There’s this guy whose writing is coming up more and more now in my circles. At first, I found his stuff pretty interesting, because we share an interest in particular practices. However, the more I paid attention to him the more he seemed to push ideas that are flat wrong. Not wrong in the sense of “ah the data shows something different than what you’re saying,” not wrong in the sense of “you’ll ruin people’s lives if they act on what you’re telling them” but wrong in the sense of “let’s step back and examine what you’re trying to do here.” The sense of “how can you be so careful with the trim and miss the giant holes.”

He had a big piece that got a lot of attention and I read it taking notes. I was starting to compile the reasons why it’s wrong-headed–

And then I had to step back and examine what I was trying to do.

I think about that xkcd about someone being wrong on the internet a lot. In many ways, it is the illustration par excellence of all the foolish rabbit holes I tumble down, too focused to notice.

Ultimately, what I wanted to write was to say “No, this is not an approach that’s going to come up with something valuable. You are trying to justify more-or-less useful concrete things with theory that is deeply self-contradicting, and not in a deep way, in an ‘did no one proofread this’ way.” But what’s the value in that quasi-rebuttal?

I could point to more interesting questions that could be raised. But I’m not looking to go chase down the answers, and I doubt I have anyone reading who’d be usefully inspired.

I need to spend more time tending my garden here, I think. Not my private one–y’all will never see my wiki and that’s for the best for all of us. Writing responses to things, though–it’s easy to analyze and critique, but it’s outside the genre of a response to begin to build something new1. I think sketching little ideas of newness is probably less digestible or less interesting to anyone who might stumble upon this website, but will be a more interesting practice for me.

  1. “But what about–” No, I am not interested in your example of a “response” breaking new ground because it probably doesn’t qualify as what I mean as a “response”.