June 10th, 2012


On faultfinding

Well, I guess you're all tired of hearing us worry and worry about Oreo, so today let's do something different. We recently spent a lot of time with a guy who is really into correcting people. Like one time we were discussing something, and I told a story that I felt illustrated his point. Instead of being like, "Yes, exactly!", first he had to say that the person in the story had an unhealthy attitude. That made me grumpy because the person in the story was our great great grandfather. But that's not the point. The point is, this guy is obsessed with correcting people.

It reminded me of an experience we had in college. I think it was our second year, but it might have been our first. A friend of ours sent us a link to a video that someone had posted on the internet (obviously, if there's a link); it was a project that person had done for his Japanese class, and he just decided to show it off, because I have to admit it was pretty cool. I don't remember it exactly, but it was basically an old school Final Fantasy battle with Japanese dialogue scripted in and recorded. So our friend sent us a link because we were all into Final Fantasy and Japanese and stuff, and it was kind of cool.

But instead of watching it and being like, "Wow, that's a pretty cool video he made there," we watched it and were determinedly horrified by the pronunciation. It probably wasn't all that bad, actually, but, as I said, we were determined. Or we were, until partway through the video (it was actually kind of long, I think), I realized that I was listening very carefully to find the mispronunciations, and I felt relieved any time I did.

See, we were the Japanese masters of our little group of friends, and we didn't want to admit that there was a non-native Japanese speaker out there who might *gasp!* actually speak Japanese better than us. So we were on the lookout to find any mistakes we could, because if we could identify a mistake, that meant we were better.

Frankly, it's a selfish way to be, and not even entirely accurate. For example, if I hear someone playing a hymn on the piano, and I hear them make a mistake, that doesn't mean I'm a better pianist--I'm only a better pianist if I can play the same hymn and not make that mistake. Or any others, because it's possible that I would nail that part of the hymn and mess up approximately everywhere else.

But the point is this: our theory is that when people point out mistakes, find faults, or generally refuse to like things, it's their way of (incorrectly, in most cases) asserting their superiority, because (and I know I have this problem) a lot of people think they're not worth anything unless they're the best, or at least better. I think it might be like Kagura in Fruits Basket. She was in love with Kyo specifically so she could have someone to look at and think, "At least I'm not as bad as him."

That being the case, I'm sure most of you have noticed that we like to correct things, too (Once Upon a Time, the Little Mermaid ride, World of Color...). I like to think that in most cases, it's because we care. We want to have an amazing, immersive Little Mermaid ride where Ariel looks like she does in the movie. But on the other hand, maybe the whole reason we still watch Once Upon A Time is to make sure they're still doing it wrong, thus boosting our own egos. (I don't think that's the case, but...)

There is still something to be said for constructive criticism. Athena often points out to me when I (frequently) type the wrong thing, so I don't embarrass myself by saying things like "I and told a story." But the main thing, which I always forget to ask myself because I'm not that nice a person, is will this criticism actually help things? Or am I just pointing out a mistake to assert my rightness?

And that's what we've been thinking about lately.

Today I'm thankful for our ride not forgetting us, getting Snickers bars from the bishop, having brownies to look forward to later, Reese's Chips Ahoy! being on sale last night, and not making any mistakes in retrieving the shot glass for our friend (we gave it to her today; she confirmed that it was the right glass with the right name spelling).