There Are Also Unknown Unknowns.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Thanks to Rumsfeld for the post title.

(yeah, I'm here. Just finally decompressed after working a string of 12hr days under deadline for the past couple of weeks.)

Apart from answering email, I have managed to lurk here and there and I came across several posts that had me scratching my head. The sum of the arguments go something like this:

I'm [this age] or I've lived in this place for [this many years] and I've never used nor heard any of my friends/neighbours/family/associate/coworkers/talking pets/strange voices up in the attic, use [this phrase]. I went to school/work/slept with/sang in choir/parked next to/stood in line behind a person with [this name] and I've never seen it spelt [that way] I've taken a poll of everyone I know and they all agree with me too, therefore author in question doesn't know what the heck they're talking about. This is my formidable opinion, the author is wrong/incorrect and all you peeps in this comment thread saying that you have seen/heard/done what the author wrote are, well, [some clever wordplay follows which doesn't state emphatically, but implied deductively, that said peeps are lying liars that lie.]

Are you kidding me?

The summation of your considerable experience and knowledge (world's population as of February 14 2010: 698,000,000 and counting) equals = if you've never seen or heard a thing (till it showed up in author's stupid book) it doesn't exist and is wrong,wrong,wrong/stupid,stupid stupid.

Is that right?

Granted, it's a hot button *for you*, or it's grammatically incorrect (even though it's slang/colloquial), it's illegal, outdated and maybe even ridiculous. You're probably not going to get a lot of argument on any of those scores.

If you want to argue that the phrasing/word choice points to lazy characterization and/or lack of research, or a case of trying to hard to be original, or represents such a small percentage compared to the norm that it distracts from the story or requires more support withing the context of the world-building--you're probably making some very good points.

But putting aside the patently preposterous/impossible, and points of *fact*, never say never. You (general *you*) have not seen nor heard (or know) it all. Hot button, grammatically incorrect, illegal, stupid shit happens every day. Stuff *you've* never head or seen. The unknown unknowns that dwell in the land of fiction and the world of that fiction character. Roll with it.
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