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Meta living through vocabulary - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
Meta living through vocabulary
Is there a word for the feeling you get when you've done something really badly (and taken a ridiculously long time over it) and then the person you did it for praises you and/or expresses gratitude, quite sincerely, apparently without realising how hopelessly bad it is?

It's not just false modesty or pathological perfectionism: it's knowing what is possible, knowing how much better one could have done something ("could" in real-world, practical terms, rather than "could" in theoretical, "given infinite time and resources" terms), combined with a feeling of despair that the person to whom you're delivering/reporting on this thing doesn't know and/or doesn't care that it could be done several orders of magnitude better.

Also, is there a word for the lazy rhetorical device of broaching a subject with "Is there a word for..."?
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Comments
rysmiel From: rysmiel Date: April 30th, 2007 02:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
I would count that feeling under "scale error".
j4 From: j4 Date: April 30th, 2007 02:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmmm... I see what you mean, though I'm not sure it occupies the same place in my brain.

For me it's (at least tangentially) connected with the fear that everyone else isn't faking it; that is, it's a surprisingly-unwelcome-when-it-happens revelation that the people you thought you were accountable to are faking it even worse. If that makes sense.
chickenfeet2003 From: chickenfeet2003 Date: April 30th, 2007 02:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
It makes perfect sense. The sad thing is, some of them aren't faking it. They really are that useless.
chickenfeet2003 From: chickenfeet2003 Date: April 30th, 2007 02:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
There should be a word for it. I'm sure there is in German.
barnacle From: barnacle Date: April 30th, 2007 02:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
There's a phrase for it: "delivering a Reith lecture."
hatmandu From: hatmandu Date: April 30th, 2007 02:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Or, 'retiring as Prime Minister'
barnacle From: barnacle Date: April 30th, 2007 07:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, well done!
j4 From: j4 Date: April 30th, 2007 02:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't think I've ever heard/read a Reith lecture -- I fear the analogy's lost on me...
caramel_betty From: caramel_betty Date: April 30th, 2007 05:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
They're sort of supposed to be a wonderful chance for national and world experts to expound on a given topic of some importance. And it's done over a number of lectures, which gives them the opportunity to perhaps lay the foundations in the first lecture for something really thought-provoking and challenging in the others. But...

This year's are being done by Jeffrey Sachs. And, as far as they go, they've been sort of interesting. Here's the BBC's brief summary of the topic:
Professor Jeffrey Sachs argues that the world is in a period of turbulent transition and that the biggest challenges need to be navigated by broader and deeper global co-operation.
And that's basically all he's done. The world is complex, people need to rise to the challenge, here are a few examples from history where people rose to challenges (with occasional insight into how), and then... nothing.
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: April 30th, 2007 04:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
It may be that the recipient knows how bad you may think it to be, but has a set of comparators of such sheer awfulness that s/he reckons whatever you gave them has to be better. Or knows how much worse they would have performed themselves. Or is simply too tired to do anything other than the Very Polite Thing.

Rebecca West, in the book of hers I touted a while back, wrote that the tragedy of the scientist was that all jobs, and particularly experiments done to high degrees of skill and exactitude, were to some extent botched but that they could not, by the limits of their profession, take pride in a botched job, and that the tragedy of builders was that they *had* to take pride in botched jobs because all building work inevitably had snags and the buildings would have to be occupied nonetheless.

We live in an intractable world.

And so say all of us.
keirf From: keirf Date: April 30th, 2007 08:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's not as bad as the feeling you get when you know you've done something really well (and taken very litte time over it) and then the person you did it for tells you off for not doing it well enough or quickly enough.
cleanskies From: cleanskies Date: April 30th, 2007 10:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Working for local goverment.
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