Talking out of one’s arse – an apologia

Mr Duemer (Joseph?) has, as I mentioned in the comment box down the page somewhere, just torn a strip off me for talking out of my arse. Probably fairly, in that case.

I’ve always been one to offer strong opinions from a position of ignorance. But, at the risk of turning a character flaw into a philosophy of life, I’m not sure it’s such a bad thing. That’s because I see of it as symptomatic of thinking for myself. Sometimes it means spending hours thinking about something and then reaching an opinion which everyone else thinks is bloody obvious anyway. Sometimes it means saying something which you look back on later and feel like an eejit. But at least it’s an attempt to reach your own opinion rather than just accept what you’re told.

There are some caveats, though. You need to be aware of the ignorance, so you are aware of the possibility (likelihood?) that you’re talking crap. You need to be willing to change your opinion in the face of a new fact, or a better argument. And you have to try and take it in good spirit when someone points out the crap that you’ve been talking.

I’ve always been annoyed by people who are proud to be ignorant – even if it’s just being proud never to have watched Desperate Housewives. But I also think it’s a pity when people don’t feel able to offer opinions on things because they feel that somehow it’s not their place to do so.

One reply on “Talking out of one’s arse – an apologia”

To continue the train of thought: commenting on things American is clearly a case in point. One of the natural dynamics of blogging is to read other people’s blogs and respond to them. Since the blogoworld is overwhelmingly American, that means I’m often tempted to make comments on US subjects, even though I know perfectly well that my knowledge of America is second-hand and partial. Sometimes I bite my tongue, sometimes I hedge my comments with reservations, and sometimes I just make them anyway.

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