Why People Like Bigsly and Basenotes Just Don't Get It: The Pattern Is Clear (Updated)

The Straw Man

I won't link to it here, but you can visit his site for yourself and read his thoughts; Bigsly is perturbed by my position on the Monsieur Guerlain issue. He had no opinion on Mister G's demise just a few days ago, even cracking a sarcastic quip about it on February 8th. Then I wrote my piece on just how basic this issue appears to be, and quite suddenly (and predictably) Bigsly is outraged. Ironically, my prior post played with the idea that basenotes members are "acting" in this matter. They're not really outraged. They're not aghast at what happened. But it's fun to pretend.

So why don't they understand the real issue with this story? The issue is clear, so there shouldn't be any confusion: LVMH and Guerlain have an interest in preserving total control over their businesses, and anything that threatens this control is subject to legal scrutiny and possible third-party interference within the parameters of copyright and intellectual property law. Apparently the real "villain" in this instance is the third party, or the hosting company that Monsieur Guerlain relied on to post his information.

After all, his blog would still exist if the hosting company had ignored the issue. They didn't, probably because they couldn't. But in truth, we don't entirely know what happened here. It's conjecture. The only side of the story is his. The corporations can't be bothered to answer to parties outside of the issue, and everyone except Monsieur G is on the outside. The only thing we know for sure is Monsieur G's hosting company pulled the plug on his blog.

To my knowledge, nobody knows what his hosting company was. You can't be angry at the invisible man. But hey, we can all see LVMH, right? Let's be angry at them, and Guerlain too, while we're at it.

I realized when reading Bigsly's blog that a peculiar phenomenon takes place on there. He tends to rest his arguments on half-truths that don't even survive a cursory examination. For example, his most recent response to my position:

"Apparently, this person believes it is perfectly fine for a major company to 'bully' (or in his world, 'request') several other companies into closing down (not just removing an 'offending' statement or two) several of an individual’s free speech platforms online!"

It's true, I do believe it's fine for a company to not bully, but make legal requests for the removal of offensive content that jeopardizes the control of how their company information is disseminated. And it's also true that this appears to be what LVMH did. They asked the hosting company to terminate Monsieur Guerlain's account, as it was - but not as it might be in the future. They did not ask that Monsieur Guerlain's platform for free speech be closed down. Because outrageously enough, it's impossible for even an evil corporate behemoth like LVMH to shut down the entire internet.

You see, Monsieur Guerlain's platform for free speech isn't his blog. His platform is the internet itself. The wonderful, vast, unending internet, a place where Monsieur G is free to restart his blog in one, two, three, ten, twenty, or even a thousand iterations. To argue about whether LVMH was justified in removing Monsieur G's "platform" for free speech completely sidesteps the reality of what happened to him, and opens the table to a hypothetical discussion with no bearing on his case.

In other words, Bigsly's argument is classic straw man nonsense. And the arguments made on basenotes are often (not always) very similar to his. Why can't people just grapple with the simplicity of reality for once? Does everything have to be distorted before it can be argued? This happens repeatedly.

It happens with reformulation debates (no, vintage frags aren't "more natural," because perfumery is predicated on the use of synthetics), vintage market debates (no, the fact that somebody wants $100 for a vintage Nicole Miller for Men doesn't mean vintage Nicole Millers are worth $100), fragrance spoilage debates (that nobody wants to send you spoiled fragrances doesn't mean fragrances don't spoil), and just about every conversation you can have. This pattern of taking straw man half-truths and conveniently conflating them with whole truths is unending, and exhausting.

Enough already.

Update: February 15th, 1:30 PM:

It appears Monsieur Guerlain is back in business! What does this mean? Anyone who bought into the "evil corporate empire" narrative missed that this was clearly not a case of free speech being "suppressed," but rather a basic issue of content legality being put under scrutiny by the vested interests (the hosting site) behind Mr. G. To everyone who gnashed their teeth and created straw man arguments about his "platform for free speech" being unjustly removed, your silly cause has just withered in the face of reality. It's clear there was no "David and Goliath" tale here. We've also (hopefully) learned that on the internet, everything is mutable. I hope everyone who threw away their Guerlains in protest are embarrassed.


  1. Lol, I also noticed you woke his civil conscience all of a sudden.

    1. He's an interesting study in monkey-see, monkey-do.


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