Friday, March 13, 2015

Paul Krugman Has Me Pegged

Paul Krugman has me pegged. In the following excerpt from his blog, he's referring to someone else, but I see me all over it.
There's a big difference between just being clever in general and being a guy who really knows what he's talking about...
What matters is a large investment of time and hard thinking -- and also a lot of reading of what other smart people have said, not to mention economic history. Sorry, but just being a clever, facile writer doesn't cut it -- and imagining that you can just brazen it out in this arena is a recipe for serious embarrassment.
Source: Paul Krugman.

The first time I learned this lesson was in college. I had been used to getting good grades just by being able to write a good essay -- you know, introduction, thesis, supporting arguments, conclusion that restates the thesis. Then, to meet degree requirements, I was forced to take a class way outside my major field. I chose "Intro to Theater." It required attending a half dozen plays and writing critical reviews. No sweat, right? Watch a play, crank out a logical piece of writing, get my grade.

Well, it turned out to be a lot harder than that. The professor expected us to make a "large investment of time and hard thinking -- and also a lot of reading of what other smart people have said" about drama, as Paul Krugman says. Just being a clever, facile writer wasn't going to cut it. I didn't make Theater and Drama my major, but that lesson from that one introductory class has stayed with me all these years. I may not always show it, but I recognize that I'm no expert on many of the subjects I write about here -- local government, urban planning, literary criticism and all those other areas I can't keep quiet about. I admire those who are experts, the Paul Krugmans of the world, and try to learn from them as much as possible. Really I do. But he still has be pegged.

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