Saturday, August 9, 2008

A certain kinda guy...

Well into adulthood, I became aware that there's a kind of guy, not rare by any means, who is convinced that without his input, the world is a poorer place indeed. He hates silence and wants desperately to fill moments of quiet with his knowledge, opinions and feelings.

He doesn't want to be Joe Dude. He wants to be an authority, the last-word-dispensing, go-to guy in every area of life. Give him an opportunity; he'll prove it to you.

He hasn't bothered to acquire accurate knowledge, enlightened opinions or informed feelings. Impressing people with his inexhaustible storehouse of information is more important than the validity thereof or how welcome it is to the recipients.

The expressing is the thing, not what's expressed. He often seems to be saying things simply to be talking - loving the sound of his own voice. That's precisely what he is doing.

He'd rather be wrong than be silent. Silence never impressed anyone, right?

Women know all about these guys. Some women even marry them, knowing all along that their husband is all-too-often speaking without knowing whereof he speaks. Maybe they think all men are like that. Too damn many are.

Which brings me to my subject: internet forums - havens for the very sort of guy we're talking about here. Thousands of anonymous, ill-informed "experts" and a few genuinely smart guys.

What better place to bestow upon the world the gift of your ideas? If they are half-baked and riddled with inaccuracy, well, they're your ideas and should be as respected as the next poster's. And typically they are, because the next poster is a moron too.

No doubt one can find good information on internet owners forums. Well, I don't want to say that there's no doubt. There's doubt. Buy something that you don't know everything about or research a purchase you're about to make. Check out the owners forum - where the savvy guys are. Browse. Weigh the evidence.

Or ask the guy behind the counter at the Union 76 for directions to a place twelve miles away. He can't tell you where he is now, he's never been to the place you're going and he may never have heard of it. He's not much of a traveler. Nevertheless, he'll give you precise directions that will have you lost, frustrated and fantasizing about exploding 76 stations.

He has never driven and is petrified as a passenger on an interstate. He sees blinking lights on the fronts and rears of cars but doesn't know how they are operated.

He's a regular poster on the Porsche Owners Forum, known for his old-school attitude and his conviction that those Germans made 'em to drive, not coddle, by God.


blackmountaincycles said...

A friend, who I worked with at a bike shop you once wrote about, was fond of saying "those who know, don't say. Those who say, don't know."

Nick said...

Oh dear, who rattled your cage today? I'm almost afraid to comment - but you can always ignore them, you know. Most people do.

Khal said...

Lincoln said something relevant to the Blogosphere:

"It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt."

Henry said...

Words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious, while the lips of a fool consume him;

the beginning of his talking is folly and the end of it is wicked madness.

Yet the fool multiplies words.

Ecclesiastes 10:12-14

I think much blogging or posting on forums, e.g., are sometimes a (mainly) failed attempt to be connected, to be in community with others, sometimes it is a cry for attention or temporary ego gratification (what used to be called being a "blowhard"). Mostly harmless because one can just scroll on by.

The danger might be that we don't seem to do a thorough job checking sources nor turning a skeptical eyes to information we find online, on tv, in print, in movies. Volubility plus gullibility makes for what? talk radio and bad public servants?

Wisdom cries in the street, but who will hear her?

Khal said...

Beautiful, Henry. Thank you.