Negative Astronomer Attitudes, All too Common... Aug 1, 2004 12:22:28 GMT -6
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Aug 1, 2004 12:22:28 GMT -6
The bad Element of Amateur Astronomy
An observation to share with you all...
Why is it that most astronomers possess this negative attitude or need to feel superior to others? Many a time I have observed and have personally experienced the smarmy and condescending interaction of these individuals exhibit to the public, and especially amongst themselves.
Sometimes to be polite or genuinely interested in the specs in a scope, I'll approach the yet unknown astronomer to ask questions or share experiences. I'll often either be ignored, talked down to or "dazzled" by their terminology, when all I wanted to know what was the mm of the eyepiece they were using. They will engage in dialog befitting a 3rd grader and attempt to impress by utilizing "big" astronomical terminologies. When I then confidently display cognizance and knowledge of astronomy, they change from an attitude of all-knowing to becoming threatened and upping the ante to discussing some obscure reference to string theory. I often refuse to play along as this oneupmanship game gets tired quick. It clearly displays insecurity and a need to overcompensate.
Heaven forbid if you refer to their precious scope as a 6" if it's an 8"! Or mention an upcoming astronomical event, as they have either seen it before or it is no longer of any interest to them - an activity of novices. Or they attempt to downplay my equipment and of others by boasting of high-tech equipment, palm-pilot interface and expensive Baader filters. Nice toys to have but it doesn't diminish my experience one iota.
I rather enjoy the conversations with the public and learn something from the interaction. Instead of being bothered and annoyed, I am rather pleased of the interest they exhibit and it's quite a kick to show them their first views through a telescope and watch the reaction it provides.
Now, don't get me wrong. I have met pleasant and helpful astronomers in my activities. All too eager to assist in my needs or share willingly of their equipment, experience and time. Many of you are here as members of the Chicago Astronomer or readers of the Newsletter...but that's the exception. The others would just as enjoy throwing my scope into the lake.
Organizations, groups, societies and gatherings are all too infiltrated by these sad individuals. I try my best to avoid them as best I can, as any negativity that I can purge from my life and keep at bay can do only good for me, my friends and associates.
Listen, my advice is to stay the hell home if polite interaction with the public bothers you so much. The childish attitudes impresses no one, but I guess a child can't help what he is.