Thursday, November 09, 2006

the boy detective fails

We will not be talking here on this blog about how my talk went yesterday. Suffice it to say that it did not go very well, for reasons that are entirely my fault. If one is going to present a complicated argument on a controversial topic, one needs to do a far, far, far-far-far-far-far better job of making one's argument clear than what I did. I could go on, but I will not. Various people on various fronts who have grounds to say I told you so can, indeed, say I told you so. I invite them to forgo doing this. Likewise, I invite those who know me personally and read this blog and might be prompted to ask, "So, did it really not go well, or are you just saying that?" to give me the benefit of the doubt and not actually ask this.

I do not want to sound melodramatic. I did not, I don't think, come across like a complete idiot. I just failed utterly to convey the argument that I wanted to convey, which, being someone who on occasional occasions actually does succeed in giving a clear and perhaps even interesting talk, is disappointing.

In any case, I did get useful feedback from a smart audience, and so from the intellectual standpoint of helping the paper, the experience was worthwhile.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

so you didn't fail yet, Jeremy. You only failed to convey the point at the talk. But you can still convince people when you publish your paper, since you'll be able to present all the nuances of the argument.
Don't give up.

Absolut said...

Very sorry to hear this. Fortunately, when you have a strong enough reputation, it's not possible to erase it in just one talk so don't give yourself too hard a time. And after all, not that much was riding on this talk!

Anonymous said...

Be strong, boy detective! Chin up. It's almost Thanksgiving. And that means lots and lots of stuffing to remind you that there is still good in this world.
-TOK

Lucy said...

I'm sorry it was disappointing, but the other commenters have good points. The boy detective will ride again!

Anonymous said...

I think as long as your talk didn't involve any bodily fluids (including, but not limited to tears) being released by or hurled at you, your career is still intact.

Fabio said...

Jeremy - could you tell us exactly what your talk was about? I am curious, but I haven't been able to deduce the topic of your talk from your post.

Anonymous said...

As someone who was actually at the talk, I don't think that anyone in the room thinks you're an idiot. I think the problem is at least partly pedagogical: how do you introduce some of the concepts to an audience that may not be familiar with them? In respecting your wishes, I don't want to delve deeply into specifics, but ... Here's one example. I don't think you defined heritability at the outset of the talk, and I was immediately confused about what heritability meant in the context of achieved statuses that were not embodied.

And I hope you appreciate the irony of Anonymous 3:17's line about releasing bodily fluids in the talk. I was certainly amused.

A+ said...

If it meant big problems for one's career every time a sociologist didn't get a point across clearly, there wouldn't be any of us left. At any rate, you tried. That's noble. Plus, next time, you'll do better.

jeremy said...

Absolut, Lucy, others: Thanks.

Fabio: The talk was titled "Genetics and Analytic Social Science" and is about genes as causes of individual outcomes of social science interest.

Anon, 6:01pm: Thanks. Believe me, I have spent much time reflecting on the pedagogical failures of that talk, with a mind toward how it could be improved were I to give it again. I think problems like that would have revealed themselves to me beforehand if I had, say, practiced the talk.

Anonymous said...

Practice. Something to do next time insomnia strikes (I'm sure the talk wasn't so bad).