Re: A wee story for you...

Subject: Re: A wee story for you...
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2001 14:05:32 -0700

Andrew Plato wrote:
> He turned his insecurity into hostility and eventually into deception. I see a
> lot of people in the technology industry do this. When people feel threatened,
> intellectually, physically, economically, etc. they react in one of two ways.
> A) Civilized: They adapt and improvise to improve themselves.
> B) Primitive: They lash out in anger and attempt to undermine their "enemies".
> Most people lack the foresight, intelligence, and resourcefulness to see
> trouble before it comes. So they behave like children, lashing out with faulty
> logic and self-promotion.

For me, the worst part isn't the Primitive reaction. After all, nobody
is always a paragon of civilized behaviour. It's the 1984-like attempt
to rewrite history.

Instead of realizing that he needed to learn more about firewalls, the
writer in Andrew's story altered events so that he could look like a
hero. Had he convinced the manager, then the official version of the
meeting would be his, and maybe he could forget his feeling of
inadequacy. Since that didn't work, he rewrote history on his resume. If
he can get a job on the strength of that resume, then perhaps his
fantasy will be validated by its acceptence. If Andrew ever does talk to
him, I'll willing to predict that the writer now totally believes his
revised version, and will be extremely defensive about it - because,
needless to say, with some part of his mind, he knows that what he is
doing is false.

I find this type of abuse of language perversely fascinating. Most
writers would, I think. But, having done some marketing and attempted to
keep it honest, it's doubly fascinating for me. Then, too, I have
suffered deeply at the hands of those who think that truth is something
to drop down the memory-hole. But, these biases aside, I sometimes think
that this sort of revisionism is one of the greatest issues of modern
life. We didn't invent it (I've seen examples of it reading about Henry
VIII and classical Rome), but our culture surely perfected it.

In fact, many people in industrial culture don't believe in external
truth at all. Instead, dictating the truth becomes one of the spoils of
victory in whatever power struggle they happen to be engaged in. That's
probably why Utah Phillips, the Wobbly singer, comments that "The most
radical weapon in history is a long memory."

Bruce Byfield 604.421.7177 bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com

"In the bathroom mirror they try that Joan of Arc look again
Two parts Ingrid Bergman to one part Shirley MacLaine
The wounds of time kill you but the surgeon's knife only stings
Jerusalem on the jukebox, little angels beat your wings."
-Richard Thompson, "Jerusalem on the Jukebox"


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