Tuesday, June 1, 2010

He hit me first

I was reminded of a scientific study where two people had sensors placed on them (their arms or chests, I don't remember). The first person was told to tap or hit the second person. The second person was told to tap/hit the first person with the same force.

The result: The second person always hit harder than the first.

Not surprising. Tender flesh is more sensitive than your knuckles, so you do have to hit harder to have equal pain.

Recently I made a comment on a website. The author of a new book was interviewed and I made a comment:
I started wondering if [the author] was a disgruntled employee at ..., since he seemed to depart from scholarship and opted for unsubstantiated innuendo. He left me satisfied at the end [of his interview].
He responded
please advise me re: scholarship and unsubstantiated innuendo, as I’ve only written a doctoral dissertation and published a lengthy volume which documents what I describe. You have apparently listened to some of a podcast interview. Now feel free to read what I’ve written, and get back to me with your counsel.

I was never, to my knowledge, gruntled as an employee, and thus cannot see how I am currently in a state of disgruntlement. Did I sound disgruntled? Was I pleased with how things ‘worked’ there? Obviously not, for reasons I give in the book. Of course, that I may or may not be a disgruntled employee entirely answers every argument I make, and clearly proves the contrary case, whatever that may be. Only gruntled persons can make true statements, for sure.
He was hitting me back harder than I hit him. I then responded:
I owe you a read of your book or dissertation (is it available?). My apologies for the use of a poorly selected word “disgruntled”. I was only responding to your language where you seemed to communicate dissatisfaction with your experience
Did I take the easy way out of a good Internet flame war?

His final response answers this question:
No problem, I am sorry I reacted rather prickly. There’s such a loss in communication when we don’t have the voice to attend to the words. I actually made a few jokes about being ‘gruntled’ in the book, as I was expecting the term to be thrown at me. The links to both volumes can be found on the first page of the interview.

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