This is an unusual post and steers away from my usual ramblings.
I will probably come around to write a post about that too (WTH with all those horrible lists on Twitter? They remind me of ancient Roman proscription lists!). Well, that can wait a couple of days because I still have to write my Christmas cards.
As some of you know, both as a hobby and as something I like to observe for my scripts, I follow the career of several actors (male and female). In one of my online wanderings I came across a blog about British actor Richard Armitage (he is in #BerlinStation on Channel 4 at the moment) and it seemed, strange but true, that the sort of conversation in the comments was civil. Clearly, nowadays being civil or respectful towards your fellow human beings must have gone out of fashion.
So, from discussing Richard Armitage's attitude to his vanity and nose, well... I ended up being told I'll be sunk as an historian as I have no capability to understand the difference between 'literally' and 'non-literally'. I would be careful to make such assertions if I were her, as nearly half of her country's entire voting pool believed someone who could make America great again (some historians are part of his fanbase too, better she starts lecturing them now). Seriously, have a look here...
I apologise for extralarge size... :
Do you think she gave up after being sent a link? As what he said was not EXACTLY the same words she expected, she doubled down (doubling down is trendy these days, as anyone who has discussed with Femi on Twitter knows!).
Therefore I ended up being told to quit my studies because I clearly don't know personally Herodotus. SERIOUSLY.
As I am a non-native speaker, I often lack the necessary English words to reply quickly to statements.
But I can still understand the difference between hating something about myself, being obsessed with it and also self-loathing. My mum would be horrified to be told off after saying to me "you're obsessed with your weight" when in fact I just hate the fact I am not skinny. The gall of her! She should stop talking to me altogether *facepalm*.
Apart from the fact that upsetting a non-native speaker with "if you don't understand the difference in language, you may as well give up" (evidently this blogger thinks that here in UK degrees are handed out like candy to us), I am appalled that this historian person, whoever she is, lacks so much perspective in life that not knowing Richard Armitage personally is the same as not knowing Herodotus in person. For instance, Armitage is still alive and I am pretty sure he would laugh at your ridiculous statement too.
As much as I can agree that things do not need to be taken out of context, there is a limit to everything. I am pretty sure that there are bigger fish to fry in her fandom than someone saying "he is obsessed with his nose" and that post above says more about her and her general attitude to other people than anything about me or my 'supposed' lack of source critique skills.
Clearly, her 'triple down' comment could not be missed either.
Of course it is her blog and I will refrain from commenting ever again.
However, after someone makes you aware you have crossed a line and you should not be that rude or disrespectful to a person you never met or known, I would have expected an apology instead of a response similar to "f**k off to another blog if you don't like my language": at that point, you have clearly demonstrated your awful attitude towards other people, both in your field and out.
Anything she wrote reflected badly on her, surely not on me or my presumed lack of skills as an historian. Having said that, she was even guilty of her own sin because she, too, assumed I was a rubbish historian from three comments on an actor's fan blog (I would understand if she had read my dissertation, right?).
Yes, she can feel the temporary satisfaction of 'slapping' people in the face on her blog. Fair enough. Yet, not even Mary Beard ever treated students of history like she does (I am sure of this from experience), despite writing several academic books and appearing in countless TV documentaries. Often I find myself in conferences where the least experienced person has 2 PhDs and I don't remember anyone addressing me like that, maybe because they would be called out as they are acting like arrogant and pompous arses.
Perhaps the anonymity provided by the internet makes everyone more arrogant, bold and rude. I would not know as I put my real face and name to my profiles, despite in the past I even had death threats.
I leave those 'silly' games to bloggers who, maybe, are not so brave to disrespect others 'in person' and completely fear accountability.
Simona Merlin Chesters
“There cannot be authoritative readings of past
texts, since the meaning changes every time they are read” (Moreland 2001: 113).
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