actual personal identity of the author behind the oddly named blog WASP101.  With the operating ethics of a tabloid photographer, he published "Richard's" details, knowing full-well that his small band of laptop-hunched lonely souls would also immediately begin their own cyber-tormenting.

Several people questioned his motivation and professionalism (since he regularly voices contempt towards the "amateur bloggers") and he took the most gutless hand-wipe of a path possible:


"Let me once again clarify that I merely presented strange coincidences and behaviors here. I did not seek to prove something I’m not in the position to prove."


The simple fact is that a clothing blogger wanted to remain anonymous, and was not allowed to thanks to the efforts of a purportedly "professional" blogger.

In the end, the joke may be on Ivy Style, because it now turns out that all his theories about the true lifestyle of Richard were wrong.  Richard gets the last laugh, because he was revealed to be quantifiably popular, genuinely charismatic, and socially confident.  That must sting more than a little for Chensvold.

And all because of a clothing blog.

---

The way I see it, this will be my last post.  I hate to end on so sour a note, but it seems that there are far too many readers of men's clothing blogs who feel that operating a blog automatically evaporates one's right to privacy, though commenting anonymously on those blogs should somehow remain a protected entitlement.  In my world it does not, but I suppose that I have been naive.  These sick perverts somehow consider one's entire family as fair targets as well, so with that in mind, I am stepping fully into real life by ending this blog.

I have enjoyed the very real friendships that I have made through this, the parties, the visits, the dinners, and every invitation that I was able to accept, and I will continue to enjoy those friendships, hopefully for the rest of my life.  If you find yourself near Boston, I hope that we might raise a glass (of anything) together, and interact as humans were meant to, without the interference or distraction of a lighted computer screen.  If you see the drinks flag flying in the late afternoon, please stop by.  You'll know it when you see it.

--

That milky warm sea breeze from the Atlantic blows in with the smell of salt, and the city is quiet.  A starling nips off a sprig of rosemary from my potted plant on the roof-deck, cocks his head, and flies off.  Don't drop it you thief, it means the world to me.




-Yankee-Whisky-Papa


49 comments:

  1. THANK you. You hit the nail on the right end.

    Chensvold's problems are threefold. First, he lacks much wit, or at least hasn't discovered how to demonstrate it to readers. Second, his tirades have the sour grapes subtext of the plain, fat schoolgirl who bitches about the cuter, more popular girls. And third (and perhaps worst), he's an utter poseur.

    I have no problem with people who aren't actually from the background aspiring to look as if they are, but Chensvold's hubris has been given so much scope that he has set himself up as the arbiter of prep and Ivy League _everything_, while himself being the product of the non-prep Santa Rosa High School and the non-Ivy Cal State Fullerton.

    Two out of those three of those would be enough to push the needle from "tiresome" to "annoying". Chensvold's hat trick pushes it all the way over to "ludicrous". Thank you for calling him on it.

    By the bye -- I'm sorry to see your blog end; it was always one of my favorites. Perhaps someday you'll return, re-inspired.

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    Replies
    1. Christian has never represented himself to be the arbiter of anything. He has never made claims on his blog to be a WASP, or even to come from a preppy background. He has also disclosed his heritage, and I don’t think he’s ever made any claim to any type of pedigree.

      It seems like the reasons stated above for shutting down the blog go well beyond what Christian has done with the “outing” of Richard. Expectations of privacy on the internet *should* be very low. It is the most public of forums. If one wishes not to have their private life shared with others, then they should not run the risk of exposure by sharing parts of it with the world at large. One cannot sit on both sides of the fence.

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    2. "Christian has never represented himself to be the arbiter of anything".

      What utter rot. Through his former site, Dandyism.net, Chensvold set himself up as the absolute arbiter of all things "dandy", and he used that bully pulpit to not only define what supposedly was or wasn't "dandy", but to criticize many men who HE deemed "undandy". Dandyism.net is an appeal-to-authority fallacy from start to finish, and with Chensvold as its self-appointed arbiter.

      The same is the case with "Ivy Style", where Chensvold has repeatedly done the same. To wit: on the page "How Ivy are You?", he contrived a quiz to "find out where you all fall on the sartorial spectrum of hip to square, fashionable to traditional, undarted purist to darted apologist." Likewise, this page -- http://www.ivy-style.com/the-rise-and-fall-of-the-ivy-league-look.html -- is rife with claims of Chensvold being the arbiter of prep and Ivy League. If you've missed that fact, you're either a member of Chensvold's echo chorus, or you haven't been paying attention.

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  2. You'll be missed, but I can't blame you. All the best to you, and thanks for all the interesting reading!

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  3. I don't agree with you entirely. This mess is the result of the brinksmanship both engaged in, and I can find fault with both of their actions. The A bomb should never have been dropped, though.

    As for you, YWP, I can not blame you one bit for pulling the plug on this site when you've been receiving inappropriate information requests. I really have a hard time grasping how someone could feel alright asking you questions about your intimate life. There are things I won't even ask my closest friends. I'm disappointed that we won't have your entertaining point of view or helpful hints any longer; but, things run their course.

    Have a great summer hoisting the p.m. flag for cocktails. Thank you and all the best.

    Dave Taylor

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  4. I was wondering when this sad day would come. Our chum Bunny mentioned that you were thinking of shutting the show down. If I might suggest it, why not occasional guest posts on a friend's blog should the urge overtake you? Somehow I think guest posters are less targeted by trolls and stalkers than are the main proprietors.

    I guess this shutdown would also preclude a potential book deal, as that would presumably amp up the weirdo contingent to no end.

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  5. Thanks for some good reads. Your "Lessons Learned from RL Rugby" was a classic. Under the circumstances, I certainly understand.

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  6. I'm so sorry to see you go but I understand.

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  7. Thank you for every post---- you've written with true class and style. The stopping of your blog
    is our loss.

    Best wishes,
    Beth

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  8. I'm so sorry to see this happen.

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  9. Right on, Papa. Its been an ugly couple of days. Almost makes me want to jettison every coat and tie in the closet in favor of sack cloth.

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  10. right on, right on....thank you ywp. you'll be missed.

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  11. What a bleeding shame! Unlike those other "preppy" bloggers, you were the real deal and that's why we enjoyed reading you so. Thank you for your time and acumen, your graciousness and aplomb. Be well!

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  12. Sorry to hear this. You will be missed indeed.

    Only a real snob - and I mean this in the worst possible sense - would have done what the Ivy Style blogger did. Sad.

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  13. Sad to know that your excellent prose will be absent from the net. The whole WASP101 "affair" is absurd. Nevertheless, I for one do not think such events should prevent you from continuing to share your thoughts with like-minded souls.

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    Replies
    1. You'll never read this, Andy, but thank you and I miss you.

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  14. Thank you YWP. Your sensibility will be sorely missed.

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  15. From ywp on ivystyle before cc removes it:

    "No Christian, there is a big difference between what opinions I may have on bespoke shirts and where my children go to school. If you can’t see the difference, then you are truly a very sick person. To “splash some cold water” here, you write a blog about what some college kids wore in the 1960′s, not a credible investigatory column for the Washington Post in the 70′s, so spare me the journalistic ethics babble. I didn’t quit my blog because you outed someone. I ended it because you and many of your followers can’t see the difference between disagreeing on cufflinks and fueling a platoon of cyber-pervs who want to destroy the lives of others, including children. It really is sick.

    Should your detractors systematically and relentlessly contact all of your advertisers and convince them to go elsewhere? Would that disruption of your livelihood be fair game? Would cyber-stalking your girlfriend be par for the course just because you write a blog about clothes that few people wear?

    If publishing is so public, why do you protect the anonymity of your commenters and sources? Yeah, yeah, I know… journalistic blah blah blah."



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  16. I'll miss your posts. Godspeed.

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  17. As a casual reader, much of this seems to have escaped me. Have we lost all perspective? A blog about clothing is just that. To most of us, clothing and accessories can be fun and relaxing. As a professional, clothing is also a bit of a uniform. Becoming informed about the whats, hows and whys of clothing is useful and enjoyable. To make it the be all of life is to place on it an artificial value which it does not deserve. Maybe these folks should spend time volunteering at a local food bank, soup kitchen, children's hospital or nursing home.

    On a personal note, thanks for the material. Its been very enjoyable and I especially love the note about your "favorite Zodiac sign".

    Peace.

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  18. hate to see you go, but understand it. another big blogger recently outed himself, mainly so no one else would, and so he could control the message.

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  19. You are so right. Just look at what has happened to Christian Chensfold! Who wants this!

    http://www.punchinthefacebook.com/punch/ivy-sty/christian-chensfold

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  20. I enjoyed your musings over the last couple of years and have missed them over the last couple of months. Thanks for creating something interesting and putting it out there. Sorry to see you go.
    Best,
    CTS

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  21. I am very sorry to see you go. And very sorry that someone made you concerned for your family. That just plain sucks.

    I will continue to look for the cocktail flag, in my ramblings around the Hub.

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  22. So sad when someone ruins a great thing for the rest of us. Thanks for your sardonic wit, blithe observations, and for making me laugh so many times.

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    Replies
    1. Well said. Agree 100%

      Delete
  23. Christian is a dick. he didn't even go to an ivy league school

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    Replies
    1. Yep. Chensvold waxing pedantic about "Ivy Style" is about as authentic as Bakersfield's biggest "Downton Abbey" fan waxing pedantic about the British aristocracy.

      Delete
  24. As someone more eloquent than I once put it: "So long and thanks for all the fish!"

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  25. Christian posts under his real name. Most of you are posting anonymously and/or under pseudonyms.

    That alone speaks volumes as to who is a "dick" and who isnt.

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  26. Christian uses his real name. It appears the majority of those who are talking about him here are doing so anonymously and/or through pseudonyms.

    That alone speaks volumes about who is a "dick" and who isn't.

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  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  28. Bummer.

    Thank you for "Nothing Wasted" and tipping me to Eric Sloane. Those alone put this site above the others.

    "Nothing Wasted" remains some of the best memoir writing I've read.

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  29. Bummer.

    Thanks for "Nothing Wasted" and tipping me to Eric Sloane. Those alone put this site over the rest.

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  30. Good luck, have enjoyed reading!

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  31. Good luck, and I have enjoyed reading the postings for the past few years.

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  32. Y-W-P,

    I enjoyed your witty posts very much; quite saddened the experience must end now. Nevertheless, if you are thinking of deleting this weblog, I do suggest downloading a copy of it for your own archive. It'd be a pity to lose it all. (In case, you can do so under options, 'Others', and 'Import Blog'.

    Farewell!

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  33. I am an occasional reader who will miss your well-written, intelligent, and funny dispatches. I can't blame you for ceasing publication, however--the glee with which WASP101's author was outed and then pilloried for the crime of authoring a (very bad) clothing blog is frightening. As someone who wishes to remain semi-anonymous for a number of completely innocuous reasons, the idea that others believe they need not respect the boundaries you set in your online life disturbs me. --WRJ

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  34. I followed your blog for some time I don't particularly subscribe to the prep/trad aesthetic; rather I followed simply because you seemed quite genuine and I enjoyed your insight. This is the first post I've ever commented and unfortunately it seems will be the last. I live a rather transient lifestyle so if I ever do end up in Boston proper I'll keep an eye out for those flags. Cheers.

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  35. I followed your blog for some time and while I don't particularly subscribe to the prep/trad aesthetic I found you to be genuine and insightful. This is the first time I've commented on a post,and unfortunately it seems will be the last. I remain rather transient and if I ever find myself in Boston proper I'll keep my eye out for those drinking flags. Best of luck.

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  36. I'm sorry to read this as well. I hope you will consider a book, not only about your subject, but about your entire blogging experience.

    With so many of us blogging, I think you would have an interested market.

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  37. I warned all of you that Chensvold is a small-minded poser and a thorough pr*ck. His latest antics only confirm it.

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  38. I'll be in Boston next month. I'll let you know when. You're buying.

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  39. So sorry that you are going - I am neither a man nor particularly stylish in my clothing but I have enjoyed your writing. I don't know why that isn't enough for some people and they have to be weird or mean or both. Best wishes to you.

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  40. I am sorry that this is beginning to be a trend of quality posts from quality writers. I have enjoyed your posts and wish you well!

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  41. Thank you for the time and work that you put in to maintaining one of the funnier and more joyful blogs I've read, and apologies on behalf of the Universe that you ended up having to deal with so much nonsense. Your voice will be missed here.

    JSL

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  42. I'm sorry that I discovered your blog so late, and got to enjoy your wit and writing for only a short while. It is too bad that blogging, which started out as such a joyous exercise, had to have these sour notes injected into it.

    Your posts will be greatly missed, by those who were above this fray to begin with.
    --Road to Parnassus

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  43. I was just updating my Feedly categories and saw this post. I, too, will miss your witty dispatches. As an earlier commenter noted, if you ever do wish to blog without having to maintain one, I would welcome any or all guest posts over at The Portland Wedding Coordinator (the West Coast Portland, that is) - our stylish male readers do enjoy sartorial edification from time to time.

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  44. As a fellow Bostonian, I'm sorry to hear there will be no updates to this fantastic blog. I've enjoyed reading through the posts and have been inspired countless times. Thank you!

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Let's keep it clean... but if you DO have to get foul, at least give it a bit of wit. Also, advertising disguised as comments will be deleted, unless it is clever.