Sadly, I grew up in a house that quibbled. There are a lot of parents that will correct a child's grammar, but this went way beyond that. In my home, everything was corrected. If I said that amethyst were purple, my father would quickly correct me that some were pink, red or blue. If I called the nearby road Brisebois, "bris-boy," my mother was quick to correct me that it was "bris-bwa." If I told a friend we were going to the mall and then the grocery, either parent would be quick to point out that we were going to the grocery first. This sort of thing was constant and unrelenting - not only between my parents and I - they did it between themselves, also. And as I was youngest in the family, both my sister and brother had picked up the habit long before I'd reached the age of eight.
So, quibbling is a deeply entrenched habit with me. I carried it forward through school, through university and through my daughter's upraising, and right here onto the internet. It is one of my worst habits, one that I hardly realize I'm following. I see something that's, quote, 'wrong,' and I leap to correct it.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, there are a bunch of gentle readers saying, "I told you so." But don't pretend that a lot of you don't do exactly the same thing - the internet is full of it, as the cartoon on the left clearly
indicates. I was not the only one raised with this habit - else I wouldn't have people rushing to point out to me that not every government in ancient Greece was a democracy, or that a video isn't 'skype,' it's a G+ hangout video. Pointing out that things are wrong is a national sport.
I know I have to give it up. I know that my resistance against giving it up has nothing whatsoever to do with me, it has to do with my parents and having developed the habit so deeply in my psyche. The worst thing about habits like this is that for years and years it is possible to hang onto the certainty that things should not be wrong. They should be right.
See, that is the worst of it. There is a lot of confusion about wrongness and rightness - particularly in people who don't care about either. All my life I've had people say of me, "You need to be right; you can't bear to be wrong" - which is, at best, a half-truth. I don't 'need' to be right - I've done the research and the source material says I am right. Other source material may indicate something else, but then it's a debate between other people, not me. The argument that I 'have to be' right would suggest that even when I'm wrong, and I know I'm wrong, I'm still insistent that the listener acknowledge it. This is flat out something I do not do. My peculiar attitude towards rightness doesn't allow for deception - either towards others or myself.
In the past few months, several times, I've been wrong. My response to being wrong has been to admit it. I find that hard and unpleasant, but I can bear it. Correct, Greece was not entirely a democratic culture. Correct, it is a G+ hangout video. Satisfied?
Since I rarely hear anyone admit they're wrong, I've been able to identify the value of people all my life by their ability to accept their errors and change their minds. People who do neither have little value for me. People who do not do the research have even less. And people who argue resolutely that doing the research is bullshit and unnecessary, for whatever justification . . . well, hell, I don't see people like that as even human. Deeply, I feel the world would be a much better place without those people.
Firing off a missive about someone's inaccuracy is a way of testing to see what sort of person they are. At least, that's a lie I've been telling myself for years.
I realize I have to change. I have to let go. More and more, I have struggled to just let other people be wrong in more ordinary, daily life, and it has been noticed by friends and family. They have remarked on it - particularly in situations where they know from their experience that something inaccurate was said, and where I didn't respond. That is very, very unlike my parents. That is not the way they raised me.
Here and there, in posts for the next month or longer, I'm going to be talking about a series of military figures, all from the old Civ IV game: spearman, galley, archer, cavalry, missionary, axeman, swordsman, explorer and so on - and there's going to be a lot of quibbling about those. There is so much misinformation and half-information manifesting in lies and errors and dogma that no matter what I write about those things, someone will rush forward to say, "No, it's this" or "You've got it wrong about that." The source material - even that deriving from universities and academia - is so full of bullshit, fostered by children who grew up on bad films and bad documentaries, that what's real and isn't real has completely degraded. The Katana is just a sword. And not even that good a sword.
I'm going to write those posts anyway. I'll do my research and put in the hours and carefully choose every word that's written down, constructing passages and arguments in an effort to get across the more important themes of game-play and design. Then someone who hasn't done any research, who hasn't read a single book on weaponry, who will take no time whatsoever to think about their language or about themes, will rush - like my parents - to tell me that a Katana was magically folded over ten billion times or whatever the hell else they learned from the great god Tarentino.
Because this is the internet. This is where we quibble. This is the arena my parents unwittingly raised me to correct. This is the battleground between bullshit and blunder.
I'd like to take a step back and just be referee for a while. I wish - I really wish - my blood wouldn't boil when some idiot says something stupid. After all, in reality, that idiot is already surrounded by a lot of people who already know the value that person really has - and karma is doing my work better than I ever could. I have to stop letting it bother me. I have to accept that people have always gotten it wrong - that this will never, ever change, no matter how much effort I give. Stupidity flourishes. It is what stupidity does.