Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Miscellaneous: Mouths on your fingertips

**Maybe this is the pain of today's dental appointment talking, but I am really angry right now. Swearing follows.

I belong to a Yahoo! email group for a special category of cooking. I get a lot of interesting ideas and support for my foodie endeavors, but every two or three years or so, I find myself needing to take a break from the group.

Not to sound condescending, but sometimes people are *really fucking stupid*. I'm getting that feeling again that I need to take a break from the group or I'm going to go off on somebody.

Imagine, if you will, someone asking the following question: "I want to make bread, but I don't have a bread machine... is it possible?" They honestly asked this question.

My reply, if I didn't have any regard for anyone's feelings, would go something like this:

"Of course it's not possible! When the pilgrims first came to this country, you know, bread machines were built of beechwood and powered by a combination of steam and combustion. Why, to lay your bare hands on raw dough would be unthinkable!"

I'm so glad I have the capability for self-censure. Otherwise I think there'd be a tiny 22 year old housewife (I'm assuming) in the city crying right now. I KNOW she's not from farm country, or she'd know better.

Sarcasm aside, do people even listen to what they write anymore? Don't they run it through their heads first? I remember seeing someone in (typed) chat on an MMORPG swearing a LOT when he got jumped by enemies. When someone called him on it, he typed, "When I get surprised like that, I can't help it, I just blurt it out."

Is that what it's come to... blurting through typing? Are our fingers turning into extensions of our mouths, and by the same token, our brains? Is all our communication just turning into one big stream of consciousness?

Or is it just that people don't care anymore... care about their appearance to the outside world when they communicate? They don't care about what they say, they don't care about how well they spell it, and they don't care if they offend anyone?

Even just going back to the cooking mailing list, I am mostly irritated because people don't even care if they're asking the *right* question to get an answer to what they really want to know.

The question shouldn't be "Can you freeze celery?" because of course you CAN. You can freeze ANYTHING. The question should be "Should I freeze celery if I want it to still be crunchy when it thaws?" or "Should I freeze celery if I don't want it to be a mushy pile of cellulose in a puddle of celery juice?" If your aim is to make a crudite platter, then no, you should NOT freeze celery. If you want to preserve celery to put in soups, stocks, or make a veggie smoothie (gack) then yeah, go right ahead.

We can't read minds, people.


  1. I think that many people don't care how they write much anymore. They feel they can express themselves without care of others, their feelings, saying things they wouldn't dare say if they were face-to-face. Blurting out on the keyboard, lame.

    Now, the lack of communication skills. Seriously there are people who ask questions like that because it's how they communicate in the real world. There are people who cannot formulate clear questions, or give understandable answers. Dealing with my MIL and husband has taught me this first hand.

    The art of communication is erroding and the modern technology has done nothing but exacerbate the situation. Plus, there are some less-than-intelligent people out there that might not think you can bake bread without a machine, or freeze celery without it exploding or something. People who don't know the "right" question to ask.

    Now whether you feel like directing someone with, "Can you be more detailed? Do you mean is it possible to bake good bread without a machine?" is one thing. After dealing, again, with my MIL, I just don't want to ask her anything ever.

    Spelling...OK, I can't spell so I have no comment. ;)

  2. The only reason I threw the spelling thing in there is because on the occasions I have corrected someone's spelling, they frequently reply that they don't care if they spelled it correctly or not, and then imply that I need to pull a stick out of my butt for correcting them. Yeah, maybe I'm uptight about spelling, and they can call me on it if they want, but to say they don't care is the part that blows my mind.

    Sometimes, "lazy" questions are a result of someone having NO practice at formulating a though, sometimes it's because they're ego-centric and think we should just KNOW what they mean, regardless, and sometimes in the case of loved ones it's because society perpetuates a myth that if you *really* love someone, you should know what they're feeling and thinking, and words shouldn't be necessary.

    And PS. your spelling is fine. :D

  3. "Because they're ego-centric and think we should just KNOW what they mean"

    Oh, that describes my mother-in-law and her son quite well. Plus, they're not the brightest tools in the shed either, which is a communication nightmare. They do not get the "love" pass...at all.

    I don't mind being corrected about grammar and spelling (trust me, I use the dictionary!) as long as they aren't mean-spirited about it. I'm self-(see, I don't know how to spell that word), especially about grammar.

    If I ever ask any lazy knitting questions, let me know! Can you knit a hat....with yarn?

  4. Well you could try knitting one from pasta... let me know how that goes! :P