Meeting your idol

This is too weird! My twenty-something-age-idol mentioned me in Twitter. It all started out when I was flipping through my Twitter feed and my eye caught a funny tweet by Lotta. She felt hip knowing Bieber and Beliebers pass the age of the normal suspects – but when asked couldn’t mention any songs. Then someone explained that the oh-baby-baby-song is Bieber’s. Based on the unique description of lyrics, I thought I’d been dancing to it lately during my dance lessons. (But it was Usher’s Scream, apparently very hip too.) And then my idol comes in and comments the chords, C-Am7-F-G. O.M.G.

Although I haven’t been following her music lately, I should confess that Maija Vilkkumaa is still my idol. Back in the days, she was one of the rock stars writing lyrics, composing, and completely rocking in Finnish, and as a result start a whole new genre. Super hip! She seems to do what she enjoys, which I always seem to respect.

Getting the kicks of her commenting something I was attached to (sounds so lame here), I thought of idoling. There is a saying about idols by Kirsi Piha (yet one idol of mine): Never meet your idol(s) because it might turn out that they are jerks despite all the inspiring stuff they created / wrote / composed / said / played etc. Before, I was extremely cautious to meet my idols. Also in the academia from my field, although It’d be possible as most of the people who inspire me academically are actually alive (unlike in Ancient philosophy). Yet, I stayed further away only enjoying their wisdom from the distance.

Why I feared my (academic) idols might turn out to be douchebags? We are all humans and occasionally humans are also irritating, right? At times, I’m also annoying, right? But that’s it, I thought my idols are somehow above me and my standards. I was allowed to be irritating but my idols weren’t. After all, they created something I was inspired by and seeing them as humans would have endangered my inspiration.

When I started teaching one of my first fears was that someone hates me. Then even a bigger fear emerged: What if someone thinks I’m very smart and then comes to talk to me and realises I’m a douchebag. And this is when I felt released from fears of meeting my idols: We are not perfect and that’s absolutely great.

Nowadays, I’m more willing to face my idols. Yet, it’s hard to figure out what to say. Should I confess that they are my idols? ‘Hello Ms. Villkumaa. You really rocked then and you rock now. Back on the days, we formed an air band every time we heard your song, no mater where we were. Usually I played the air drums. What’s up?’

Duct tape news

News are said to become shallow. No wonder when we consider the way average reader spends time reading one article, not to mention the cuts in newspaper staff. Sacking journalists is due to the decline in orders for printed newspapers. Orders are expected to decline more as electronic publications conquer the domain.

For some time I have managed to not to read a newspaper every morning. To some this is a disgrace. For me it has been an attempt to clear some capacity for my Phd study. It really takes drastic measures to avoid procrastination.

I have not totally left following the world. Instead, I have focused my little leftover energy on following news weekly via one or two magazines. They have interesting longer stories and articles, which to me seem more rewarding to read.

To me keeping up with my field social entrepreneurship and related topics has benefited from Twitter and other social media. As a junior expert I consider already having some capacity to interpret 140 characters of information and turn it into relevant knowledge.

And that’s the trick: it is harder to be a critical reader of a topic new to me. Thus, I need more relevant information. In a quality magazine this is done for me by someone hopefully following the ethical guidelines of journalism. Again, when familiarising with news related to my field, I can evaluate the argument better alone.

Despite the fact I miss terribly the smell of a morning paper and the physical event of taking time for reading over a table, currently I have prioritised other things over this practice. I feel sad for the newspaper industry as I really like the idea of reading a paper version daily. And I can see the benefits of someone having to at least skim topics one otherwise wouldn’t. I wonder if my magazine reading will do open up my horizons enough?

Then there is the industry of news: one sentence from a PhD study is sad. But this is what happened: I heard news over the radio and results from one study were dealt in one sentence. If my PhD study ever gets to the radio news, that’ll probably be my treatment as well. One sentence. We were joking with a colleague that the use of duct tape might give us a second sentence: “Interestingly, the results were gained by using duct tape.”
Am I as the producer of new knowledge contributing to the fast information? I would prefer increasing the amount of slow news and perhaps then knowledge.