Perth Now sportswriter Graham Cornes led his defense of a departing Australian rules football executive with the words of America’s most quotable sf writer:
“YOU are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.”
So wrote famed American writer Harlan Ellison. It is unlikely that he has ever heard of Steven Trigg and the Adelaide Football Club, but his words are so appropriate for those who are quick to savage the departing Adelaide chief executive.
Just more proof of sf’s acceptance by the mainstream. It wasn’t always so. Sportswriters once limited their literary references to Shakespeare and the Bible. Grantland Rice dipped into scripture for his famous allusion to “the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.” But if he might have quoted Johnny Weissmuller (the Olympic swimmer who became Tarzan) he wouldn’t have been caught dead quoting Edgar Rice Burroughs.
I so disagree with that twerp Ellison. If your opinion devolves from questions of personal taste, the ignorance does not come into it.
@ Graham Charnock: That “twerp” you are referring to happens to be one of the finest American writers ever to take up a pen in hand. CLEARLY you misunderstood the meaning of what Mr. Ellison was trying to impart;mainly that if you and your opinion are ill informed, you label yourself an idiot and opening your mouth to express it not only confirms it, it also diminishes ANY chance for redemption down the road. It’s also a disservice to the person you may be trying to “set straight”, which I regard as far larger social crime.
Famous personages who have ignored this sage advice include Texas governor Rick Perry, actress Jenny McCarthy and any number of news commentators on Fox News.
My advice to you is, don’t be THAT GUY.
Being (or having been) a fine writer and being a twerp are not mutually exclusive.
I can think of multiple examples.
@ Morris Keesan: Since I have known Mr. Ellison personally (since 1976), I will personally testify that HE is NOT a twerp. Your mileage, however, may vary.
When someone comes out of the blue and calls a friend or an acquaintance of mine a “twerp”, in public or online, there will be blowback.
Doesn’t everyone love to make sport of Harlan Ellison?
I like Ellison’s work, have a lot of it on my shelves and I know often his views collide with mine. And I don’t buy a lot of his autobiographical stories as “true fact”.
Often some ignorant people are happy with their limited knowledge. Cases in point.
Mr. Charnock: While my personal exposure to Harlan Ellison is much more limited than Mr. Barkley’s (and I admit, always personally exciting), I certainly never noted in him anything which would cause me to think him a twerp. Excited and excitable, yes; dynamic, yes, hyperactive in part, yes. Certain of his own intelligence and taste and unafraid to show them, yes. Loyal to friends of great length such as Ray Bradbury and Robert Silverberg, yes. Never, ever a “twerp”.
And, as it unfortunately took me far too long to learn, not being “THAT GUY” is always a good idea.
As Mr. Keesan noted, YMMV and all that, of course.
From Ellison’s own writings, I find him difficult to the impatient.