Monday, February 20, 2006

Dialectic

Friday night's B4L meetup was fun. I was on 'the other table', so didn't get to talk to everyone properly, but Skuds has an account here.

I've known Andrew for a while, but it was strange meeting Damian and Tom.

Tom is one of the most readable bloggers I know, and he's usually right. Since I discovered him, I've linked to him copiously. Damien, similarly, gets a visit from my copy of Firefox most days, and everything he said got nods of recognition around the table - we knew all of his stories before he told them.

Soon after meeting him, I ventured an opinion about Sting's bass-playing. About ten minutes later, it dawned on me that the reason I held that opinion was because I'd read it ... on er.... Damien's site....

Andrew's site is worth a visit, by the way. He's very unusual, in that he is an elected Councillor (a Labour one) but he uses his site in a very non-political way. Instead, he presents the public with a portrait of what it's like to be a local Councillor - the work he does, the conflicts of interest, and so on.

Andrew and I differ somewhat as a personality type: I like an argument, and I've always believed that the best way to conduct one is to overstate your case - prod people into engaging with the things you want them to in the first place, and into disagreeing with elements of your argument so that they end up agreeing with a sensible version of the initial provocation.

It sometimes works. More often, I suspect, people can't be bothered to argue and they, instead, make their excuses and leave.

So, for instance, Tom (who works for a pressure group) recalled a post of mine in which I described Pressure Groups as "a job-creation scheme for the self-righteous".

The sober version of my argument is that pressure groups have an unfair advantage in the rivalry they have with elected representatives.

That Andrew can put an argument in a measured way illustrates that he is much more suited to the task of representation than I ever could be.

As always, I left the pub shrouded in the self-doubt of someone who thinks they are a bit OTT and over-argumentative. But it can't have been that bad - Pootergeek felt able to talk to strangers again within a day or so...

Frivolity aside, I've argued before that there are plenty of people who would be freaked out by being placed in an enclosed space and encouraged to talk to strangers wearing a 'I'm Up For A Chat On The Tube' badge. Pootergeek's mate may think that this is 'southern reserve', but I suspect that this is often another defence mechanism.

Footnote: Pootergeek rations links from his site. So he should. A link from him (in one of his posts) can double most bloggers' site traffic. But Jah Jah Dub must have taken in a bit badly....




1 comment:

Andrew said...

Yeah, I had 'the Pootergeek effect' once, there was a very large traffic spike that week!

Unfortunate that the two tables didn't mix much - I'll say hi properly next time :-)