How to be an expert

I thought this story was hilarious. It’s via Best of the Web.

About Joanne


  1. That was my much-needed laugh for the day. Boy, that guy has a lot of nerve!

  2. That would take real guts. OTOH, maybe by reading out of a textbook, Richardson actually taught them something!

  3. Anne,

    Valdez must have been a good textbook writer. Otherwise, this stunt would have been impossible to pull off.

    Or did the Chinese accept anything from a distant foreign land as “inscrutable”* wisdom, even though it was gaijin** garbage? I hope that wasn’t the case.

    Anyone want to take over my classes for a week? The Matthew Richardsons of the world don’t grow on trees. His “real guts,” as you put it, could serve him well in a future profession. (I’m just hoping he doesn’t decide to make a living out of bluffing!)

    *I guess that word hasn’t been banned in the UK yet. It’s Racist ™ with a capital “r.” At least it wasn’t placed next to “Oriental” … oops! Oh please, PC police, spare me … I AM Asian, so I have the right to use offensive epithets towards my own people!

    **外人 “Gaijin” is a Japanese term, but its pieces (外 gai = “outside,” 人 jin = person) are of Chinese origin. I couldn’t resist the opportunity for alliteration, though. Ah, here’s a hemi-Mandarin phrase I could have used instead: “waiguoren waste.” (外國人 waiguoren = “foreigner”; 外 wai = “outside,” 國 guo = “country,” 人 ren = “person”). I’m quite serious about this phenomenon, for I’ve seen it in reverse when Westerners eat up Asian rubbish, thinking it’s somehow “profound” because of its foreign source.

  4. Wacky Hermit says:

    They say an expert is defined as “someone who has read two books on a subject and can quote from both of them.”

  5. wow…that’s like a nightmare of mine – getting called up to speak to a group and finding I actually know nothing about what I am supposed to speak on.

    guy has guts, that’s for sure. I couldn’t have done it, I would have cracked in the first five minutes.

  6. Steve LaBonne says:

    Sounds like some of the “hired-liar” defense experts that some of my forensic colleagues have encountered. That career requires a similar degree of brass.

  7. I think it’s wonderful that an audience actually learned from a textbook. But what this really shows is just how low the expectations are for conferences.

    The few I’ve attended (in the education and librarianship fields) had such hideous drivel offered as wisdom that I really envied those participants who knew where the nearest bars were. I’m sure even Chinese professionals would love to see an enthusiastic speaker actually trying to teach them something, as opposed to some professional padding a resume.