Friday, 4 March 2011


...suppose they could be WikiPiedia...


Here's an impartial view, passed on to me, from a woman:-

“Wiki Man seems great, just my kind of debater! there are many people who run a mile faced with an intellectual challenge - i personally love the game :) Nice Etoile got her knickers in a right twist and he played her like a harp! my husband shares that exact same sense of humour come to think of it...”


I'm sorry to hear that some people have been upset by my enthusiasm for discussion and argument, probably taking a disagreement about ideas as personal criticism of them. It's a pity they didn't raise it with me and it might have been resolved.

A friend here in Nice said that almost the first thing I said to him was: “That's not true” :-) – being mature and secure in his self-confidence, his reaction, he told me later, was to think: “Well, that's interesting” and we went on to discuss a range of things amicably for some time.

Last night he introduced me to a friend of his who he said was intelligent, well-informed and that he would give me a good argument. He is and he did and we had some strong disagreements, e.g. about Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, but we also had some points of close agreement, e.g. liking the film Cabaret and not liking most recent art. Our chat was very wide-ranging and amicable, like many discussions I have had in Nice.


Knowing nothing about my teaching NE assumes it must have been almost dictatorial. In fact when I left the university emails from many ex-students were all positive, typical were:

Thanks loads for the oasis of sense in a desert of postmodern waffle


Congratulations Wiki Man. Sounds like an excellent move.

Please keep in touch, it's not everyday a student finds a tutor who actually cares about education, inspiring young minds and developing potential.


Hey Wiki Man,

Good to hear you're shipping out to France, you're right we should all do that. … Well I hope you take good memories with you, and the knowledge that you inspired and challenged many many students.


I think of you and your advice often ... your influence made me the thinking person I am. 


Wiki Man,

Good luck to you and your life full of new horizons. You did a lot for *** which many people will never forget... you asked us all to question the things that usually we just go along with, to go out there and find the answers for ourselves and not take someone's opinion as a truth. For this i thank you.

Take care.


Maybe NE could at least have the decency to admit her assumption about my approach to education was wrong.


Even after she actually acknowledged that the two previous long comments of mine (just for example - amongst others) had no cut and paste, she blithely returned to the lie that that's all I do in replying to Sonia:

“Trouble is, Sonia, Wiki Man doesn't do 'good debate'. He posts long paragraphs from Wikipedia and then says 'discuss'. But he's presenting everything as a kind of fact, a bottom line, meaning 'this is how it is'.

If you DO deign to put forward some kind of argument against what he's copied and pasted he'll just come up with some other chunk of other people's conclusions.”

It's patently false that that's all I do (this is yet another example that it's not true) and rather insulting to Sonia and other readers to present them with such an obvious lie. 

In fact if you look back to the beginning of this thread my opening comment had no quotations. Chloe was the first to add a reference to something on wikipedia and spoke about imagining 9 or 10 dimensions. I recalled that string theory involved 11 dimensions, checked it and added a quotation and link to wikipedia.


I tended be the one in my year who argued most with our philosophy lecturers, no mean debaters. When we had a new head of school at university who was a bully, I was appalled at how easily some senior staff caved in to him. When he tried picking on me I fought back. In the end he relented and said; “You're like me, you're a fighter.”


NE is convinced I must be sexist. Chloe, who knows me far better and for far longer, tells NE that I'm not. Clearly Chloe must be mistaken. Chloe invited me to lunch the other day with a female friend of hers – would she really have done this (not for the first time), after knowing me for years, if I were really “boorish” and “sexist “? It's insulting to Chloe's intelligence to imply that she would. NE conveniently ignored the recent response of a female friend here: “It's always fun to argue with you Wiki Man”. But NE, as usual, thinks she knows better. Is it possible that this kind of attitude might have provoked me to be even more critical of her views in the first place ?

Now, NE, why don't you just stop embarrassing yourself and everybody else ? Comfort yourself that you're leaving the area, you'll get over it in time and apparently you have enough people who admire your wit and erudition to sustain your considerable if rather insecure self-esteem :-)



[NOTE: In another rant on the Facebook thread, Wiki Man had accused me of 'learning at the Goebbels school of discussion'.  Always good to throw around the Nazi insults...]

Excellent idea to post your testimonials. I now accept I have been completely mistaken in thinking that you merely copy and paste from Wikipedia. Hadn't realized that as well as painting the walls, you also pasted wallpaper. (Is the wallpaper your own design???)

Anyway, here are some of mine:-


Dear Nice Etoile,

The X-rays have now arrived and clearly show your knickers to be in a twist. I've made an appointment for you next Wednesday at the Oxford Street branch of Marks & Spencer's. 3 o'clock, 1st Floor, Acute Critical Chantilly Lace Department, Dr. Shirley Thong.


Congratulations on your move to the South of France, Nice Etoile! Any chance you can settle in Australia instead??? Or perhaps Libya???


Heil Ms Etoile,

I'm sorry to have to tell you that we are unable to award you a certificate of competence for two reasons: you kept goebbling your words and you're too Jewish.


The Goebbels School of Public Speaking


That was a delicious cheese sandwich you made me the other day!

XXX Anna Glypta


Just received this email from an anonymous source:-

Nice Etoile, Wiki Man is indeed a great debator. Do you know if he does this just on a one-to-one basis, or also to large groups???  (That might give him mass appeal...)


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Please be nice, but not funnier than me. Thanks.