I got this most interesting letter from a reader:
This is True and your “extra” commentary really exacerbates the conflict I have between my philosophies on the nature of people. This has especially come to light now, as I got behind in my reading of TRUE because I had been out of town A LOT lately. So, I read about 4 or 6 back issues and went to all the extra links, too. First, I have to say, you are a smart man who deserves recognition of your skill to keep the discussions relevant to the points being made. I would get so sidetracked and distracted with all the name calling and personal attacks. You are a big person. My philosophies that are in conflict with one another are whether people are idiots or people are not idiots. I see so much stupidity being perpetrated and perpetuated by people, I think to myself “people are idiots.” Then, I go read your writings and the postings of intelligent people who have responded to your expanded discussions and think to myself “there are a lot of people out there who are not idiots.” And so the battle rages on; one day people are idiots, the next day they are not. I guess reading TRUE and HeroicStories helps me keep the balance between sides, but now I am ever in a state of conflict. Do you have any suggestions on how to end this perpetual, personal, philosophical conflict? If so, would you share them? Thanks for the good work and keeping the pendulum somewhere close to the middle. –Brian, Colorado
Interesting observations, Brian. I could be flip and say most True readers are non-idiots, and most non-readers are idiots, but that would be too flip.
Your problem, I think, is being too general. Some people are indeed “idiots,” but most people aren’t. Luckily, there are indeed enough people doing idiotic things that I have never had a shortage of material, and the moment society makes something “idiot-proof” a bigger idiot steps into the picture.
But one can quite assuredly get a skewed picture of humanity looking only at the idiots, which is why I started HeroicStories in the first place: while True is (mostly) about dumb people doing dumb things, HS (as well as the Honorary Unsubscribe) is mostly about cool people doing cool things that enhance your life.
People are entertained by reading about people who are much dumber than themselves in True, and are enlightened, even inspired, by reading about how absolutely awesome people can be in HS.
That’s how I keep balanced, anyway!
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I spun HeroicStories off to a new publisher in early 2003, where it is still going strong. The Honorary Unsubscribe continues to be a well-loved feature in the True newsletters — it’s included in the Premium edition, and available with a click to the archive in the free edition.