Don't believe the hype about not believing the hype
An article came my way with the title, “Don’t believe the hype about behavioral economics”.
I don’t have any comments on the article itself. Instead, I have a comment about the article title.
I don’t like it when people tell me “don’t believe the hype about X”. I find this way of speaking to be problematic on many levels:
- It is often a disguised way of saying “believe this other thing Y”, and in fact very often is a disguised way of saying “believe what I consider to be the correct, the status quo before this new kid on the block arrived”.
- It is patronizing, assuming that the reader should “believe” or “not believe” something, rather than, maybe, actually reason about pros and cons of some idea.
- I don’t actually care whether there is “hype” or not about something. I only care whether it’s true or useful. Sometimes something “hyped” is in fact correct; sometimes it is incorrect. I don’t care about the “hype” part, only about the truth part. So don’t drag in irrelevant matters such as whether someone out there is promoting something, and whether you’re promoting it or opposing the promoting of it. I don’t want to see articles with titles like “Don’t believe the hype about the earth going around the sun” or “Don’t believe the hype about the sun going around the earth”. If you have something substantial to say, choose a more informative title.
I don’t care whether something is new or old, a fad or hyped. Don’t try to appeal to me on that debased emotional level when trying to sell me something. Show me whether something works or doesn’t, and I’ll pay attention. Not all old ideas are bad, not all new ideas are bad. But hype about hype is more annoying than hype itself.comments powered by Disqus