Saturday, 21 June 2014

In pursuit of wankiness

     I’m not that bright. I read a lot, write more, I think (too much) about things. But I’m not, and never have been a cleverclogs, an academically inclined kind of person. I’m a twatty blogger. That’s me, right there, titting about on twitter, laughing inappropriately at stupid jokes and being healthily cynical. I don’t have a lot of time for wankiness.

     How do I define wankiness? I should have a snappy answer to that, seeing as I bang on about it enough. Being a thicko, however, I don’t. It’s just a kind of thing. Being pretentious. Intellectual snobbery. Elevating yourself above the commoners like me. Showing off with every interaction that you’re a bit clever, you are. Artisan bakeries. Buying handmade stuff that looks handmade so everyone knows it’s handmade. Being precious. Wankiness.

     The world of clever people is closed to me. I didn’t even go to university. Yeah, you heard me right. I was supposed to. I had my Forensic Psychology & Criminology course all set up and ready to go. \but I met Alistair, I feel into a very well paid job and… I didn’t. Sometimes I wish I had. But then I wouldn’t have met Alistair, I wouldn’t have had The Blondies, I wouldn’t have this life, whatever it is. Anyway, however you look at it, my formal education ended at 18 (aside from the extra A Levels in my early 20s, but they were home study and therefore, Don’t Count).

     But I still want to learn. As a history obsessed moo, I love reading about the past, about people, their lives, their passions. And I know how lucky I am that I’ve ended up living in a city where history isn’t an abstract concept, but all around me. It’s in the cobblestones I tramp, the walls I touch, the building I visit. I still get the same fizz of excitement when I see the Guildhall, or a read a green plaque on the wall, or spot something old I’d previously overlooked. And because of this history all around Norfolk, there are bloody LOADS of people and groups and talks and events celebrating this heritage. I’m still amazed by it.

     But of course, there is a flipside to this. And unfortunately, it’s the people who know this stuff best. The Clever People. I don’t think I know any of them. I certainly don’t interact with any of them. It’s not that I hate them or anything like that. I don’t even dislike them. They just make me do an exaggerated eyeroll and think ‘Wow. You really don’t like sharing, do you?’

     ‘If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.’ Albert Einstein said that, just to prove I can be as wanky as the rest of them. I’d add something more to that. ‘Or perhaps you don’t want people to understand something it took you a long time to comprehend. So you’ll bind ideas to jargon, and in-jokes, and  references that the casual reader, the great uneducated won’t understand. To exclude. To infer intellectual inferiority. To create a divide.

     It makes me sad. Actually, it annoys me. In fact, it FUCKS ME ROYALLY OFF. Knowledge, history, heritage, aren’t the preserve of those with a doctorate in snobbery, specialising in wankiness. It belongs to us, to all of us, and to see things that are fascinating, enlightening, and help us to understand human history, obscured by intellectual wankiness and mutual academic masturbation should be a bloody crime.

singular features in landscapes entrain our awareness in orbits of attention and interaction.  Each individual’s orbit, following broadly the same law of cognitive gravity, will ultimately coincide with those of others, overprinting paths of attention and thus amplification of the significance of the feature.

     Yeah, go ahead, google it, you’ll see where I got it from. What is really frustrating is that he has a really good point, but it’s hidden behind some impenetrable prose that anyone who isn’t full of utter wankiness would have their eyes glaze over within the first paragraph.

     Is it fear, do we think? That if a twatty blogger like me can grasp a concept they write about, then maybe - clutch your pearls, ivory tower dwellers – they’re not being clever enough? If someone like me, with no real education can read, understand and appreciate an academic paper, then perhaps… they’re not as clever as they want others to believe they are That perhaps (whisper this bit) the stuff they know… it isn’t so hard to understand?

     And it transfers into other things I see. It’s not enough to prove how clever they are. They have to belittle others. Maybe by ignoring a twatty blogger replying to them. Sneering at someone for being enthusiastic about something they consider non-academic. Not engaging with anyone outside of their special circle, because what could we, the average person, know or understand? Playing a deadly serious game of who can be the most ‘above all that’. I don’t like it. It’s snobbery, pure and simple.

     But maybe I’m equally guilty of reverse snobbery. Perhaps I have a massive chip on my shoulder about not going to university, being a twatty blogger, having to read up on things before I can immediately understand a reference. Perhaps I’m jealous that other people get to live a life defined by their thoughts and interpretations, where they’re admired for their ideas. Where is they venture, just a little into the outside world, they’re seen as unique and special. Perhaps I resent being reminded that I’m nothing much, nothing special, have nothing to offer. Maybe.

     But equally, I have nothing to prove either. I’m just a twatty blogger.

12 comments:

LearnerMother said...

You're a bloody ace twatty blogger, mind! (and I did google it...but...Couldn't. Be. Arsed. So I never found the really good point. Ah well, off to do some tatty blogging of my own x x

Anonymous said...

Spot on!

Aibagawa said...

You are so right on every point! Academic writing really is bad but it's grown out of arrogance and showing off and cintinues because of it too. Sad really. And keep up the twatty blogging!

Lisa said...

Dude, I WENT to university (then went again a few years later for more) and I'm still a thicko and a twatty blogger. But I'd rather be titting about on Twitter with you and laughing inappropriately at stupid jokes than being a wanky person. OK?

Lucy Benedict said...

See, now this proves my point that the best custodians of important stuff are the enthusiasts, not The Clever People, who exclude, rather than share. Not ALL academics, obviously. But too many of them.

And the readers of my twatty blog are ACE. Let's go and laugh at stupid puns and silly photos!

Tim said...

We're probably all guilty of some form of snobbery or reverse snobbery, but only a certain type of person throws it in everyone else's faces.

As with so many things in life, if you have to keep telling/showing people how clever you are, you're probably not that clever to begin with.

(I'm worried now - is that me being trying to be too clever?!?)

Lucy Benedict said...

HA! Definitely not! It's insecurity, isn't it? Scrabbling to prove they are IMPORTANT, by excluding people who need things explained...

Sam said...

That quote! That's not being twatty as such, that's just being a really bad writer I'd say :-) I'm also a twatty BA (and, weirdly because I'm crap at anything remotely scientific or mathematical) MSc but I feel inferior to people who were confident to go out in the world and get a really brilliant well paid job without needing a formal degree. You would've kicked my arse at Uni - I think you are a way cleverer better writer than I am - like Lisa I am also just twatting about in cyberspace nowadays :-) X

Lucy Benedict said...

You really need to read the whole article. It took me AGES to get through it because I kept having to stop to write bits of it down to laugh at again. It's a JOY!

And you're my muse. Just a single sentence in your blog can get my blogger senses tingling...

Lady Liberty Hen said...

wankiness: my new best word & definition.
Hurrah for wankiness detectors (business opportunity?)

Colin Howey said...

... but I'm a clever people and you know me!

Lucy Benedict said...

You are a clever people, Colin! But you also know how to communicate. Unlike some... ;-)