If you like it maybe you should write a dissertation about it?

17 februari 2010 | In Self-indulgence | 2 Comments

I’m mostly useless at cocktail-parties. To engage, exchange pleasantries, gossip and general observations and then move on goes against every instinct I have. As a sort of debutante, I thought that my role at social occasions should be that of the salon-communist – to provoke, insult and amuse the other guests with my wild and controversial ideas, ultimately with the function to reassure them that the company they kept was a socially and intellectually diverse one, and that they were very tolerant indeed. I should be endured. I was not.

Unwilling to change to pleasant observations about trivial matters my next, and current, strategy was to identify special interests. Their ”Geekdoms”, in a word. People, I decided, usually have some obscure special interest that they long to talk about at length, but believe will bore others. I believed that people’s most interesting ideas and complex reasoning moved around these special interests. I also believed that when no one wanted to talk about what I wanted to talk about, my best bet was to identify what interested them in the same way that my interests interested me. I was starting work on my dissertation, and wanted to identify what others would write their dissertation about, if they were given the opportunity. The idea was that everyone has at least one dissertation, as well as a novel, in them.

Always in need of over-justification, I had the further idea that bringing out these special interest and showing that they could be used to ones advantage in a social context would help keep these interests alive. Insofar as people grow boring, it is because they haven’t been encouraged to stay interesting. The social ineptitude associated with the nerd has always struck me as a terrible mistake, based on the inability to cope with knowledge. Knowledge management should be as much of a thing as Anger management is.


  1. So how is that current strategy working out for you?

    Comment by Kalle G — 26 februari 2010 #

  2. Quite alright, I think. I haven’t managed to provoke anyone into actually quitting their day-job and start working on a special interest dissertation instead, but a couple of interesting conversations have occurred and that’s quite enough, for now.

    Comment by david — 27 februari 2010 #

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