Bluffs

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What we do here is pretty inconsequential compared to the big things in life.

Sometimes I get communications that display certain common but dubious attitudes and approaches to life. While they hardly matter in this arena,
they’re really not good things to do when they do matter.

Since it’s a whole lot better for your well-being to anonymously read me saying these things than to find them out by pissing on the electric fence, I occasionally talk about them.

One of them is people who bluff and bluster when they’re standing on quicksand. While I rarely get these things, I see this all the time elsewhere.

Got a note today from somebody regarding video quality who told me that while video quality was very important to him, just looking at video quality was “unacceptable.”

To me at least, “unacceptable” is a pretty strong word. It means “I’ll go elsewhere rather than accept this.” I also know perfectly well that this is not generally available elsewhere.

When I saw that I asked myself (and a bit later, him), “That’s nice. What’s your acceptable alternative?”

It’s one thing to threaten to take your business elsewhere when you can get the same thing around the block. It’s quite another if you have to go fifty or a hundred miles for it, or nowhere at all.

If there’s no “there,” threatening to go “there” doesn’t pack much punch, does it?

There is so much bluffing and blustering people do to get what they want. There is so little thought given as to what to do if the bluff gets called. So people keep bluffing, and keep getting called on it, then get mad that people never fall for it.

There’s only one way to bluff. Don’t. Always have an alternative ready should your bluff be called. If you don’t have one, get one. If you can’t get one, don’t bluff, because the other guy probably knows that, too.

If you bluff, get called, and get busted, that’s going to be remembered by that guy whenever you deal with him from that point on. You’ve given him an ace in the hole from now on.

If you think bluffing and blustering is somehow manly, just how manly do you think you look to the guy who calls it? He knows it’s an act. You just proved it to him.

Don’t You Realize I’m Leaving?

This website is very much like a neighborhood free circular.

If they have an article about something you don’t like, telling them “Do what I want or I’m not going to pick up your circular anymore” isn’t exactly going to sound off Red Alert in the circular’s office.

Threatening to tell your friends and neighbors to do the same thing doesn’t raise the ante much, either.

On occasion, I’ve seen people announcing their personal departure like they were declaring a national crisis. I was only surprised they didn’t include a .WAV file to include accompanying trumpets. I didn’t know whether to laugh or turn on CNN to get world reaction.

The reality is: whenever I (or anybody else who writes for a sizable audience) write something, that person is going to get at least a few people mad. If I wrote the exact opposite, I would just as surely get a few other people mad. If I wrote nothing at all, eventually, I’d get even more people mad.

So in-and-of itself, from this perspective, occasional reader departures is a fact of life, not a crisis. It’s hard to get worked up when someone you didn’t even know was there in the first place tells you he’s going.

Now if that happened because I did something bad or wrong, that’s an entirely different matter. But doing something bad or wrong is the problem, not you going.

If I didn’t do anything wrong, what am I or anybody else supposed to do? Do whatever you say? If we did, what do we do when we get the same kind of note from somebody else on the opposite end of the issue? Are we here to write articles or play Gumby?

The point of this is not to say we don’t care about what the audience says. I and probably most writers want you to tell us when we’re wrong/bad/evil/stupid about something.

But it’s the merits of why you think we’re wrong/bad/evil/stupid that matter, not telling us “do it my way or sayonara.”

That’s not being arrogant; that’s being true to one’s self. Besides, what’s more arrogant, we writing what we think, or you thinking you’ll change that just by saying “bye-bye?”

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