One of my favorite movies as a kid was Judge Roy Bean, a "hanging judge" Western based (very) loosely on a real man, "The Only Law West of the Pecos". Judge Roy Bean was a character who saw everything in black and white...Either you were innocent, and walked, or you were guilty, and hanged (For damn near any offense, at least in the movie. In real life, it wasn't nearly so dramatic). Trials were conducted in the taproom of his bar, with the locals acting as a jury.
Basically, think of it as the ultimate perversion of the US justice system.
Eventually, a lawyer moved onto the scene, alongside the general increase in civilization and infrastructure, and the lawyer put an end to the summary justice. Real trials replaced the taproom lynchmob, and the area joined the rest of the nation in having an approximation of the rule of law. Judge Roy Bean was put out to pasture, and you didn't really feel sympathetic toward him, no matter how maudlin the director made the background music.
Why is this relevant?
For 8 years, PD has hazed the shit out of new people, solely on tradition and cheap yuks. I have, alongside Hunter S Durden, ECH, and a few others, usually led the charge. In my opinion, it served a purpose...It shook up new people, and separated the sheep from the goats, like Jesus is supposed to do on judgement day. He gets to keep the sheep, we get to keep the goats. Everybody is happy.
But I am told, once again, that while it may be fun to crap all over people when they walk in the door, it is also wrong. I am told that we should be nice to people when they arrive, to maximize new users. Quantity over quality, is my take on it, but I am not exactly an authority on either.
Why fight it? I could be wrong, after all. Who knows? There could be a brace of fresh-faced, brand new people just waiting until it's safe to stick their heads in the door and join the party. Maybe we need pinealists and expert Discordians. Perhaps the trolls troll because we just don't love them enough.
Maybe I'm just a bitter old fart whose time has passed, like Judge Roy Bean...Who, after all, was just trying to have a good time, much like myself. Maybe it IS time to leave the hazing out, and stop charging dues. It worked for blues music, right? Personally, I think that part of the PD experience IS that hazing, but I appear to be outmoded and obsolete, at least with respect to this subject.
In any case, I am too broken down to fight about it anymore, anyway. I'm fucking tired. I've spent 8 years screaming, and my voice is raw. It's time to let someone else pick up the torch, and we'll see if fluffy white clouds and pink bunnies and shit like that make this place more to this generation's liking.
If the lawyer is right, then things will improve, and you'll have a kindler, gentler, safer PD. If not, you'll be listening to Ruby and folks like her for the rest of your life.
As for me, I'm going to get my rock n roll on. You know where to find me...Screaming down that Lost Highway in an unsafe vehicle, swilling cheap whiskey and jabbering on cactus, while Freeky and Nurse Enabler curse me and beat me with meat hammers.
Don't you wish you were me?