I Like to Learn but I don’t Like Being Taught

I’m very contrary. I like to learn but I don’t like being taught.

Headlines like: “# Things XYZ Can Teach You About…” make me cringe. Some place in my brain I am thinking, “well, let me teach you a little something…”. Or something like that. I am not very good with authority figures. Not that I am especially rebellious – I just don’t like someone who thinks they know more than I do. At least until they prove they really do.

A lot of people online will write as if they know what they are writing about. Making yourself an authority on the Internet is a marketing scheme – so, of course, they are all rushing to appear authoritative. In reality, they may have only had one site up, one month before they put out their first ebook explaining what a blogging guru they are.

You can’t really be an authority without some history and experience.

Even then, anyone who really considers themselves an authority has an inflated opinion of themselves.

It really is true – that saying about the more you learn, the less you know. There is always more to learn.

No doubt I have trust issues which come into the whole not liking authority thing. But, who hasn’t found a few reasons to mistrust any type of authority by the time they reach some form of adulthood? Those rose coloured glasses come with the protective bubble, make sure you stay in it!

If there is a point to this post it must be about thinking how you communicate with people.

It’s not just how you talk but how others hear and/ or understand what you say.

 

The Danger of Trigger Warnings

I think of trigger warnings as the peanut allergy campaign. Out of all the allergies people have (I’m allergic to animal hair for instance) why was the peanut allergy given such high priority? How did one allergy cause so much change in how food is served or allowed to be served?

With trigger warnings it is the same story. There are endless lists of items/ situations which could cause issues for people. Enough to shut down communication. Where does it begin and end?

For generations, people have been responsible for their own health, making sure to avoid or be careful when something could cause them to have an allergic attack. People need to self moderate. It really is the only way for everyone to manage communication. Emotional triggers in particular, are very personal and individual. Second guessing what will bother any one person in a group, or the public as a whole, is fruitless. Like a bottomless pit. Moderating everything to that extent would make communication impossible and/ or meaningless.

Over sensitivity and hyper awareness is not going to work for communication and education.

We treat an allergy with exposure, allergy shots are a little of the substance given to the immune system to deal with. When it works, the immune system will lose its sensitivity to the substance. We deal with fear in the same way. Pushing our emotions to endure and gradually understand the problem. Trigger warnings will never work because they put the fear, emotions on a pedestal, making them bigger and more important. Focusing on anything will only make it grow stronger, and more prevalent.

Trigger warnings will only silence communication.

Oxford University law students have asked to be protected from distressing material that may crop up in their studies of the criminal law. Lecturers have been told that they must issue “trigger warnings” before lecturing on subjects that may – it is claimed – lead vulnerable students into depressive episodes or even suicide. Students thus forewarned can either steel themselves to what follows, or, as some are now doing, skip the lecture altogether. The directive is primarily aimed at students studying criminal law.

Will lecturers be expected to anticipate every case in which a trigger warning must be issued? Are law lecturers to become amateur psychologists and predict in advance the topics that may conceivably cause trauma to their students?

The whole point of a university is that it is an institution in which students and academics can engage in free and uninhibited discussion. Nowhere is this more important than in the subject of legal education, which involves much more than being told what the law is.

Source: Trigger warnings are an insidious threat to academic freedom – BarristerBlogger

Miscommunication?

I don’t think this is sending the message they really want the public to receive.

It almost made me laugh. I come from a background of small business owners, often working on call seven days a week. I myself have mainly been in customer service or freelancing which has few days off, lots of being on call and I only get paid if I show up and keep working. So, I was surprised and then almost laughed out loud when I saw this come up on a website for a union. unionjobSource: The Media Union of BC

Kill Them All

Extremists, terrorists… kill them all…. Where does that end and which group are terrorists and which are we supposed to believe are not? Kill them all is never going to work. History is the only way to look back and be told who the good guys were. The good guys aren’t even those who tell or publish the stories. The good guys are the people reading the stories, just ask them.

killthemall

The Media has Become the Emperor

We live in the days of the Emperor’s New Clothes. The media is our Emperor, the leader, the trend setter, commander, ruler and most of all the judge. How did it change from the days when the media reported the news and kept judgement and opinions out of it?

When I studied writing in college, not so many years ago, I was taught the importance of the media reporting from an unbiased point of view. But, even then, we talked about how psychology, marketing and peer pressure could be used to slant the facts.

What do you think?

What do you really think when no one is listening, tattling on you or judging you? What do you think when you strip away political correctness and public expectations? Do you even know what your real, sincere and genuine opinions are any more? Can you still admit to yourself that some of your opinions aren’t popular in today’s world? Are you intimidated by peer pressure, popular opinion and the media or can you allow yourself to disagree, even just a little?

I think we live in a world where the media is the Emperor and we all tell it how wonderful it’s clothes are, even though we can plainly see the media isn’t wearing anything at all. The problem is the media is the best tool of everyone who wants to start a witch hunt and witch hunts are a great way to become famous, in the media.

Add in Google for social media online and even without offline resources a witch hunter can do quite well for at least a short time. Fame and fortune for the small sacrifice of people having a mind of their own.

The media Emperor thrives on it all. The Internet may shake the print publishing industry but the media itself is thriving on gossip, scandal and witch hunting.

emperor

You can read The Emperor’s New Clothes online if you’ve never heard the story or forget how it goes.

Settling for Less in Print

Words are beautiful but they need rulesThis is about typos and publishing. How many typos did you find in the last print book you read? What about the newspaper? Compare that to web publications, blogs included? Do you see a trend?

I can remember when finding a typo in a published book was rare. I wish they were still rare. These days I usually find at least one in each book I read. Often they are obvious typos not just something spell check software could catch but something a human proofreader would have (or should have) noticed and fixed.

On the web there have always been typos, outright spelling and grammar mistakes. On the web we are writers without editors, proofreaders or back up staff. Most of us still write our own sites. We publish, maintain and do our own public relations and marketing too. We are our own tech support and once we leave the keyboard the whole operation leaves with us. So, there are uncaught typos, at the very least.

But the standards overall are slipping. Ignorance is part of it. You don’t need to be hired or pass a test to start publishing on the web. I think this has begun to infect the print publishers too. Why be so careful, so particular if you can get away with a casual typo or a relaxed style of punctuation, spelling and grammar? Why spend all that money hiring proofreaders to maintain a standard which seems to be disappearing?

I don’t like settling for less.

As a reader of print books the errors in print have begun to make me feel cheated. Once I felt I could rely on print publications to learn correct forms of writing. Now, I feel annoyed to pay full price for a book when publishers seem to have abandoned that diligence.

Words are beautiful but they need rules to work well with others.

What is #ACanadianThing ?

How many people use their regional spelling on their sites? That is a Canadian thing for me. I’ve had to (or been expected to) adapt my spelling for other sites and schools. I never like doing so. I prefer to keep Canadian spelling, to promote and maintain my culture, history and communication rules.

It’s all English (unless your site isn’t in English, of course) but there are small differences in spelling for each country. Canadian spelling

#ACanadianThing

Source: #ACanadianThing hashtag on Twitter

Do you Speak Esperanto?

I first heard about Esperanto ten years ago when I was writing at a site called BackWash. One of the other writers was learning to speak the language and writing about it. I read some of the history, how the language was developed. I even wrote a post about Esperanto, as a resource for anyone else interested in finding out more. Then, I heard very little about it again, until finding this post today (see below). Esperanto is still around, still has all the potential to grow and become important… but it hasn’t yet.

Like its vastly more successful digital cousins — C++, HTML, Python — Esperanto is an artificial language, designed to have perfectly regular grammar, with none of the messy exceptions of natural tongues. Out loud, all that regularity creates strange cadences, like someone speaking Italian slowly while chewing gum. William Auld, the Modernist Scottish poet who wrote his greatest work in Esperanto, was nominated for the Nobel Prize multiple times, but never won. But it is supremely easy to learn, like a puzzle piece formed to fit into the human brain.

Invented at the end of the 19th century, in many ways it presaged the early online society that the web would bring to life at the end of the 20th. It’s only ever been spoken by an assortment of fans and true believers spread across the globe, but to speak Esperanto is to become an automatic citizen in the most welcoming non-nation on Earth.

Source: How an artificial language from 1887 is finding new life online | The Verge