Thursday, December 15, 2022

My invitation to the coward who calls himself Guerrilla Surgeon

An anonymous commenter on Chris Trotter’s Bowalley Road blog has described me as “extremely right wing”. Laughably inaccurate though that is, I’m not about to lose any sleep over it. 

Of far more concern was this, from the same anonymous commenter: “As someone who has had something to do with Karl DuFresne [sic], I would say that his opinion … is not worth listening to. I have no great regard for his ethics”. (The italics are mine.)

I submitted the following comment to Bowalley Road. To his credit, Trotter promptly published it. I don’t think he had much option, having waved the original slur through.

“It doesn’t bother me that the commenter who calls himself (I bet it’s a male) Guerrilla Surgeon describes me as extremely right-wing. Anyone who knows me would regard that as laughable. But to put it as politely as I can, I’m surprised that an anonymous commenter has been allowed to make vague and unspecified insinuations about my ethics. If he has evidence of any situation in which he thinks I’ve behaved unethically, I invite him to provide it, either on this blog or on my own. But he should identify himself rather than cower behind a pseudonym.  In the meantime I’ll leave it to readers of this blog to wonder about Guerrilla Surgeon’s own ethics in seeking to undermine someone’s reputation with an unsubstantiated throwaway line.”

I repeat that invitation here. I promise the coward who calls himself Guerrilla Surgeon that if he details whatever concerns he has about my ethics, and does so under his own name, I’ll publish it – along with my response. Then I’ll leave it to readers of this blog to decide which one of us can claim to be Mr Clean.

People might think I’m over-reacting, but a potentially damaging slur cannot be allowed to go unchallenged. In journalism, reputation is everything.

Postscript (posted at 7.45pm Thursday): For the record, Chris Trotter has posted a gracious apology for allowing Guerrilla Surgeon's comment to go through, for which I thank him. 

Footnote: Thanks to Gary Peters, a reader of this blog, for drawing my attention to the comment on Bowalley Road and sticking up for me there.



Doug Longmire said...

Well said Karl.

I was shocked that Chris Trotter published that insulting and completely false attack on you by Guerilla Surgeon. I have told Trotter this in clear terms.

For the record - it was totally wrong and false. You are NOT "far-right". Your posting are perceptive, very well balanced and well thought out. Your years of (old fashioned, balanced) journalism have paid off. Your current writings are free of political bias, and are valued as a gold standard by me and many others

Anonymous said...

Hi Karl

Is it possible to email you a copy of a letter published in the ODT under the heading Karl Du Fresne. Normally I would have thought the title would relate to an idea or topic not a specific person.

pdm said...

Karl no need to worry about your ethics- they are top notch.

Should your nemesis read this then having known you for over sixty years I categorically say in true blue New Zealand vernacular - you are a good bugger and the blogosphere could do with a lot more like you.

Karl du Fresne said...

Would it be possible to submit the letter you refer to as a comment? I could then decide what, if anything, to do with it.

Tinman said...

Karl, of course you're "far right". Anyone not extreme left is under current standards.

Some of us wear it with pride given that "right" also means "correct".

Please, should Mr Surgeon actually engage, keep the exchange public rather than defend yourself privately.

A blow for the good guys would be welcome right now.

Phil Blackwell

Gary Peters said...

I'm pretty sure that guerilla surgeon fansies himself as a Che Guevara wannabe so tries to be a "real lefty".

I decided to start commenting under my own name on this blog and Chris Trotter's as you both try to maintain a level of balanced commentary that seems to be lacking in the mainstream. That effort deserves the respect of using my name in replying, either agreeing or disagreeing.

For me, you are both a bit left of centre with Chris being a little further to the left but you have both been left behind, in my opinion, by the Overton window which has been dragged left over the past decade so that the seemingly labour based ideas of the current government seems to have left you both aghast, like many of us.

I have no time for cowards which is why I spoke to the nasty comment on Bowalley Road and was pleased to see Chris do the courtesy of publishing it. A good boss of mine many years ago counselled me to look to the character of the person doing the abusing and often such abuse from such a person can be taken as an enhancement of your character rather than a detractor.

R Singers said...

Karl, I'll give you the same advice I gave Chris Bishop recently about trolls.

Don't wrestle with pigs. You just get dirty, and the pigs enjoy it.

Karl du Fresne said...

R Singers,
Thanks for the advice, but I buy it only up to a point.

R Singers said...

@Gary Peters I went and read what GS had written. It's just confused ramblings. And if they have been using that pseudonym for 20-30 years it doesn't show up in the places it should. Unless they are Dr Lindsay Rogers, and then clearly there is some dementia at play, and we should try and rise above the behaviour.

Simon Cohen said...

I also have had issues with Guerilla Surgeon over the years and have questioned his lack of transparency. He keeps saying he has been abused for his views in the past and has to preserve his anonymity. Total bulls...t in my opinion. I also commented on the posts on Bowalley Rd and here is the reaction.

Gary Peters said...
While you may not like what Karl DuFresne has to say, at least he says it under his own name

Simon Cohen said
Way to go Gary. Guerilla Surgeon presumes to lecture us all behind the cloak of his anonymity.

Anonymous Charlie Whatshisname said...
Simon Cohen prove to us that your moniker is not an anonymity.
Anyone holding their breath?

Simon Cohen said...
My email address is simoncohen as Chris can confirm.
As is my google account.

Another anonymous poster making accusations. As I have said in the past if your want to comment use your own name !!!!

Simon Arnold said...

FWIW I'd be in R Singer's camp, and the more extreme the comment the more so.

Time is getting increasingly precious and there are many things that warrant mature reflection ahead of attacks on what remains of our otherwise tatty characters.

Gary Peters said...

You've obviously never wrestled a pig 😎

I'm in the camp of making sure all those involved know that we're dealing a pig, what happens next is up to the pig. After all, sausages don't make themselves .....

Hey, anyway, Merry Christmas to those of you that give a s--t. It's a time to relax, reflect and wonder what we can do next year to make our world better and ....... Allez le Bleus..... et Giroud est l'homme.

Karl du Fresne said...

For the benefit of readers mystified by R Singers' reference to a Dr Lindsay Rogers (as I was), he was a New Zealand doctor who served with Marshal Tito's Yugoslav partisans in World War Two and wrote a book called 'Guerrilla Surgeon".

Karl du Fresne said...

Gary Peters,
I'm sure some people would be surprised by your description of me as "a bit left of centre", but if that's how you see me, I'm not going to argue.

Anonymous said...

Pseudonym users are pseuds or stupid, frequently both, and always cowards. - Bill Moore

Gary Peters said...

I'm totally confused these days as to what is left and what is right, political orientation wise.

I've always thought of myself as centre right in that I abhor too much governmental interference in our daily lives but support reasonable welfare for those in need. I do think some level of centralisation is important as we are a small country and economies of scale do exist but I also believe delivery should be tailored to suit the coalface.

I do believe in one man one vote and could never accept race as a measure for preferential treatment although I do believe citizenship should confer some benefits.

I have no problems with the current system of maori health providers although i doubt they are of any more benefit that any other medical practice staffed with competent and considerate fronline staff but hey, if that floats your boat go for it but I do not this the new system being proffered will lead to any enhancement.

I think most people will think that way so as I said, I'm not sure the left right argument holds any real sway.

Kit Slater said...

I've described Guerilla Surgeon's commentary as the flaps and squawks of an Energizer Parrot with a one-word vocabulary, and which makes more sense when its batteries run out.

hughvane said...

I thought Left-Right-Centre applied to marching commands, as practised by the military.

Chris Morris said...

I got in trouble on Bowalley Road for calling out one of GS's tantrums when he threatened to quit because he was upset that others treated him with the same insults he called them. I notice he hasn't seemed to post again there recently. Maybe he has been banned. No real loss - both because he was anonymous, and his posts were tedious. Everything can be blamed on neo-liberalism.

Hilary Taylor said...

I stopped visiting BR a year or so ago...Trotter's pieces popped up other places & I didn't need to, plus I was tired of GS there, who struck me as vexatious. Good on you Karl & those getting in touch. (Trotter used to be printed in the Press, another loss)
I've reconciled to the 'far-right' label, also terf & bigot, pale & stale...all meant to silence you, and so f...that for a game of soldiers. Just don't care any more.
Compliments of the season to you & yours, Karl & the commenting gang here. Would love an uncle or 3 to still be around our table this xmas, drunk or otherwise! Fa la la la laaaaa.

Tom Hunter said...

Guerrilla Surgeon seems to comment almost nowhere else than BR, where he hides behind Trotter's skirts to make endless, snide character attacks on anybody to his right, all while squealing to Chris if anything heads back to him.

And when I say "anybody" I mean non-commentators. He regularly dismisses right-wing philosophers like Roger Scruton in the most dismissive of ways, and that attitude is across-the-board. Because Chris defends him from tougher counter-attacks I've stopped commenting there even to pull him up on his constant bullshit.

For example the other day he sneered at "extreme free speech" Musk for banning a bunch of journalists "just for criticising him" (he loves crying about RW "hypocrisy") when in fact the bastards were doxxing the location of Musk's private plane after some nutter dressed in Antifa fashion crashed onto the hood of his car while his toddler was in it. Now GS either knew that and lied through his teeth about "mere criticism", hoping he'd get away with it on BR (he did) or was pig ignorant enough to just rely on whatever his US sources are (Jacobin magazine perhaps?) without digging further.

Those sorts of breezy sneers to all and sundry to his "right" make up a good bulk of his comments and he is rarely called out because it's Chris's blog. The one he threw at you was just run-of-the-mill for him.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that he's a Stalinist (as he complained) but he is in no way merely a Social Democrat as he claims. His worship of Marx as the premier predictor of 19th century capitalism is a classic (and ignorant) example, as I pointed out to him once. As an 80 year old former school teacher he didn't much like being called out for his crap from the back of the class, but that too is very much in character for him.