Monday, November 17, 2014


When I was running Chowhound, I was forced to limit my accessibility because I was busy, not because I was important. There were too many people trying to occupy my limited time and attention, and I had no choice but to take countermeasures if I was to get anything done besides engaging with strangers.

The moment I left Chowhound, I dropped my deflector screens with considerable relief. The "send me email" link at the upper left of this screen has been there since day one (though it doesn't link to my personal email address). Of course, a few errant haters use the open channel to fling profanity-laced screeds my way, but I long ago came to recognize these as offerings of love from people too twisted to love in healthier ways (it's the thought that counts!). But, all in all, free accessibility is a much more enjoyable way to live. And lots of people way better-known than I ever was feel the same.

This is why it cracks me up to see non-inundated people limiting their access as a pretense. Limited access is not natural; it's not fun. It's a prison people relegate themselves to when the sunny freedom of the public world sadly becomes a pleasure which circumstance no longer allows them to enjoy. Choosing to inhabit that prison just so one can project importance is as crazy as chopping off one's leg to garner sympathy (and people actually do that).

The pretense is rarely recognized. The public doesn't think twice when someone they've heard of turns out to be inaccessible. We expect such people to be arrogant, aloof, and generally out of our spheres. We think these things come with the territory, but they really don't. As I once wrote:
Like most people, I always assumed arrogance was the inevitable trait of smart, accomplished, distinguished, successful people. After all, why wouldn't superiority be palpable?

But I kept meeting really smart, accomplished, distinguished, successful people who weren't arrogant. Nor were they falsely modest (which is just another sort of arrogance). They were just....people.

If arrogance isn't inevitable, then it must be strictly elective. People actually choose to act this way! And ever since I realized this, I've found arrogance hysterically funny.

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