Wanting to be better

In 1980, the scientist and author Isaac Asimov memorably commented on ignorance:

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.

Well, I am fairly sure that this isn’t restricted to the USA: my language skills are not sufficient for me to be able to comment on other cultures, but it seems fairly widespread in the anglophone world, and very much so in our hobby. This does not just apply to knowledge of the prototype – although that in itself is a big problem (witness the number of times you will see layouts praised  on forums [fora?]for being “operationally challenging”, when the prototype wants exactly the opposite) – but also to skills. I am all for encouraging people to post their efforts as they start to learn the craft, and there to be positive encouragement, but surely that also includes advice on how to redress such basics as learning to cut in a straight line, and how to make sure basic assemblies are square, rather than offering uncritical praise? We aren’t at pre-school: most of us are adults, and if not adults yet, then anyone reading this blog is possessed of enough self-awareness to realise that the drive to be better is a sign of a healthy human being.

Let me re-phrase the quote:

There is a cult of mediocrity in the hobby, and there has always been. The strain of anti-finescale has been a constant thread winding its way through our media and clubs, nurtured by the false notion that “fun” means that my “near enough is good enough” is just as good as your desire for accuracy.


3 thoughts on “Wanting to be better

  1. Simon Post author

    Yep. A rather nasty form of inverted snobbery. I haven’t seen any of the hobby’s best practitioners (which include you, Jim!) say anything other than, “Have a go, see how well you might do if only you pushed yourself.”
    Put another way, there is nothing elitist about the hobby’s “elite”!

  2. andym86

    I have always pushed myself in everything I do because I am curious to see how far I get. Sometimes it backfires but mostly I am pleasantly surprised. Am I elitist? I don’t believe so. My modelling time is running out for me so I don’t wish to waste it with people who don’t have similar goals or visions in the hobby.

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