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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Arrímate a los buenos

I used to think I needed to be the best scholar in my field. I could be the leading scholar of Spanish poetry, or the leading specialist in Lorca. The one flaw in that logic is that all it takes is a single person who is better, and you won't achieve that goal. At most, you can be the world's greatest authority on a very minor subset of a subfield, but then what is the point of that? At that point you are best of a group of 1.

A better strategy is to be one of a group of good scholars that everyone recognizes, more or less. You can compete good-naturedly with others in the group, but once you are in you are part of it and don't have to worry about whether you are number 4 or number 15.

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