[FoRK] ego-surfing archiving of a Joshua Allen posting from 2001

Rohit Khare < khare at alumni.caltech.edu > on > Wed Jul 5 16:46:49 PDT 2006

So ego-surfing is a bad enough habit to indulge in, that I thought  
I'd set a new low by preserving disappearing links :)

As is typical of the ever-transient Web, software systems change. In  
June of this year, a bright fella named Josh Allen switched over to  
WordPress and it seems his old links stopped working (Hitting Reset  
on the Blog). So here's a five-year old post of his I came across  
almost at-random while searching for another ol' NeXTStep buddy,  
Scott Hess...

The most disappointing thing I can say about it is that it repeats  
the vile canard that I'm some how Marathi and Brahmin -- both things  
that my now-wife surely is and feels quite duped that I am not :) :)  
My family is from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh (the "Cow Belt") and  
comes from a long line of Srivastavas on both sides. Somehow it  
switched to Khare in the 20th century; I've never heard a reasonable  
explanation why...

It should be noted, though, that there's one very "-appointing" think  
I'd like to say about Josh's entry: it's beautifully recursive *and*  
subversive at the same time, by appealing to non-authority! --Rohit

 From Google' cache of http://www.netcrucible.com/blog/2001/03/10.html
Saturday, March 10, 2001
  Stupid Day: Relying on Pundits - Funny story: One day a reporter  
working on a book about "success secrets" approached Aristotle  
Onassis and asked him to offer some advice to others wishing to  
become as successful as Onassis. Onassis replied that he sure as heck  
didn't become successful by reading books about how other people got  
successful. In Kenya, women wear colorful dresses called "kanga" that  
have swahili proverbs woven in the cloth. One of the more popular  
proverbs is "Usisafirie nyota ya mwenzio", which means "Don't set  
sail using somebody else's star". The point of these little stories  
is that you shouldn't count on other people to show you the path to  
what you want. (The perspicacious reader may note that I am using  
reference to authority to tell you why you shouldn't refer to  
authority. But I am simply using the reference to authority to help  
the ideas sink in -- as Mark Twain once said, "people are more likely  
to believe what you say if you tell them that Ben Franklin said it  
first.") We all know why pundits claim to have all the answers, but  
why do people listen to the pundits? Long ago in India, people found  
that it was usually beneficial to listen to what a smart Brahmin had  
to say. Eventually, smart Brahmins became known as "pundits". One  
Konkanastha Brahmin, a certain Rohit Khare, qualifies for this  
definition of "pundit". He stays smart, so people listen to him.  
Another pundit who works hard to stay smart about his topics is Clay  
Shirky. But there are many pundits who put more energy into fostering  
the appearance of a smart Brahmin than they do into actually becoming  
smarter. How do you know who to trust? Rohit Khare has a few words to  
say about trusting what other people say, but the best bet is to  
never stop thinking for yourself. And be especially suspicious of the  
so-called movements that have conviently pre-packaged revolutionary  
and independent thoughts for you.


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