Monday, 21 December 2015

On ‘talking shop’ at parties

Just in time for the summer season, the perfectly-named Ryan Holiday wants to give you a heads-up about parties. He quotes Jack London:
“It’s absurd and unfair,” says Jack London’s title character in Martin Eden, “this objection to talking shop. For what reason under the sun do men and women come together if not for the exchange of the best that is in them? And the best that is in them is what they are interested in, the thing by which they make their living, the thing they’ve specialised on and sat up days and nights over, and even dreamed about.”
Mind you, that means you need to actually like the shop you’ve specialised in. Which most people don’t, to their shame. Still…
One of my least favourite things ever is when someone gets a bunch of smart people together…in a noisy bar where no one can hear anything. Or has a party with interesting, awesome guests….and then hires some crappy band to play and makes conversation impossible. But the worst is when a group of adults, comes together and some controlling moron decides that the best thing to do is to treat them like children—forcing them to play silly games and icebreakers.
    What a waste.
    Let me tell you about my dream outing: Smart people get together in a quiet restaurant and talk for several hours about things that interest them. They talk about work, what they’re good at, what they’ve been reading about or thinking recently and all of them leave provoked, inspired and with some new ideas and perspectives.
    Unfortunately, most get-togethers aren’t like this. Usually because some idiot is afraid of what might happen in an authentic, unprompted exchange.
Smart people getting together in a quiet place and talking for several hours about things that interest them.

What a great idea for a party!

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