Remember a couple of weeks ago when Malcolm Gladwell kind of freaked out over Jane Galt’s critique of his New York magazine piece? Well, now Gladwell has a theory about why the criticism bothered him so much.
The short version: writing about pension funds is hard.
We can see all the things that someone, in a different profession than us, does. What we cannot know is the relative difficulty of those tasks. I know a reverse slam is harder than a simple dunk. But how much harder? And how much harder again would a slam be if you had a defender draped all over you…
I thought of this in trying to explain my prickliness a few weeks back over some of the criticisms directed at my "Risk Pool" article. I'm not usually thin-skinned in the face of critics. So why did I react the way I did? I think it was a degree of difficulty question. What I was saying, unconsciously, was not--"you don't understand how good that story was." It was, rather--"you don't understand how HARD that story was." Because, in truth, it was a really, really hard story. How on earth do you write 5000 words on pensions without putting your audience to sleep? It's pretty tricky, and what I wanted in my heart of hearts, I suppose, was for at least some appreciation of that effort. Even if it was a bogey, I wanted the announcer to point out what a great bogey it was.