Catch me if you can…

Speaking (again) of intellectual generosity in online interactions. Assuming that it does not simply refer to being polite – being polite is a kind of banal “virtue” that no one should really take credit for unless they grew up in the jungle and learned to behave in more or less human way with great difficulty – generosity in the context of online interaction almost always refers to timid bloggers’ need to have others accept their claims without hostility and criticism. Is it fair to expect people to be nice in real life? Probably. Is it realistic to expect a sea of invisible and mostly anonymous internet users to give a shit? No.

So getting all worked up about how others are mean to you is childish.

What one learns in graduate school, I think, is a very subtle way of saying something that is never really specific enough for anyone to see that you are just bullshitting. I have realized this recently when I started talking to historians. It’s much more difficult to bullshit your way through basic historical facts and getting caught bullshitting is both irritating and ultimately unpleasant. But does that mean I need to develop better techniques for bullshitting? No. I need to shut up and not pretend that I have read every single book or that I know about every single topic that comes up in a conversation.

Later this morning: Speaking of online generosity (taken out of context, of course):

Screen Shot 2012-12-06 at 6.20.22 AMScreen Shot 2012-12-06 at 6.25.45 AM

I have to side with Kotsko on that twitter exchange though – nothing is better than having your point be literally proven correct right before your very eyes, in public, for everyone to see! Priceless – read it and weep!


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