Maybe you've just started reading this blog recently — maybe even after you followed a link from your friend yesterday to a crazy post telling you to give up your flashcards! Or, maybe you've been reading for a while, or even since the very first post.
But unless you're one of the fifty (I'm guessing) readers here who actually know me in real life, there is probably a lot about me you don't know. (In fact, even if you do know me, there may be a lot you don't know!)
First, you should all know that I am an asshole. And I don't mean that in the "oh he's cocky-funny" way, I mean it in they "I don't see why she stays with him" kind of way. Seriously. I'm a jerk. I have strong opinions, I don't back down in defending myself, and I'm not afraid of anyone or anything.
But the same thing that makes me a jerk is also the thing that makes me one of the best friends you could ever want to have. If you ask me a question you will always get the honest truth from me, if I think you're wrong I'll tell you, but if I think you're right I'll fight to the teeth to defend you.
And yes, in spite of being a proud, stubborn asshole, I do have friends. Those who appreciate honesty and directness are usually glad to know me. It's only those who are lying to themselves that don't like me — those who are pretending to be something they're not, and looking for others to help them perpetuate that self-delusion.
Frankly I don't want those people anyway. And if you are one of those people, you should probably unsubscribe from my blog. Seriously! Because I am never going to help you pretend to be what you're not.
In fact, if that's not enough, I will give you a few more reasons to unsubscribe:
1. I don't believe in freedom of speech. That's right. I do not believe that humans have a universal right to say whatever they want. When people have the license to say whatever they want, they use that license to do and say terrible, destructive things.
I believe it is the responsibility of a community or society to enforce certain guidelines, principles, and expectations, and that naturally, those can change and evolve over time as that society or community grows and changes.
2. I believe that nothing is sacred. There is no belief, no opinion, no point of view that is off-limits. Everything must be questioned. Whether it's your belief in a particular tool for language learning, or your political point of view, or even your religion, you owe it to yourself to test it and question it. We all do. There is nothing in life that gets an exception to this.
3. Stereotypes are often true, and sometimes even funny, but I hate discrimination. There really are a lot of Russians who drink too much vodka, and Italians really do talk with their hands. Stereotypes don't just get invented for no reason, and we should all be allowed to laugh at them.
However, after the joke is over, remember that that is who they are. Other people may look strange, or talk strange, do strange things or eat strange food, but black, Jewish, gay, or whatever else they may be, you can not change who someone is. And when you discriminate, it only reveals how weak you are.
4. Positivity really does work. Most of those Power of Positivity people are utterly annoying, and many are even fake. But that doesn't diminish the truth of what they are saying. You will get farther in life with optimism and confidence that you would with almost anything else. You don't have to join a cult for it to work. All you have to do is believe in yourself.
5. Insults only feed my ego. The saying in Hollywood is, "there's no such thing as bad press." When you insult me, you think you're getting under my skin, but you're only making me stronger. Every moment you spend telling people that I'm arrogant, mean, or rude is a moment that you've chosen to spend talking about me.
When I walk away from my computer, my mind is already on something else. When I lay my head down at night, I instantly sleep like a baby. I never lose a single moment's sleep worrying about anyone else's opinion. And the thought of others losing sleep over my opinion only excites me.
6. People are inherently good. I believe that by default, people are good. Regardless of what seemingly confusing or destructive things they may do or say, I believe that most people have good intentions from moment to moment.
When someone insults me, I don't judge that person — even if I am, perhaps, disappointed in how they handled one moment of their life. And maybe it's naive, but I like to assume that people give me the same credit that I give them.
7. This site isn't for bloggers. I really appreciate that so many other language bloggers have taken an interest in my blog, and that they participate and comment, and that we can have discussions (which are usually civil). I'm honored, that's really cool, and it makes me happy. I hope it continues.
But I'm not here for them. I'm here for the people who are trying to learn. First and foremost, my audience is people actively learning a new language, and those are the readers I will work to keep. My content will not be dictated by other bloggers who disagree, and I will not fret if those other bloggers stop coming here.
8. I'm an arrogant, egotistical, know-it-all. But Randy, you already said you were an asshole. This is just redundant! No. It's not redundant. There is an important difference. Do I know everything? No. Am I any smarter than anyone else? No. Do I write as if I am? Fuck yeah I do. And I'm not going to stop.
Very few people would find any real value in a blog about learning if the author was timid and spent all his time questioning himself and apologizing for his position. Part of the reason people find value in what I say is due to the fact that I say it in an authoritative manner.
9. I care about people. The overwhelming majority of what I write here is for other people. I write advice, ideas, and information, not stories. Unlike a lot of other bloggers, I'm not here writing all the time about myself. I'm not trying to impress anyone with my travels, or my language skills. I'm not posting boring videos of me talking, or egotistical "look at me!" photos.
You may not always agree with what I say, but it should always be clear that I was saying it for you... not for me. This blog began because it was the most efficient way for me to answer the same questions from several people, and to preserve those answers so they could be useful to more people in the future. It has never been a popularity contest, and I honestly don't care if anyone likes me. I only care about whether or not I am helping people. And the moment I feel that I can no longer do that, I will stop writing here. (But don't worry, I'm far from done.)
That's me, and that's what you can expect. If you don't like that, do yourself (and everyone else) a favor, and unsubscribe, because that's not going to change.
Want to see my favorite language resources and courses?
I listed them here.