Roger on the dodgy subject of avoiding conflict:
Then there’s the uncertainty thing, sign of a good humanities student. I certainly don’t pretend that I know all the answers — others may think so, but it’s not true — and I put forth the possibility, in SOME topics, that I could be at least partially mistaken. I don’t have the need to badger others about those things.
I was not a particularly good humanities student. (Short version: “voracious reader” did not necessarily equal “scintillating writer.”) However, I wound up with the following conviction: even in the subjects I know best, there is likely to be someone who knows something I don’t.
This doesn’t mean I won’t defend my position if I’m correct. But I’d darned well better make sure I am correct before going too far out on that limb.