Friday, December 1, 2006

On Blogging and BS'ing

Blogging on the Internet can be lots of fun, but that does not mean you have free license to BS people. Well maybe it does mean just that, so let me say it another way: It does not mean you should BS people in your rants and blogs.

Lately I have been surfing around the net looking for other blogs that interest me. Used to be I would visit only one pretty much, but I had a bit of a personal falling out with the person who wrote that blog, so I don't visit his site to contribute any longer. because of that I have had more time to view other people's blogs.

When it comes right down to it, without mentioning any names of bloggers or the addresses of their sites, I can say without a doubt that the Internet is full of people who are legends in their own minds, and maybe also in the minds of some twelve year old wanna be who read their outrageous claims to knowing just about everything, and therefore having done or being able to do just about everything. To me it is just so much more trash.

Sure, lots of folks out there are fonts of book knowledge (or other data) on any given particular subject, and that can be a good thing. Lots of other folks out there have an awful lot of practical experience (are actually well experienced) in a field and could be called experts at what they do, and that is also good. There are also folks out there who have the ability to have a lot of book knowledge on a topic, and also have a lot of practical knowledge on the same topic. This is not too hard to achieve, it would be a akin to a craftsman such as a carpenter or painter knowing their trade.

The thing is though it gets harder to accomplish when you start becoming an expert in multiple disciplines. I mean if you are an expert at the ins and outs of electronics in both book knowledge and practical experience, then it is more difficult to add on other multiple things to your expertise such as quantum physics, firearms, architecture, classical music, mathematics, grammar, gardening, barbecuing, driving, manual labor, self defense, martial arts, diplomacy, war and so forth. You get the picture. The more such topics you add to your repertoire - the more difficult it becomes for you to master them and become an expert - especially if you try to master both the academic and practical experience sides of the discipline. Sure you may be able to add on one or two other fields, but not many more, at which you could truly be considered to be an expert at both the academic and practical ends of the topic.

Of course you may be able to add more to your list of subjects in which you could be considered a true expert if you were to stick to only one type of knowledge for each field such as the book knowledge side as opposed to both the book and practical sides, or if you likewise just stick to the practical side. The easier way to go for most people seems to me to be the academic side; or in other words it is easier to become the armchair warrior, or the armchair stock broker, or the armchair surfer, or the armchair shooter, or the armchair political analyst, or the armchair health nut, or the armchair hiker, or the armchair fisherman, and on an on. This is not necassarily bad so long as the person admits his or her limitations.

The thing is though, it is easier still to bull shit. The Internet is full of self proclaimed experts who claim to be experts in multiple fields not only in an academic manner but also as practical experience gurus. From what I can see, many of they who are self proclaimed experts -you know the type - the ones always tooting their own horns about how great they are at doing this or that and they do about fifty different time consuming hobbies, plus work, plus have a family, plus have a life other than the Internet (well probably not really but they claim to). Not only do they spout off about their great list of practical accomplishments and feats, but they also know just about everything about everything. Yes, you know them, the know it alls on just about every subject. Some folks must believe them, just as some folks are extremely gullible, but I think they are just full of shit for the most part if not the great majority.

When someone tells you repeatedly they routinely carry out a practical exercise in any field, and that exercise (whatever action it maybe) takes a certain amount of hours to complete; then it stands to reason they devote so much time each (let's say) month to it. Then that same person tells you they have done something academic such as they read some books, like all of Shakespeare’s plays, in a month, and they also read a reloading manual and absorbed every bit of information and they often quote it to you, then they say they reloaded so many thousand rounds per month, well those things take time too. Then that same person tells you, 'hey you know I just built a new shed in my yard, and I decided to build a deck too, got it all done in three days; and while I was at it I built a tree house for my kids'. When you add up the time, you see they have used a lot of time devoted to their interests, hobbies, exercises and so forth. That is okay by me, but there is a problem. Then you find out that they work full time, yes at least 40 hours per week, and you remember they said they do all the above types of things religiously each month: like going to the range, and like building things, and like reading; and suddenly you realize they also work full time and they do sleep too - just like the rest of us. You also remember they spend many, many, many hours blogging and doing all sorts of other things on the Internet such as reading news reports (you know the ones they quote endlessly), participating in forums (in their multiple field of interest), and buying things with which they like to play.

When you really give it some thought, you figure out, 'hey wait a minute - it would take someone about 6 months to a year to do all the stuff that this joker just said he did in a month'; and you ask yourself how did he do it! If you did that you are apparently smarter than many because lots of folks just take whatever a blogger writes as hard cold truth. Too many folks just scratch their heads, or maybe their privates, as they read and munch on potato chips and drink soda while at the computer console (the keyboard nowadays) and don't even bother to question any of it because it makes them feel good to believe it all. As for me, I cannot stand self appointed demigods - their drivel makes me want to puke. In case you are not familiar with the term, here it is from Merriam-Webster:

Main Entry: demi·god
Pronunciation: 'de-mE-"gäd
Function: noun
1 : a mythological being with more power than a mortal but less than a god
2 : a person so outstanding as to seem to approach the divine

I would much rather read the words of folks telling of their exploits, or sharing their knowledge, who readily and honestly admit their limitations. I prefer dealing with real people not blowhards who claim to frequently have done it all but never have or have done only little of it, or who look things up in Wikipedia (or elsewhere) when you ask them a question, and then claim they it as their own knowledge. Those who wish to attain the status of demigod can keep on blogging, but not wasting my time, because once I realize they are bullshitters I won't trifle with them again.

Don’t get me wrong, it is not that I cannot stand or tolerate those who talk about what they have actually done, or what they actually know, or even those who brag about it, or talk about it incessantly, or maybe even sometimes exaggerate a bit. What I cannot stand are those who have done it all, and who know it all, when in fact they are just about absolutely full of shit.

So when you see a link on my site, to the site of someone else, you cannot rest assured that I agree with them, or that I like them, or that their politics OR philosophies are the same as mine; BUT YOU CAN REST ASSURED THAT I BELIEVE THEM TO BE HONEST IN THEIR RANTS WHEN DISCUSSING THEIR ACADEMIC KNOWLEDGE, AND I BELIEVE THEY LIKELY HAVE DONE WHAT THEY SAY THEY HAVE DONE. If I think they are outright exageratting bullshitters and little more, well then - there is no place for them in my Grumps, Geeks and Geniuses link list on the right side of my page.

All the best,
Glenn B