Sunday, May 01, 2011


So enough about QE2 let's talk about me.

I think there are some regular readers of this blog (someone somewhere even once typed that he was a fan). A normal way in which bloggers vaunt and vainly boast and lord it over their readers is to declare rules for polite commenting along with threats to delete comments and maybe even ban commenters. I'd love to, but my reaction to comments is "oh wow I got a comment ! I got a real live comment :-) Oh it's advertising spam again :-(" Also I post stuff here because it is too rude for whatever comment thread I was in.

Anyway, regular reader(s) will note that I tend to seem angry, to denounce people, to assert that some claim I read somewhere is astonishinly stupid. Such is blogging.

And such am I. I have been this way for as long as I can remember. Certainly, the fierceness of my approach to debate (and my tendency to try to keep the floor to the extend that it might seem that my aim is to be a monobator) was very widely noted in my elementary school class.

I really try to be polite. In real life I often manage. One approach is to use this blog to let off steam, to excrete the bile here, to mix metaphors.

Consider academic seminars. There is this seminar game in which people in the audience try to prove they are smart by criticizing the seminar presenter. It is not appealing. It may or may not be scientifically useful. I like to play this modified seminar game in which I try to prove I am smart without criticizing at all, but just by proposing extensions or applications or heuristic explanations. I like the challenge.

Then, sad to say, there are boring academic meetings. In Italy attendence is expected. I try to skip just as many as I can. When in such a meeting, my sole wish and ambition is for it to end as soon as possible. Therefore, I hardly ever speak. I guess partly my first such meetings came the week I defended my dissertation and all of my colleagues were much older than I was. But now I am older than average even in an Italian department meeting (shudder) and I remain silent. I guess the fact that the meetings are in my second language slows me down some.

But I have discovered that this is the secret to win the love of one's colleagues. For some reason, professors love to talk and hate to listen. A prof. who sits and listens (or pretends to listen) and never talks becomes a very highly appreciated colleague.

So at work I am well known for having no detectable opinions on hotly debated matters, for not criticizing the research of others and for keeping my mouth shut.

Then I come here and spit venom.

Even when blogging and commenting, I try to be polite, to note when I agree with someone as vigorously as I disagree. But I can't do it. My natural inclination is to be arrogant, combative, rude, rebarbative (I think -- I'm not sure what the word means) and extremely extremely verbose (the reader if any patient enough to reach that word knows this already).

1 comment:

Hans Suter said...

and you don't do titles which makes your every post start in my rss feeder with: (title unknown)