October 11th, 2005

breaking bad

Personality typing

On a lot of topics we all have broad agreement I think. One where there is quite a chasm of opinion in comments is around personality typing. redstarrobot recently commented that she thought MBTI (my pet personality theory thing) was comparable to astrology. I have read commentators on other blogs say 'It has no scientific validity'. Of course I think there is more to it than that but I have no negative feelings about the debate, and if I respond it's to clarify my ideas, which might be of interest. I welcome your contrary opinions.

I think MBTI is a descriptive system, not a predictive one. For this reason I don't think it's like either astrology or science. For example, I might classify people as 'tall' and 'short', and it doesn't make sense to ask whether that is scientific. I make no predictions from my system, I just decide on a semi-arbitrary classification of other people. We could debate where I draw the line between tall and short, but the terminology itself is simply to make discussion easier. If I said Leos were taller than Virgos, though, that would be predictive, and subject to criticism.
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breaking bad

Thog speaks

Occasionally there are literary infelicities in science fiction and fantasy novels. Hard to believe I know. You may read Thog's masterclass in Ansible every month. Thog collects examples of these infelicities.

Here is the 1994 Thog collection reunited for one last gig. These are real lines from real, published, novels.

`Her very existence made his forebrain swell until it threatened to leak out his sinuses.'

`Dr Kelter's forehead sprouted italics ...'

'He wore an aura of rugged-intellectual charm like a plastic raincoat ...'

Have you any examples of desperately bad lines from novels? The Da Vinci Code is of course composed entirely of desperately bad lines, but do propose the worst if you have favourites.