RARA-AVIS: Two Egos, Over Easy, with a Bowl of Serious on the Side

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@sbcglobal.net)
Date: 30 Jun 2008

Patrick wrote:

> I'm just trying to have fun here; liven up discussions about books
> and movies I love.

This is already a pretty lively list. Always has been. Even without people trying to cynically "liven up" things with deliberately contentious opinions based on incorrect facts and deliberate misinterpretations.

Sorry it's not "fun" enough for some people.

> In real life I don't know very many people who are interested in
> this topic so I value this list. The Right/Wrong thing though,
> really impedes conversation.

People who don't like "The Right/Wrong thing" should probably avoid discussion groups entirely, or find one some place being wrong doesn't matter. Maybe the White House?

> Myself, I have Teflonon ego. Nothing much gets to me. But I can see
> where normal people might hesitate before posting an idea they could
> get called down on.

"Normal" people -- those apparently not blessed with a non-stick protective surface on their brain -- are nonetheless probably smart enough to expect an opinion to be challenged on a discussion list, especially if the opinion is deliberately provocative. They can't have it both ways -- intentionally trying to "liven up" things and then complaining when they're caught at it and it's pointed out they're full of shit.

Especially when they boast on their myspace page that they like to argue.

Jim Doherty's a good example of how to argue. He and I have tangled plenty over the years, and even he'll admit he likes to argue. But I've never heard him deliberately argue a point he didn't honestly and sincerely believe or one not based on a reasoned and reasonable reading of the material. His arguments are arrived at honestly and logically, even if we don't always come to the same conclusion (Jim will gladly tell you I'm wrong and he's right). I don't always agree with him, but I respect him. He's done the walk, so he gets to talk.

He's never, to my knowledge, posited an opinion merely to "liven up" things. He's too stand up for that.

As for the "Right/Wrong Thing," when I make a factual error, be it here or on my web site or in my writings, I not only expect to be corrected -- I welcome it. The only thing being corrected "impedes" is someone's runaway sense of self-importance.

> Obviously we point out factual errors and there's no conversation
> without difference of opinion. But posts filled with whithering
> delight at someone else's expense; I've certainly noticed that such
> have slowed these interactions.

Oh, my. Did somebody scratch somebody's "Teflonon ego"?


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