Critiquing and Love, advice from Deirdre McCloskey

My first real scholarly idol, economist Deirdre McCloskey, was interviewed in the Chronicle of Higher Education for their Scholars Talk Writing column. I have no doubt that McCloskey remembers me not one jot, but I knew her as Don, before she transitioned, and I worshipped the ground he walked on as one of my professors who was both, a) brilliant and b) stuttered (worse than me, even). I didn’t think anything really of it when Don announced he wished to undergo gender reassignment, but man, the libertarian turn has been trying for me. 🙂

That said, still an amazing, adventurous scholar I admire madly for never being boring.

There is a statement in her interview in the Chron that made me hold my breath with the generousity of it:

The key is to love your colleagues. You have to be together long enough to get over the academic pose (“Heh, I’m the expert here”) and learn to listen. Love is important, and often overlooked. Love makes it possible for the writer whose work is being tested to accept criticism gracefully, since she knows it is meant in love. Men don’t grasp it, usually. They are so busy competing that they don’t realize that what actually works is cooperation. Whoops — sorry: gender candor alert.