Again, I'm trying to draw a distinction between disliking someone and disparaging him.
Why does the totality of his personality need to be summed up in the book? Isn't it enough that many personality traits are exhibited? I don't need to know every single facet of someones personality to dislike enough about them to form a judgement. In this case you have a wealth of information to base judgement on.
There are people in the sport that I think are worth disparaging. All are worse than Hughes, in that they've had a negative impact on the sport.
You can dislike Hughes. It's the references to Hughes in terms of qualitative language that I find annoying.
I was pretty sure I didn't say it has "no merit." And I certainly didn't mean that.
I really do not understand how you can argue that an autobiography has no merit when judging someones life. It is a primary source of information that directly relates to his personality.
If Hughes were a famous politician being studied in a history class do you think his autobiography would be tossed aside as worthless when evaluating his character?
The problem is that his retelling and glorifying of his own history (which is, by itself, enough to tell you that Hughes is a narcissist; something no one should dispute) isn't indicative of all of his behavior.
Is it relevant? Absolutely. Does it have merit? Yes. Does it allow for a full judgment? No, it doesn't.
As far as the history goes, I treat with suspicion any autobiography. There's way too much incentive to lie. So does most of the history professors and students I work with.
If you were asked to write a history paper 75 years from now on Hughes personality where would you gather better evidence from? You could meet with Hughes many times and not learn as much about him as you did from a single reading of the book.
I prefer interviews. I prefer information that's on video, or recorded by independent, disinterested sources. But that's just me.
Now, would I set aside the autobiography entirely? No. I've already said that it's definitely important. However, I'd be suspicious of it, and I certainly don't think that it'd be a good basis for creating a history of Matt Hughes.
That said, writing a history of Matt Hughes is totally different than writing about the character of Matt Hughes. I don't think that historians should make character judgments. There are plenty that do, but the intellectual framework there is really, really shakey.
Again, TUF doesn't really qualify as a legitimate, disinterested source, in terms of getting something unbiased. I was as pissed off as anybody else after his stint on TUF. The stunt with the Bibles was pretty ridiculous, and I think was still a huge mistake, and seriously presumptious.
300 pages is a lot of time to show consistent personality traits that we as fans have also noticed previously in interviews and on TUF. To act as though an autobiography cannot be used as evidence when judging someones personality I just cannot understand.
But, like the book, I think that you can chalk both up to his narcissism (and, perhaps, stupidity). I have no reason to think he's a scumbag.
I believe in Hanlon's Razor, and I think that in Matt Hughes' case (especially in the case of the autobiography) it can be applied liberally: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.