Monday, November 14, 2016
As a parent, college instructor and occasional job applicant, I am used to non-responses. I regularly eat humble pie and I recommend it. Lately, to maintain my weight and reduce the pain of two arthritic hips, I equate hunger with humility.
As a former presidential candidate, regularly remarked: I get it.
I understand email torrents, and confidential email addresses that get you to the person and not his or her agent. I appreciate how busy people can be, or think they are. Still, I cannot predict just who will, or will not respond to me. Bear in mind that in most instances, I seek nothing from the correspondent other than an answer to a question, or the possibility that she might read a recent work in progress, or increase my readership of published works above the average of 10.
My high average of ignoring respondents crosses party lines, but I suspect my right of center friends will increasingly fail to respond. Why bother for someone who maintains his independence and offers no certain allegiance?
For my part, I try to respond to anyone, including high school students who want me to do their homework on network neutrality. I do not calibrate whether and how to respond based on the person’s celebrity status, or lack thereof. I do not calculate a cost/benefit.
I try to be a good citizen, academic colleague and seeker of the truth. I am rewarded when some luminaries readily and regularly respond. However, I cannot understand why, for example, one Stanford Law School rock star responds and shares his research with me, while another one can’t be bothered ever. I cannot explain why one Penn State University President responded to an occasional email, but two subsequent ones have used intermediaries that reply with scripts and corporate gobbledygook.
I know I need to buck up, but it grieves me when my right of center colleagues apparently have become the latest non-responders. For my part, I have always sought to listen and learn rather than engage in one-upmanship and snark.
As a trite, but on point bumper sticker states: Let’s try more wag and less bark. Do respond to your emails.