Sunday, September 16, 2007

Dunning-Kruger Syndrome

Xtin and I were talking yesterday about a certain kind of person: the one who comes up to you, upon little or no acquaintance, and starts telling you what they know about x, or their theories about x, and not only presume that you're horribly interested in what they have to say, but generally fail to listen/show any interest in what you have to say. That is a recipe for excrutiation.

This kind of sounding-board personality includes pretty much all the crazies I met while working in a second-hand bookshop, years ago (trapped! trapped! I hate retail for this very reason!), who'd demonstrate an astonishing inability to recognise or react to any signs of my frustration and growing anger.

I remember one memorable exchange between one such chap and the bookshop owner.
"Ah. Ah. I see you're wearing a CND badge. Well, I think there should be nuclear war. Limited nuclear war. Clear the earth so we can start again."
"You're stupid. Fuck off out of my shop, and don't come back"

Xtin met one of these people yesterday. I know I am coming across as vastly misanthropic, but oh, to hell with it. I mean, unreliable narrator and all that. Anyway. I was talking to a chap dumping manure (horse, I hasten to add) at the farm where I fly the gos. Xtin was hanging back near the gate. And I turn around, and she is standing with a woman dressed in bright purple, celery leaves flopping out of her bike basket. The woman has been telling Xtin that she knows all about falconry, which she clearly doesn't, and Xtin has already given up talking, and is approaching critical mass, in a rigid, shoulders-tensed, teeth-gritting stance. And the goshawk takes one look at Mrs Purple and is utterly terrified. Bate, bate, bate, bate, bate. Mrs Purple then tries to talk to me. It's like treading on the edge of a bit of quicksand. Back up! Back up! I mutter and disappear rapidly up the farm track, followed by Xtin, who takes about half an hour to decompress.

Note: it seems that no matter how tame your goshawk, it will take enormous fright at certain individuals. There is nothing you can do about this except remove yourself from the scene.

There might be a lesson in that.

Also, this.

8 comments:

Tristram Brelstaff said...

... telling you what they know about x, or their theories about x, and not only presume that you're horribly interested in what they have to say, but generally fail to listen/show any interest in what you have to say.

Isn't that what blogs are for?

pluvialis said...

Damn! Caught bang to rights. It's a fair cop.

Xtin said...

So true. I must refine this response for the Mrs Purples of the world.

"How interesting. Do you have a blog? Excellent. I'd so much prefer to read your theories at my leisure ..."

Matt Mullenix said...

Goshawk's Theory of General Relativity: A lady in purple is only frieghtening to a goshawk because in this Universe she is unusual. In another Universe, wherein most people are obnoxious chatters and wear bright purple, people like us frieghten the goshawks.

Reid Farmer said...

she is standing with a woman dressed in bright purple
***********************************

I told you about those purple drapes in our house

Heidi the Hick said...

I had NO IDEA there was an actual name for this and that's it's a SYNDROME no less!!

I mean, this changes everything...

Chas S. Clifton said...

Sounds like Aspberger's Syndrome to me -- walking up to you and starting a monologue about X is classic Aspie behavior.

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