I think the fundamental problem with noisy people is not that they’re inconsiderate, but that they don’t have any train of thought to interrupt, and they thus don’t realize the havoc they’re wreaking.
When I was living in Providence, working on On Lisp, I told my loud but well-meaning neighbors that I was writing a hard computer book, and that made them be quiet. Ordinary people can understand that you need quiet if you’re working on some specific, hard task, like doing math homework. What they don’t grasp is that someone would want their mind to work that way all the time, as a matter of course.
* “The attention paid to terrorism in the U.S. is considerably out of proportion to the relative threat it presents. That’s especially true when it comes to Islamic-extremist terror. Of the 150,000 murders in the U.S. between 9/11 and the end of 2010, Islamic extremism accounted for fewer than three dozen.” My favorite annoying question when I hear people discussing the contemporary impact of terrorism is this: About how many Americans die in car accidents every year? If they don’t know the answer, they probably aren’t all that serious about evaluating real dangers and priorities. Sometimes it takes re-framing an issue to make sense of it.
If prominent feminist thinkers of the last century or so were to get together and design their composite “woman of tomorrow,” what would she be like?
Weirdly enough, she might look and act kind of like… um, Ke$ha.
* Alan Jacobs: “Ranking the Writers,” on how literary tastes change over time.