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Suggestive Social Science?!

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“But if you’re like most people—and social science suggests that you and I are like most people—…”

The Timely Science of Successful Resolutions
—Daniel H. Pink (WSJ 12/30-31/2017 C1)

Say what?! Social science suggests what??!

Back up and run that by me again. Social science suggests that I am like most people?

Can Mr. Pink give me a footnote on that? As in, if you’re going to call your ideas about resolutions “science” and if you’re going to make sure I know you’re citing a scientific fact gleaned from the research work of social “science,” could you maybe give me a clue on where I can find out where social scientists were actually so bored about things to study that they actually did some research into whether I am like most people? And not only that, but that they weren’t really sure: despite all the government grants they could summon up, they simply couldn’t decide the question to any degree of certainty that might actually permit them to prove their conclusion, rather could only “suggest,” as in, I might or might not be like most people, we’re not really certain, so we’ll suggest. Because I must not be like most people on this: I don’t believe social science ever actually made such a claim, even as a suggestion.

What’s rather annoying here is: why interrupt a perfectly good cliché? If you want to show off how weak your theme is by launching it out with a meaningless stereotype that moves the topic in no useful direction, stopping mid-sentence to pretend to dress up your cliché with a piece of pseudo-fact that is irrelevant to your subject matter only muddies your message, if you ever had one in mind. I guess I must not be like most people on this: I only appreciate a good cliché if it’s transformed into a new gem, not if it’s tangled into nonsense in an attempt to conceal sloppy writing.

And I’m really not like most people: most people don’t read the Wall Street Journal. And most people who do read the Wall Street Journal would not have wasted the time to read this weekend article. And most people who did read it would not have taken notice of how clichéd and unscientific and irrelevant and downright silly and really sloppy the writing has become on some of the WSJ’s pages. And most people who might have realized that fact (suggestion?) would not have wasted the time to write down something such as this blog post about it.

So, I’m like how many people? Could be maybe one, two at most? You might be one, if you read this post this far. So then, I might not be like most people, but at least perhaps I have a bit of you in me.

Here, let’s close with a quote from a master who knew how to turn a cliché into pure living art:

“Well, I try my best
To be just like I am
But everybody wants you
To be just like them”

Maggie’s Farm —Bob Dylan

//] - quotated

Written by macheide

30 December 2017 at 11:35 am

Posted in quotated

Tagged with ,


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