Uberdanken vom Everest

I cannot, and will not, overemphasize the importance of critical thinking.  Language is a weapon, and what’s more, it’s really the only weapon we have against near-constant attempts to control the way we perceive the world.  Approaching every sentence one encounters with rigor, applying keen analysis of every word thrown at you, is a habit that should always be encouraged.

However, like anything else, it’s possible to go too far with it.

I usually know when to back off of a deep read, and the specter of overthinking things is familiar enough that I usually know when to shoo it away.  Sometimes, though, the instinct kicks in and I find myself somewhat shamefully suspicious of what I’m hearing.  Case in point:  there’s a commercial in heavy rotation on Hulu, some mini-documentary by a car company that shows people doing amazing things (going into space, deep sea diving, etc.), to show up the car company’s innovative policies.  That part is easy-to-spot bullshit.  The part where I got carried away, though, was a segment where a woman comes on and says:

I am the first American woman to summit Mount Everest three times.

Immediately, my bullshit analysis software kicked in.  Well, I thought to my fat lazy self, something’s wrong there.  All of those qualifiers!  “First”, “American”, “woman”, “three times” — surely there’s some kind of linguistic con job at work there to conceal a lack of real accomplishment.  And it seriously took me about three minutes to become deeply ashamed.  Becuase, for crissakes, she could have said “I am the ninth Slovenian transgendered M2F to summit K2 one time” and it would still be pretty goddamn amazing.  She climbed Mount Everest THREE FUCKING TIMES, you tool!  And you’re suspicious of her phrasing?  This is what spending too much time by yourself does to you.

7 SHOTS LICKED so far.

  1. Tim
    12/10/2010 at 4:31 PM

    I know what you mean.

    When I read this post I immediately wondered “how much of this is complete bullshit that Pierce just made up like he did that comics panel review?”

    Sometimes it’s so hard not to be cynical!

  2. Trakball
    12/10/2010 at 5:34 PM

    In this thread, people who were asshurt over Leonard’s review of Mr. Show get their revenge!

  3. Pat
    12/11/2010 at 1:48 AM

    I can imagine that freelance Internet writing is a pretty hardscrabble existence and you must be under a lot of pressure to make ends meet so I can understand why you might want to cheat and write a review of a book that you didn’t actually read. But for Christ’s sake at least let them WRITE the fucking thing first before you write a fake review.

  4. Some guy on the internet
    12/11/2010 at 7:05 AM

    Hey there,

    There is something to be said about being so good a writer that everyone’s ready to forgive you when you fuck up a little. Which is exactly what is happening to you. Take a break, get your shit together and come back to us. We can’t afford to lose real writers with real opinions on this fucking planet.

    I,for one, will follow “The Metal Box” or whatever it would be called anywhere. Just keep us posted, will ya?

    Take care.

  5. udjibbom
    12/11/2010 at 12:22 PM

    just a quick note to say that everyone fucks up and everyone deserves a second chance; you’re good and you do good work. you’ll get through this.

    best of luck, man.

  6. Matt
    12/15/2010 at 12:03 PM

    Tim: unnecessary, buddy.

    Pierce: you’re a great writer, please keep it up. AV won’t be the same without ya


  7. Smokin
    01/26/2011 at 11:05 AM

    Well, Tim´s comment actually made me crack a smile. I read it more like an exaggeration of some people views than an actually insult or something like that.

    Also, the point was over analyzing text, not being cynical over someone’s views…. Oh, wait. TIM, did you just criticize this article without reading it? Well, aren’t you a little hypocrite?


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