Schindler’s Tweets And The Monster In The Mirror

Shrek in the mirror

John Schindler is a former NSA officer, a professor at the Naval War College and a PhD who periodically holds forth on his various areas of expertise on the web. He also specializes in particularly obnoxious tweets in which he both insults anyone who questions or disagrees with him, and does so by referring to his own innate superiority as a scholar and an intellect. If he isn’t a complete jerk, he sure plays one convincingly.

Some wag noticed the trend, and created a website that contains nothing but Schindler’s most snotty tweets. Here is the puzzling part: Schindler, in yet another tweet, referred to it as “an ugly new defamation site against me.” Forget the complete lack of comprehension of what defamation is (Ken White at Popehat, an expert in that field of law, invoked Inigo Montoya of “The Princess Bride” in a tweet to the Professor saying “‘Defamation.’ You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”). My question is this: if Schindler thinks the website is ugly, and it contains only what he has written to others, why doesn’t that promote self-awareness, regret, remorse, and altered conduct? That is how it is supposed to work; I would think that is how it has to work. The idea behind the Golden Rule is to look at your conduct from another’s perspective, and if it strikes you as ugly and wrong, then you have learned something. So you change. Not this guy.

How can someone look at their own conduct, pronounce it ugly, and find fault with the individual who set the mirror in front of him? “How dare you show me what as ass I am!” Wow. If you find your own conduct humiliating, the logical one to blame is yourself. As brilliant as Schindler think he is, this basic truths of accountability and responsibility seem to escape him completely.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. In an individual over the age of ten, that is.

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Pointer: Tech Dirt

26 Comments

Filed under Character, Etiquette and manners, The Internet

26 responses to “Schindler’s Tweets And The Monster In The Mirror

  1. Wayne

    Malignant narcissism plain and simple.

  2. Jeff H.

    Why did Shrek OWN a mirror if it would break whenever he looked at it?! Is it enchanted so it knits back together at night? Does it only break if he looks especially bad that day?

    …wait, there’s an article below this. Maybe I should read this to see if it explains this.

    Aw, nuts.

    Actual question: If a tweet isn’t part of a long sequence of tweets, or a response to someone else, and it represents a single thought, CAN it be taken “out of context” if it’s quoted in its entirety?

  3. wyogranny

    In this case I think out of context means you got it exactly right.

  4. With all due respect to anyone here with a history degree, recent interactions with people who’s accomplishment in life is a history degree have convinced me that:

    A) they rest on their laurels a bit too much
    B) reading history for free can make you just as informed than they are (sometimes more)

  5. I just commented in a previous thread in the context of someone who is an obvious dick. I do believe the Bible talks about fools like this John Schindler – something about someone who looks in a mirror, and then forgets right away what he looks like. But Schindler seems like an even more pitiable, less trustworthy case than the classical biblical fool. He seems to act like he is unable to see what is obvious to everyone else who looks at him in the same mirror he looks into. Oh well. He probably doesn’t believe anything in the Bible, either, anyway.

    So Wayne nailed it, as long as you consider narcissism delusional.

  6. Beth

    If you’re going to appeal to authority, it should be … well authoritative. This guy got his PhD at McMaster University in Canada. For his field of study last year, his school was ranked in the 150-200th quadrant. Who brags about that?

    • Those degreed in history.

      • Beth

        I don’t think it has to do with the degree, but more with an inferiority complex in general. Many of my colleagues and clients went to top law schools and none of us ever talk about our schools except in a social context (sports teams, campus life, etc.). If you’re in my field, it’s presumed that you know how to do your job so there is no need to appeal to authority.

        • Of course my commentary is generalized and there are exceptions, but that law degrees don’t do this in your experience, doesn’t debunk the assertion that history degrees do…

          • Luke G

            Working in the sciences, It’s amazing how many PhDs prefer to just be called by their first names. When a PhD demands to be called “Doctor” in a social context, you can tell you’ve got someone insecure on your hands.

            • There was a man with a doctorate in either English or Education who taught at my high school. My mother was also a teacher in the district and was in several groups with him. He demanded his students call him “Dr. LastName”, and whenever he would call my mother and leave her a message on the answering machine (ah, the 90’s), he would always say “Hello, Mom’sFirstName, this is Dr. LastName…”

              She made it a point of honor to always, in all places and settings, call him by his first name.

              This is the same guy that mom made sure I didn’t have as a teacher, under the working theory that there was a really good chance that one of us would end up doing serious bodily harm to the other in class.

              Seems I was, in my salad days, rather stubborn and unwilling to put up with bullshit from anyone.

              • I had an 8th grade history (!) teacher who insisted on being called “Dr. Arthur.” That was my first experience with the pompous PhD’s who want the title to bolster their self-esteem…theoretically a JD, a juris doctor, could also call herself “doctor.” It’s almost an infallible pomposity test.

                • I have only heard one lawyer demand to be called “Doctor”, and it was in direct response to someone with an doctorate in Art History demanding the use of the title.

                  “Yes, MINE is USEFUL”, the lawyer said, when the art history moron said it wasn’t the same.

          • Beth

            I have a history degree as well, so you MUST LISTEN TO ME. Don’t you know I have a history degree, with high honors? Come back to me when you have a history degree and we can talk. 😉

            • Of course my commentary is generalized and there are exceptions

            • To answer your question, the people who brag about getting their degree from the ranked equivalent of the gutter are claiming the degree to people who are unlikely to know they got the thing from Laughingstock U.

              Much like people who brag about having a JD as their primary defense against criticism rarely mention they got the degree from Whittier.

  7. Luke G

    Oh. My. God. The very best exchange on there is, (paraphrased)

    Some Guy: If you know what you’re talking about, why do you have to resort to insults and profanity?

    John Schindler: I have PhD in history and I hate you now.

    SG: Wow. How ever shall I cope?

    JS: Ask your mother.

    HE ACTUALLY BUSTED OUT “YO MAMA” YOU GUYS THIS IS HILARIOUS.

  8. wyogranny

    I pity the people who have to deal with him daily. His kind of behavior is funny from afar, but absolutely soul killing up close and personal.

    • Luke G

      Yeah, I was repeatedly struck with “Thank God I never had to deal with him as a professor.” I feel nothing but pity for his poor students, who have to try to LEARN from him, when he apparently meets every question, every suggestion of difference of opinion, as an attack on his competence to be returned with “I have a PhD and you are stupid.”

      • If he’s a professor at the Naval War College, his students are primarily military with a small component of civilians. I imagine the military students are quite thick skinned and receive his acidic methods with a grain of salt knowing that this is only temporary. Of course, there is the possibility that twitter and the internet is where he can be a protected bully and in real life he is quite less like this.

        • Luke G

          I wasn’t so much worried about hurting their feelings (although on the side, I still do feel for them in that regard. Just because you can handle the abuse doesn’t mean you should have to.)- it’s more the fact that it would be damn near impossible to learn anything if your questions and mistaken interpretations are met with scorn and derision, and completely impossible to come to a new analysis of the subject when derivation from his gold standard is forbidden.

          • Valid points.

            I’m willing to bet the internet is where he let’s his inner bully out, that he knows in the classroom, surrounded by military guys, who, having the patience to tolerate it, also have the wherewithal to shut it down – and he knows this.

            The flipside also still, present in my initial post: the military guys know its a temporary thing for them.

    • FinlayOshea

      I pity the people who have to deal with him daily. His kind of behavior is funny from afar, but absolutely soul killing up close and personal.
      *********
      Imagine the poor woman that is married to it.

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