Cheeky? Maybe. Thrilled? Definitely!

The dangers of the blogosphere dialogue,” by Thomas Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, 22 May 2006,

Mark Safranski of ZenPundit found this over at Tom’s blog. I’m stunned.

Yes, there is some of that in the blogosphere, and I benefit from it more than most in the efforts of people like Mark Safranski and Dan tdaxp. But Dan’s a good point to explore, because I found my dynamic with him to be very familiar, meaning one I’ve participated in from both sides countless times in my career, and a description would be instructive I think.

Here’s the generic description: One guy wants to engage another guy he looks up to. To get his attention, he makes a startling, cheeky criticism. They go back and forth, and it gets testy. Then the “elder” guy says something nice about the “younger” guy and the younger guy is thrilled. The ice is broken, and then the conversation really begins.

Ask yourself, how many times you’ve been through this dynamic with people, both where you’re the younger or you’re the older. You make a small connection, and all of a sudden the walls come down. The younger person feels acceptance, the older person feels less threatened, and dialogue takes off.

That is essentially what happened with Dan and me, but frankly, that’s also what’s happened with me and a host of “elders,” to include people like Tom Friedman, whom obviously I admire and model myself after and at whom I’ve occasionally take inappropriate pot shots (like my review of “World is Flat”) because–damn it!–I’d like him to notice me and take me more seriously. Well, Friedman sent me a couple of emails a while back, breaking the ice, and I naturally settled down. Yes, there was a Sally Field-like moment there for a minute, but that passed too.

Same thing happened with me and Dan. It’s just human nature.

My point is this: that essential transaction is hard to do in the asynchronous, one-upmanship world of the blogosphere, where the faceless crowd is constantly egging you on with “fight! fight! fight!”

Wow. This is something else.

  1. My work’s beneficial to Tom. Neat!
  2. He compared me to himself, in the context of interacting with great thinkers. Neat!
  3. I managed to do (1) and (2) in the blogosphere, which can be a hostile environment for that sort of interaction.

What else to say? Neat!

My last few days have been action packed, from getting Redefining the Gap finally published to visiting the ER. These props from Tom are — how would he say? — thrilling.

8 thoughts on “Cheeky? Maybe. Thrilled? Definitely!”

  1. Sounds like a pretty accurate description of how it works. When I first started out, I left almost nothing but “cheeky criticism” hoping they’d visit my blog and complain.

  2. Dan,

    Let me pile on the compliments. tdaxp kicks ass. I see that the massive OODA Loop series already started. I suspect there will be a plethora of eye-watering graphics associated with the post. We’ll be reaching for our Coronas and toast to the memory of Col John Boyd, USAF. But…your last babes-centric post was several months ago. As you probably know, I am not arguing for the Maxim-ization of tdaxp…but I think some babes are in order. Take care and sorry about your lungs.

  3. Hmmm… with both Mark and Sonny demanding more babes and more OODA, I think I’ve found tdaxp’s core competency 😉

    Sonny, if by Maximization you mean I’d have to deal, in person, with legions of aspiring actresses and models — well, that’s a sacrifice I’d be willing to make 😉

    Slightly more seriously… I hope you’re not too disappointed by the Variations of the OODA loop series. [1] As I mentioned on your blog [2] that Variations is much more lit review than new theory – so that graphics in it are pretty simplistic! 🙂

    Re: Beijing, the problems cascade from the lungs. I’m sure someone more fit than me would deal with it better, but breathe less, that means less energy, that means less appetite, that means less everything. The air in Beijing sucks. We ate at an Imperial Restaurant on a lake in the center of the city, yesterday, and the far end of the lake was extremely hazy. The lake wasn’t that big, either. Sioux Falls residents will get what I mean when I say it was a big version of Covell Lake.

    Thank you for the extremely, extremely kind words. I can’t say how much they maen to me.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *