Total Drek

Or, the thoughts of several frustrated intellectuals on Sociology, Gaming, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, Religion, and whatever the hell else strikes their fancy. There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say we didn't warn you.

Monday, November 29, 2004

We've got to talk.

Folks, I'm here to chat with you today because I'm a little upset. There has clearly been a serious misunderstanding between us and it needs to be cleared up. Now, I'm not naming any names, but some of you out there in the audience seem to have developed a dangerous misconception about this blog. Let me set you straight right now: You should not take me seriously.

Let me repeat that: Under no circumstances should you take this blog seriously.

I know, I know- some of you have been overcome by my flawless writing and rakish good looks (And by that I mean, "Actually resembling a rake") but I'm very serious about this. I never intended this blog to be taken seriously as an authority on anything, yet some people clearly seem to be doing so anyway. I want this to stop! Now! If not sooner!

"But Drek," you exclaim, "How were we to know? How could we possibly have known that this blog wasn't an example of serious and sober discourse?"

Well, that's a good question, so let's go through it together.

List of Reasons Why You SHOULD have Known Not to Take this Blog Seriously:

(1) My name is "Drek." As you may or may not know "Drek" is a term meaning "trash, or inferior merchandise." Granted, the dictionary spells it as "dreck" but I think the general impression is still pretty clear. If a blogger names himself after something that has no value, it may be an indication of something.

(2) If, hypothetically, you didn't know that Drek basically means "crap" there's the fact that my full blog handle is "Drek the Uninteresting." This can clearly be seen in my e-mail address, So, not only did I name myself after worthless garbage, but I indicated that I wasn't even interesting worthless garbage at that.

(3) The name of this blog is "Totak Drek," which, in light of the above, indicates both that the content is likely to be- you guessed it- trash, but also that the main author (This being the other meaning of "Total Drek") is himself not that interesting.

(4) My hypothetical-coblogger (Hypothetical in the sense that the motherfucker has been MIA for some time now) is named Slag. As you may or may not know, "Slag" refers to, "The vitreous mass left as a residue by the smelting of metallic ore." In other words, the useless waste product left behind by an industrial process or, "trash." This is just a thought, but when both bloggers are named after some form of waste material, it's probably a sign about the value of their writing.

Now, I understand that these four "subtle" hints might have been a little too difficult for some folks to grasp, so I found a few more:

(5) On the front fucking page it says, and I quote, "There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say I didn't warn you." I'd say this is a strong indication that I am making no particular claims to being a worthy pundit.

(6) The first post I ever wrote, accessible from my profile, is titled This Blog Sucks and basically details the reasons why this blog sucks. The post in question includes such valuable observations as, "I am NOT an important guy, and I do NOT have any pearls of wisom to share. Anytime you think you've spotted a useful idea in the midst of my ranting, please rest assured that it was entirely accidental. I labor to excise any such valuable contributions before posting," and "Welcome to Total Drek, where you'll get exactly what it sounds like, and no claims otherwise from the management." Both of these passages, I think, put the matter rather bluntly.

(7) I recently used valuable (HA!) blog-space to critique one of my own posts. I think it's safe to say that if I really and truly wanted my writing to be taken seriously, I wouldn't go out of my way to make myself look like a jackass. Not that I really have to work too hard to achieve that, but you see what I mean.

(8) I routinely denigrate myself and my own writing in blog posts. I won't provide specific examples of this, but it isn't hard to find if you look around. For instance: the paragraph above this one.

So, for all of the above reasons, I think it's safe to say that at no time did I ever intend for this blog to be taken as a serious intellectual work. Are we all clear on that? Good.

The question, then, is what I did intend this blog to do. The answer is simple: I intended it to be annoying. As I have indicated before I think people frequently take themselves too seriously. This is a problem because it makes debate and growth more difficult. I am an academic, I hang out with a bunch of academics, and so I know that we have killer huge egos. We don't do this job because we want money, or power: we do it because we want the respect and the recognition. That's fine, I'm as big a fan of respect and recognition as the next guy, and I have a big ego, BUT...

But, it isn't the job of anyone else to safeguard our egos for us. It is not a crime if someone else thinks we are silly, ridiculous people. Here's a tip: we are all ridiculous from time to time. We are all stupid from time to time. Accept it, laugh about it, get over it. Your authority and your respect are based not merely on being right, but on being graceful when you are wrong.

So what does all that have to do with this blog? Well, let me explain with reference to a historical figure: Socrates. No, no, I'm not comparing myself to Socrates. He's both smarter and more articulate than I am, and I make no claims to being able to match his work. I bring him up because he was, in the words of J. Mark Bertrand, "...the gadfly of Athens, the man who pestered the brave and beautiful with inconvenient questions, the man who cornered people in the streets and wouldn’t let them pass until they had given an account of themselves." In short, Socrates was an obnoxious, annoying little snot who harassed others. I'm not comparing myself to Socrates, but I do approve of his method.

We grow through challenge, we think when we are forced to meet opposition. That is the purpose of this blog. If I am offensive, and insulting, and degrading, then it is because I believe someone needs to be. If you disagree with me, I am GLAD because that means you may have thought about the issues. Share that disagreement. I have given space on my blog to those who wished to rebut me, I have never deleted a comment no matter how critical it was of me, I will link to a site that rebuts my points (as long as they notify me of their existence). In short, this blog is intended to be a forum of combat between the wise, the noble, the intelligent, and one chicken shit little bastard who asks annoying questions, and makes irritating arguments. If my points are so foolish, if I am so wrong, then you should have little trouble making a fool of me. Given that many of my posts invole me making an ass of myself, you're even getting a little assistance from the home team. I may debate you, but I will not use my power over this blog to resist your efforts. If I am a beast whose presence offends you, then come and slay me.

If none of my readers ever come to agree with me, that's fine. Hell, I don't always agree with me. If they find that they have considered the issues in more depth, however, or have learned to consider matters with less ego involved, then I will have served my purpose. I approve of Socrates' method. I think the world needs people who poke and prod and annoy- driving everyone else to learn by resisting. I choose to take on that role myself. Don't like it? Well, bad news: unlike Socrates I'm not going to do you a favor and chug a hemlock smoothie. So, there's only one thing left to do: Come and get me. Don't worry, I'll be waiting.

Just, whatever you do, don't take me, or yourself, too seriously.


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