ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Ezekial 25:17 - On Inequities of Fact and the Tyranny of Moments

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Evidently, Joshi wrote something about me a week ago. I'm deployed to Afghanistan, so I must have missed it. Thanks for those who pointed it and thanks for standing up for me.

I read Joshi' s Blog Post. You can find it here if you search for his March 24th posting.  He wrote it in response to my defense of two of my fellow authors (here). I noted the inequity that Joshi did not include a link to the post to which he is responding and that in itself is telling. Please take a moment to read both posts so that you can then read what's written below in context, rather than be hostage to the tyranny of the moment.

But first let me address this. Joshi said, "Mr. Ochse believed that speaking about me behind my back was a more admirable course than addressing me directly." This is a common literary ploy to try and achieve the pedestal of the aggrieved. Neither of us are aggrieved. We both understand the game we are playing. He's being intentionally disingenuous.

I addressed Joshi in the same way he addressed Laird Barron and Brian Keene. He wrote an article about how terrible they were and published it without fanfare on his blog. In Laird's case, he proclaimed that Laird had already achieved 'A Fall as a Writer' before his career had barely even begun. In turn, I wrote an article about a man who I felt was a literary bully, who used words like blowhard, schlocky, and plebeian to describe my peers, and posted it on my blog. There was nothing behind his back nor was there anything hidden in the way I responded. I was up front, I was honest, and I was obvious.

But then again, because Joshi didn't link my article, his readers only have his word on the subject, so his comments about me seething with hatred and whining like a baby go uncited, as they should; another example of his attempt to tyrannically own his reader's moments. If you've only read Joshi's article about me and have stumbled onto this article, please take a moment and check out the link I provided for some context. Although you can tell I had some good-natured fun in the article (e.g. ...so it's on the back of an impoverished Rhode Island writer that he's established himself, like a Lady Godiva of Cthlulu), the sentiment of defending my fellow authors from attack was clear.

As I said, I read his post. I actually read it three times. Once as I woke up this morning on my cell phone because many of my friends, fans, and peers were coming to my defense on Facebook. In Afghanistan, we work at least fourteen hour days, so I was pretty bushed after working all of yesterday and last night. I read Joshi's post again after I took a shower, less bleary eyed and almost awake. Then I read it a third time right before I went to work, this time fueled by my coffee and my getting old vitamins.


What amazes me about a supposed academic is that he seemed to limit his research about me to Wikipedia, which has always been a verbotten source to scholars because of its very nature as a source adrift to the whims of its authors. The very fact that Wikipedia isn't anchored in academia makes it a source even this former adjunct professor from a community college, now current professor from a state university, wouldn't allow. But then perhaps this suits Joshi. After all, his slatternly approach to scholarship is evident in his assertion that half of a PhD from Princeton is better than my Master of Fine Arts from National University. Let me just point out that there is no such thing as half of a PhD. Anyone and everyone can drop out or be kicked out of any institution, so claiming achievement from failure is an interesting twist of fact. In his defense, Joshi does indicate that he dropped out rather than was kicked out, so I will not impinge his character, yet he still pathologically claims honors. I hope Joshi understands that half of a PhD is equal to half of a marathon. For those who start either one and don't complete, they receive a DNF beside their name, standing for Did Not Finish.

Still, his scholarship missed the fiction I've had published in peered academic journals as well as my assistant professorship at a New England university. Or did the Half PhD really miss it? After all, a literary bully achieves more by his ability to curate the nature of facts than to deliver the actual magilla. Have I ever had an article in a peered journal? To that, I can say no. I've also never submitted to one for publication, unless you want to call Soldier of Fortune a peered journal, in which I have appeared. My guess is that the global subscription of that single issue in which I appeared was more than all of the issues of Joshi's peered publications combined. And yes, those who publish and read Soldier of Fortune are my peers, the whole ramshackle, bruised, sweaty, soldierly lot of them. Other evidence of Joshi's sloppy scholarship is in his failure to learn that the American Library Association tagged me as "One of the major horror authors of the 21st Century." But then I can't be sure. Is that sloppy scholarship or selectively choosing facts that only appear to support his thesis? Or does he not feel that librarians have earned a position of trust among the hallowed stacks?

My earlier musings over his attacks must have been festering for quite awhile. I'd been anticipating an attack from Joshi for sometime, although I thought he'd wait until I'd redeploy. I found it regrettable, however, that he decided to ignore the more salient points I made in order to present slants that barely resemble my comments. But then it appears he was forced to in order to try and make the points he tried to make. For instance, the title of his article about me is Weston Ochse - World Class Hater. Please go and read my comments and tell me how I am a world class hater? Did I espouse any hate or did I defend those who had been trodden upon by the hob-nailed boot of a self-celebrated half-PhD? I suppose World Class Hater was easier to attack than World Class Defender, because those who know me and my work know that this is me to the core.

Now, I can almost see the Joshi apologists whom we've seen previously populate responses like congratulatory spiderbots now eagerly hunched over their keyboards and madly typing that Joshi is using academic critique, therefore his bullying is acceptable. He is in fact not using critique in his article about me. There is no academic criticism. He doesn't provide any literary criticism to Scarecrow Gods and its attempt to negotiate and explain the onerousness of the Judaeo-Christian imagery associated with our everyday lives, nor does he even mention my attempts to create PTSD-positive characters in my Grunt Life series in order to plumb what it takes to be human. In both, I think I did well, but certainly didn't master the form. No, he doesn't comment on any of my award-winning, award-nominated, or bestselling works, but instead, responds to my comments defending my fellow authors and attacks me as a credible source of information, using his chosen method of layering invenctives as his solitary strategum.

So this was merely an attack.

His counter punch.

Nothing more.

Nothing less.

Whatever.

I could spend all day disassembling Joshi's latest personal attack but that would be a waste of my time, and frankly, yours. Let me just leave with this. If at any time anyone wants to attack me for standing up for my friends or fellow authors, leave out facts, adjust the narrative to better align a point of view that better favors them, call themselves a half a PhD, or make fun of the fact that I actually completed a graduate school while serving in the military full time, then please give me your best shot. I'm open for all comers and I've had better attempts to besmirch my character than this. Because here is the rub, folks. This is about character. His character and mine. You can judge his for yourself, but as to mine, I have spent a lifetime defending those to whom harm would be done.

Now, you'll have to excuse me. I need to get to work. Joshi chose to attack me while I am deployed to Afghanistan, but then based on his self-proclaimed superiority in academia and his hard-earned half PhD from Princeton, I'm sure he realized that and still decided to attack me.

Again... character.

I have serious work to do. There are bad people here who want to travel to my homeland and do worse things to those whom I love. I aim to stop them as best I can. I continue to defend even now, so I know you'll understand that my time has to be spent elsewhere.

Now please go out and read a good book.

Thank a teacher.

And hug a librarian.

I'll leave you with the words of Lil' Kim - "I like to live righteous. And I just want everyone to know I'm not trying to get out of anything."

Peace out.

3 comments :

  1. I wouldn't waste another breath on him. I've never seen anybody disassemble what little cache they might have as a career so quickly, especially when it was based on writing about someone else's career. Implosion happening. Just walk away from Joshi as he can only drag you into the sewer with him like a Pennywise of writing.

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  2. As someone on my timeline said, Del, he continually tries to dynamite the ground he's trying to build on.

    Good advice. Thank you.

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