While performing the final edits and additions to a Call from Arms, I ended up catching up with some of the vlogs that I enjoy the most. One of these was the Jimquisition, a show on the Escapist that is hosted by Jim Sterling and deals almost entirely with consumer advocacy and awareness for video games. During one of the most recent episodes, he said something which struck a chord. The only reason I didn’t quote him in that article is I wanted to gain his permission first.
The subject for the show in question was how Nintendo of America had handled a mistake in how it dealt with some glitches in the game Tomodachi Life that were related to the GLBTQ community, and how his initial coverage of that material has been somewhat flawed. In talking about his own mistakes, Mr. Sterling had the opportunity to talk about mistakes and how we should own up to them. What he had to say was probably the best thing I’ve ever heard someone vocalize on the subject, and so close to my own thoughts that I want to shake his hand and thank for his eloquence.
There is a really unfortunate belief on line that an apology makes somebody weak. Perhaps it’s something about the black and white, left or right, fox or CNN extremest culture we live in, but sticking to one’s guns whether right or wrong is seen as an example of great strength. We respect those who never waiver in opinion and conversely we scorn those who change their minds as flip floppers, inconsistent, or otherwise weak. I’ve never held that to be true. The only way to be right is to be prepared to be wrong. If proven wrong, the wisest thing to do is to change one’s perspective in order to be right. That’s not weak to me; it’s logical. It’s the only the smart thing to do.
In all truth, it takes no strength at all to cling to one belief and never confront it. To have one single idea protected as immutable and remain unswayed to contrary logic, even if it’s superior. No, it is not weak to change your mind and it is far from weak to apologize. It surely takes greater strength to admit you’re wrong, especially in a culture that sees apology as lily-liveried capitulation. As an admittance of shame and, therefore, deserving of derision.
I am proud of the moments where I have admitted I’m wrong….I feel that each time I have been able to accept that I was wrong allowed me to evolve, gain a fresh insight, and become a better person. – Jim Stirling, from the episode “Tomopology Life”
The only text I removed from that was centered the specific mistakes Mr. Stirling cited, because they’re all tied to the industry he works in and lack any sort of meaning without context.
I couldn’t have put it better myself if I tried. I think we need to be ready to question ourselves, our motivation, and our rhetoric the moment someone calls upon in a meaningful way. I think we need to be comfortable enough with our own opinions that the possibility that some of them are wrong doesn’t break us. We need to the courage to face that we may be wrong just as mush as we need the inner strength to speak our minds in the first place. We need to step off our own high horses and not go for the throat when we see appologies from people we may or may not dislike.
If you are both a Heathen and a Geek, I highly suggest you check out his show; while the ironic smugness he presents as he acts an exaggerated version of himself can get on the nerves of some, this wasn’t the first show to feature absolute solid gold. Even if you aren’t, it’s not hard to see the wisdom he advocates. This is a piece of wisdom that can serve us all well.