Someone cue that “O RLY?” owl

Two things: first, I recently read about Cory Doctorow, the author/blogger/activist/Boing Boing guy, being described as a “polymath“; I believe this was on 43 Things or something. That seems like a good thing to be, and I suppose in the abstract I’ve considered myself something of a polymath due to my various pursuits as a computer engineer, writer, businessman, politician, actor, religious minister, and, of late, journalist, though I would guess that “dilettante” might be closer to the truth. Given the description of Doctorow, however, I’m not as sure. His writing, be it in a book, on a blog, or otherwise, all seems to be related to his political activism (which I broadly agree with, btw) in some fashion…and his intelligence, in this or indeed in any field, might be better demonstrated by, for example, not having associates censor those who criticize your novels when you yourself are an anti-censorship activist (here’s a more illustrative example), or perhaps not suggesting database information leaks should be treated the same as nuclear accidents. These things don’t say “polymath” to me as much as “person with a serious lack of perspective”, and these and other statements were enough to get me to rethink having him on my list of people I’d like to meet on the aforementioned 43 Things.

Btw, dontcensorme.com seems to be a very handy site which is suffering from a lack of traffic and interest, and I would recommend folks visit it and remember to use it when such an incident happens to them.

Second, is anyone else looking at coverage of Anonymous’s declared “war” on Scientology and grokking what fools these mortals be? I have to wonder first if al-Qaeda looks at our coverage of them and wonders the same things. I remember hearing the CEO of meetup.com declare emphatically at the Claim Democracy conference that “loosey-goosey networks don’t get shit done”, but maybe that should be followed by “reliably” – in the aforementioned cases, they certainly seem to be doing the trick. At the risk of sounding like Marvel Comics, it’s difficult to figure out how to harness that power for good…but I have to figure that if Ron Paul can do it, people with better ideas – which doesn’t narrow down the field too much – can as well.

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One Response

  1. “Polymath”, “dilettante”, “renaissance man”, pretty much all the same thing. I, as well as you, self-identify, but I use the term “geek of all trades”, perhaps as a hold over from the (seldom seen anymore but still fondly remembered and missed by me) Geek Code, but also since it uses the term “geek”, as I self-identify (to my wife’s chagrin. Sigh, non-geeks just don’t understand.)

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