What’s it been? Venting (4/5)

Tuesday 6 March 2012, 12.15pm HKT


FROM PART 3

This is another tl;dr instalment. Woe betide you if you forego reading it, for it contains a number of broadsides that may actually affect YOUR blogging activities.

* * *

VENTING

This is the right time to speak up.

Normally I don’t like to hit back, not especially at blogs anyway, since, as a renegade blogger myself, I know full well how brain-damaged the whole exercise can be.

But man has his limits, as Detective ‘Dirty Harry’ Calahan once put it.

____________________

A little about my personality

You need to know something about me first so you know overall why I’m venting here:—

Be surprised to learn that I’m actually a Type A personality.

You’d never thought so just by the way I mostly carry on, but many people actually think I’m a milquetoast (a timid, unassertive person for those unused to americanisms) because of the way I let things pass 99% of the time.

That is, until they get up my nose long enough. Then they find to their terror that I have a high-velocity explosive temper with a physical speed and agility to match.

  • That sociologist on Job No. B08045 received my ‘hairdryer treatment’ at 50% capacity and, boy, was scared fartless.
  • That pushy sonofabitch salesperson who tried to sell me barely existent 100gsm-weight coated woodfree paper for US$1,500 a reel (double the market spot price) got a faceful of my 75% temper and almost felt he was being garrotted with No. 3 Piano Wire.

But 99% of the time, I just let it be. Pushing back isn’t automatic even for Type A personalities, you know. Type A’s aren’t psychopaths. Many Type A’s are really patient, easygoing people — so that Type A/Type B theory can go straight into the dustbin.

My life is one long emergency and I don’t have the time or energy to go ballistic at the slightest provocation. I leave that to the great masses of uncontrollable animals elsewhere.

‘They are what they are’

Intellectual discussions don’t normally scare me — not even those well outside my education or training. Trust me, I’m no intellectual. I’m an educated man but I can’t speak intelligently about the habits of others engaged in intellectual discourse. But then again, if you’re like me,** just about nothing should scare you.

** A chopper biker, legally trained, mum telling you to wear long hair after she died, 37 months on crutches, two months in a neck brace, and 114 years of printing legal documents for government-approved financial scams IPOs.

Personally, I’m not terribly fond of intellectuals or academics, especially the more egregious types. They are what they are, as the Italian phrase puts it rather well. I take their facelessness at face value, enjoy their foggy and oracular discussions for what they’re worth, have a larff, and move on.

Not to bottle things up

People who know me even for five minutes will know I’m not the type who holds a grudge against anyone — for sure not over the Internet — mainly because I operate on two principles:

  1. outlive them so I take pleasure in seeing them squeal and die before I do
  2. die early myself so I don’t have to breathe the same air as they do

However, I tend not to bottle things up. Yet I’m not exactly disposed to implement advice like ‘Don’t hold back’ either.

Truth is, I’m 88% easier-going than 95% of Type A personalities, 77% of lawyers, or 51% of bikers (of the motorcycle variety).

____________________

A little about 1.67%

Like I mentioned in Part 3 already, I’ve been following some 300 blogs and mailing lists of all types (via email, naturally) for (much, much) more than a year — and only 1.67% of them manages to upset me. But it’s out-and-out 99% upset.

They’re only blogs, right?! What the hell?!?

You’d be surprised just how talented some bloggers are at disruptive behaviour. You’ve got to hand it to them to actually get others to lose their rag over the Internet.

Out of my 300+ follows:

  • around 50 on language, grammar and/or linguistics
  • maybe 25 on various countries or other languages
  • maybe 25 on China
  • a dozen or so on Hong Kong
  • the rest are on cool stuff that pleases me (food, drink, bikes, chicks, cats, graphic arts, travel, music, gigs, news, porn, etc).

Certain issues need to be addressed regarding 1.67% of those blogs.

Tense humour and ‘the pits’

My biggest source of dismay and consternation (in a word, distemper, in the English literary sense, not the biomedical one) have been:

  • linguistics sites or blogs
  • China-watching or related sites or blogs

At the meeting point between those two, the worst has been

  • China-related linguistics blogs or sites from inside China written by foreigners who think they are ‘Chinese’

While I admire their confidence and knowledgeability in their own spheres, I do not admire their tense humour and the inanity of their commentary.

(I can handle racism, I can handle lack of humour, but I just can’t handle tense humour.)

It IS truly amazing that the Great Firewall of China hasn’t managed to stop those blogs from invading out onto us. Not one bit, given that that firewall has the ability to practically block sunlight.

‘They are the pits’ is my John McEnroe’esque assessment.

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A little about linguanophiles

If you care to pay any attention at all, linguistics, translation studies and pedagogy (education) are highly rigid and rigidised fields.

Of the lot, linguistics is the most rigid and rigidised.

The most hotly contested (and heated) debates in academia today are in linguistics, which fact should help you infer the type of people who populate that field.

Read the sidebar for the key reasons for intellectual rigidity and rigidisation.

____________________

A little about comportment

The most galling thing on many of those lingo blogs is the way the bloggers and their regular dogpile of commenters actually go to extremes and deliberately exclude newcomers or those who simply hold different (though often non-dissenting) viewpoints.

I’m reminded of someone’s insight that, if The Establishment feel so fearful and threatened by a 76-year-old retired gynaecologist like Ron Paul (the American politician), there must be something seriously wrong about your turf.

Offensive antics

One of their more offensive antics is the blogger and his (usually it’s a ‘his’) favourite commenters collude behind the scenes, so to speak, to plot a comment dialogue done in such a way that’s deliberately littered with arcane technicalities that newcomers or uitlanders cannot possibly join in.

If you’ve ever been to boarding school and have constantly been abused there (not sexually, I’m embarrassed to say) or have been handed purposely designed ‘aggro’ as I have been, it becomes extremely easy how to figure out who’s colluding with who. Over time, it becomes second nature and you could do it ‘by remote,’ so to speak.

‘Uncooperative’

This pattern of bad behaviour is not one-off. It’s frequently seen in just about every academically related blog and Facebook thread that I’ve ever visited or got sucked into. The same takes place with some regularity on sites and Facebook groups that discuss sociology, translation studies and pedagogy (education).

Indeed, I myself have been solicited by some lingo bloggers or Facebookers to do just that against some unsuspecting victim. “Give ’em a break,” I say to these characters, “We’re still young enough to do that.” And then they brand me ‘uncooperative.’

Shaken to the core

I’ve been following a variety of linguistics, language, translation, sociology and pedagogy sites for well nigh on 10 years on a regular basis — in addition to having handled their authors for print publications for roughly the same amount of time. The same repertoire of antics are repeated time and time again. I’ve learnt to time it when antics start kicking in.

It’s disgusting. It’s offensive. It’s highly prejudiced. And these people aren’t even aware that they’re doing this themselves.

I lose my rag, and I really do have it in me to tell them to f@#k off, go to hell, and don’t come back.

Any inherent faith inside you in the goodness of people easily becomes shaken to the core because of seeing or knowing that.

____________________

A little about grace, if not face

The English aristocracy are famous for their grace — the ability to make a person feel really welcomed.

Clearly, the people who run blogs about linguistics, language, sociology, pedagogy and translation studies did not know how to learn that.

Tsk, tsk, tsk. Such swell intellectualism, and yet ignorant of these simple rules:—

The Golden Rule
Treat others as you yourself like to be treated.

The Silver Rule
Don’t treat others in ways that you wouldn’t like to be treated.

Not unless you’re a sado-masochist, in which case you WOULD enjoy begging to receive pain whilst also enjoying being refused it.

Try mine:—

The Naked Listener’s Malleable Copper Alloy Rule
Go easy on those who think, speak, eat and shat differently than you do because they don’t necessarily have your loaf, gob, eating irons or your porcelain shatware.

____________________

A little about face-off

Sometimes there’s just no way out.

The Naked Listener offers some timely advice:—

The Wax-On/Wax-Off Maxim
“That is the way I do things. If you don’t like it, then find me a driver who WILL comply with the way I do things.”

The English Displeasure and Reprisal-in-Kind Rule
“If my presence here is not up to your standards or expectations, I would appreciate it if you be so kind as to step away from your cheese and crackers for a minute and tell me directly what your requirements or particular preferences are for my presence to be acceptable.”

And remember this:

“If you tolerate this, your children will be next.” (English proverb)

____________________

Your question now must be, why continue with them?

That question is perhaps easier to answer if you care for broadly aimed broadsides in the next part.

____________________

UP NEXT IN PART 5: BROADSIDES

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012.

Images: Keep Calm/Screw Calm via Sarah C. | “I have nothing to say” via Cascade Web Development | Good Habits/Bad Habits Signpost via Marketing Leadership Council | “Once we hit capacity…” via Eddie Codel/Flickr.

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