Tuesday, 12 June 2012

in praise of the rant...

...this morning, Dan Pfaff asked "what's up with the rants?", referring to my blog, apparently (probably the 'sorry, idiot' one)...
He compared me - unfavorably, I think - to a pretty prominent blogger who seems to write nothing but rants (I have since checked, and Dan is correct)...
I take his point, and, although there is a lot of stuff out there that annoys me, I'm sure that this blog would die a quick and bloody death if that's all I wrote about. 
On the drive back from the track today with Steve Lewis, we were discussing the fact that there are far too many folks out there who do little more than complain, but have nothing positive as an alternative. 
Generally, it's important for anyone, I feel, that when they complain, they have a viable option to said complaint; and that's what I will hopefully get across in any critical posts. 
First though - getting back to Dan's comment - is it actually a negative thing - a "rant"?
Webster's defines a rant as "to speak or write in an angry or violent manner" or to "utter or express with violence or extravagance". 
To me, a rant basically means to get something off your chest - something that may or may not be bothering you; unburdening yourself, confessing something, or making a complaint.  And that isn't necessarily a bad thing, is it? 

I know the British have a reputation as enjoying a 'good moan'; and admittedly, it's one of the things that I have had a hard time getting used to since moving back here two years ago. We seem to enjoy the process of complaint for no other reason than to complain. But isn't complaint a necessary vehicle to change?  If a complaint actually has a viable alternative to whatever it is being complained about, isn't this a positive thing? If nobody complains, then everything will stay the same...
In this way, I think 'moaning' or 'groaning' can be differentiated from 'complaining'. A moan is a moan. A complaint offers an alternative. A complaint is saying that there is something wrong with the system, and it needs improvement (i.e. frozen yogurt being marketed as a 'health food'). 
Pretty much exactly what many blogs are, no?
I started this blog (as well as my weekly  500word one) for a couple of reasons:
Number one, I think I have something to say that some other people may find informative or interesting. Writing a blog can - hopefully - communicate this something in a quick and efficient manner to a whole heap of people. 
More selfishly, blogging forces me to write down my thoughts; which leads to deeper and better understanding - whether it be something technical on sport, coaching, or nutrition, etc., or something much more personal; either way, better understanding is a good thing. It forces me to have conviction in my opinion. My thoughts are right here - in black and white - I cannot be wishy washy, as once it's in the public space (blogosphere), I know that it has to be defensible. 
It forces me to get over any fears I may have. It's like public speaking - the only way to get better at it - to conquer the fear - is by doing it. I'm sure I will eventually say something stupid, that someone else reads, and says "sorry...but you're an idiot" to me.  
But that's cool. I welcome it. Because its not really the point, is it?
To paraphrase philosopher Alexander Nehemas, I started this blog  because I wanted to be able to talk about many, many things, ideally with knowledge, but sometimes not quite the amount of knowledge that I would need if I were to be a specialist in them. It allows me to be many different things. And plurality and complexity are very, very important to me. 

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