A meta-note about my walkback of a couple days ago, and feel free to ignore this if like most people all this “me talking about me” crap I’ve done recently has begun to bore you:
1. I’m aware some people think I “caved” by apologizing, but to quote my own damn self on this, like I care. Look, this is pretty simple: I made a statement that I thought based on my own data was accurate. Other people pointed out that my data were incomplete. I took the information they gave me, added it with my own data, and came up with a different result. Having done so, I retracted my original statement and made a new one. It was not only the correct thing to do, it was positively Hegelian. And that makes me warm inside.
2. Now, there’s the additional, non-Hegelian issue that people some folks were pissed off about my original statement, and that when I revised my belief about the overall value of the discussion, I also apologized to the folks to whom I gave offense with my original opinion. In the minds of some folks, this means I cowered to the politically correct, or whatever. Well, no. I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone who reads me over any period of time that I simply don’t give a crap what anyone else thinks about me, if I am confident of my position. I happily offend people I feel need some good, clean offending, and in general my response to their anger at the offense I give is to grade it on its creativity.
(Yes, this means I’m occasionally a dick. This is not news. Take it as read.)
But I am sometimes (and some would argue, frequently) wrong, and when one is wrong, the gracious and human and correct thing to do is to apologize for giving offense, particularly when one, as I am, is often less than totally concerned about giving offense in the first place. In this particular case, there were folks who had a good and clear reason to be offended; I had a good and clear reason to apologize.
3. It’s not hard to apologize, incidentally. I have a big fat ego, but I like to believe that ego isn’t invested in having to win, which big egos often are; it’s invested in being correct. The correct thing to do here was to say I was wrong and to say I had thoughtlessly offended people, for which I apologize. Because I was, and I had, so I did.
To be clear, big ego or not, theoretical willingness to apologize nor not, I screw up as often as anyone, and I can be stubborn to change my position because my position is shiny and pretty and full of win and it loves me like a rock. But per the above graph, I try to remind myself (or have others remind me) that if my position is so damn great, it should be able to handle being challenged. I’m not perfect at this, but I do work at it.
4. I’m aware that now that I have apologized, there are people suggesting that other folks who said mean things about me on the internets should also apologize. Dudes: When I think I need an apology, I’ll ask for it. If you don’t see me ask for an apology, you should assume I’m of the opinion I don’t need one. I’m a big boy and can even dress myself, when I feel like dressing myself at all. If you’re going around trying to collect on apologies I haven’t asked for, the people you’re demanding them from are perfectly entitled to tell you to go screw.
And that pretty much covers all the apology meta, I think.