Monday, March 24, 2014

11 Laws of the Crank

1. If you have an axe to grind and you grind it, you will eventually be seen as a crank*.
2. If you demonstrate enthusiasm in any intellectual cause other than some self or immediate practical community interest, you risk being seen as a crank*.
3. If you are learned but don't sufficiently cite or defer to the canonical script for your discipline when expressing your novel ideas, you will be labelled as a crank*.
4. If a researcher has some good ideas amongst those which render them labelled a crank, you will be seen as a crank if you quote them (even the very good bits.)
5. If you admire someone who is insightful and who has cited the better ideas of someone who is otherwise considered a crank, you mustn't quote them except to disparage them and dissociate yourself or you too will be tainted as a crank.
6. It does not count as an informal fallacy to criticize the ideas of a crank by alluding to their character.
7. Pejoratives suffice as critiques when it comes to the writings of those who are rightly or wrongly considered cranks.
8. If you quote someone who works from a rival interpretation of your discipline, you will come to be distrusted.
9. If you quote from outside your discipline, you will be seen as a crank* **
10. If you earnestly try to change anything for the better, you will be labelled as a crank (but beaten down as an upstart)*.
11. If any of your questions cast doubt on the latest iteration of the myth of the divine right of kings (narratives that sustain various types of social authority), you will be swiftly marginalized, one way or another.

*unless you have at least 2 or more of the following:

A. A personal gravity that comes from an astounding sense of entitlement
B. Brilliant PR skills (i.e., the makings of a good con artist)
C. A wealthy and powerful backer

** unless you are an established pulp news pundit, in which case you can quote or misquote anyone you like to support your position

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