A few weeks ago, in response to my posting on YouTube a somewhat painstakingly and successfully achieved timelapse of a nocturnal cactus flower blooming, I got the following comment from a viewer whose username is 74mr in response to what he deemed my mistake in identifying the plant as a San Pedro cactus:
That cactus is not an Echinopsis or Trichocereus species, it is a Cereus specie. Tricho means hairy and cereus means candle, all Trichocereus flowers have hairy flower stalks, that is a way to ID them. That plant cannot be San Pedro.
Today, as part of Blogging.la’s collective effort in presenting the “Top 25 Greatest Dead Angelenos” an extensive post on one of my favorite of all-time film stars, Buster Keaton, went live after some pretty extensive effort on my part. Not long after I got the following comment from a fine fellow named Don (who came with me for the first 17 miles of my walk across Sunset Boulevard last February) who correctly noted I had incorrectly listed Keaton’s age as 69 when he died:
Umm, if Buster Keaton was born in 1895 and died in 1966, that makes him 70 when he died (well, 70 and a half if you want to get picky), not 69. Unless he did some relativistic travel sometime in the 1940s courtesy of Navy experiments with electromagnetism.
While I disputed 74mr’s robotic assertion of a mistake on my part, I had no such qualms about the factual gaff Don cheekily pointed out and repaired it immediately, explaining its source (“PBS: American Master,” no less) and thanking him for letting me know.
But how I interacted with the critics is not the point. The point is the reaction I’m having to both of them ignoring the overall result of my work and going straight to rather petty points of order. With my timelapse I captured a remarkable sight and did so somewhat by the seat of my proverbial pants not having done much previously in the way of extended timelapse capture. With the Keaton post I provided what I think is a pretty decent overview of his life and career, replete with rare photos, a video montage and a personal angle. Hell, I even snooped around and found an event tie-in at a local theater next month that will feature Buster Keaton’s first film appearance! But none of that mattered to these two. In both cases neither of these commenters could even be bothered to give me even the briefest benefit of an attaboy before zooming in for the neener.
Please don’t mistake this as whimpering that I’m not getting the credit I think I deserve. Pffft. I’m not hungering for validation. But what I am hungering for is insight into what is it that’s allowing this type of nerdish tactlessness toseemingly be more acceptable? What’s happened where it’s more and more OK to be so narrow and unaware? Is it the internut? Absentee fathers? Nutrasweet? Duh-bya?
These two examples certainly do not a trend make, but if by chance the days of “Good job, but…” are going going gone I’ll try to get over it, but it’s gonna take awhile and in the meantime I’ll still be an active proprietor of politeness and encouragement. But I can’t guarantee I won’t be triply tactless in response to any future incidents of inconsideration.