Friday, February 02, 2007

Jerks in seminars

Incoherent ponderer ponders about the jerks -- he says, " it is ALWAYS a guy by the way" -- who ask arrogant (and sometimes, stupid) questions in an authoritative tone during seminars. I'm sure you have seen some of them; I certainly have, and I cringe everytime I think about any of them. The rest of their personality doesn't matter; it's just this one ugly facet that stays with me, and reminds me not to have anything at all to do with them. Oh, of course, the jerks I have seen in action are also guys. Always.

From the many interesting anecdotes in 'Ponderer's post, let me just quote one for the interesting way in which a jerk was put in his place by the speaker:

I know another annoying "jerk" person - this time within our own department. Last year a speaker showed a movie shot in real time of some cool process, and he raised his hand to say: "this cannot be! It should be 1,000 times slower". When the speaker conceded at first "maybe you are right", he answered "take it for granted, I am always right". Everyone laughed assuming it was a joke, except I was watching his face when he said it and it clearly wasn't a joke - he was dead serious. To my delight the speaker then responded: "You know, now that I think about it, you may be wrong after all. Let's watch the movie again". After the movie was over, and the "jerk" guy tried to make some other randomly jerky point, the speaker [interrupted] him with "let's watch the movie again". And after a third review was over, he says "You know, let's watch it just one more time". Followed by "Any more questions?" I was [applauding] very loudly and was nearly jumping up and down in triumph. For that moment I wanted to be that presenter guy.