Continue reading "This Week in Photography Books: Barbara Diener"
Nobody likes a know-it-all. It’s the reason some people hated Barack Obama so much. (Including my own aunts and uncles.) Obama was so confident in his intelligence, so suave in his mojo, that he never really thought to mask either. Some people, insecure though they may be, find that sort of attitude arrogant, and the use of mental acumen as “professorial.” (Despite the fact that being a professor is a high-status job, the term is normally used as a pejorative.) Arsene Wenger, the legendary Arsenal soccer coach, who stepped down recently after 22 years, (it wasn’t voluntary,) was painted with the same brush. With his oversized glasses, big 90’s suits, and weird Gallic accent, he was an easy target. (I still maintain that Sacha Baron Cohen imitated Arsene in “Talladega Nights.”) Beyond the perception of arrogance, the other main irritant is that people don’t like being “lectured.” It’s a subset of reality that people don’t like to be told what to do in general, but they hate being “lectured.” In college, a lecture is a positive experience. It’s where you go to learn, and hang out with friends and colleagues. Lectures are where we build community. As an opinion columnist, (and long-time professor,) I’m always in that place; trying to inform, but not lecture you or get preachy. It’s always best to stop before enough is too much, but knowing there’s a line, and then trying to find it, is tricky. I try to keep the direct-admonitions and from-on-high-proclamations to a minimum, but I don’t avoid them. Today, for instance, I want to go back to that word: community. It’s something many of us crave, and it needs to be watered and nourished when it does spring into being. But man, getting people