A long time ago I was tried for attempting to steal a car. The municipal police said the lock of the car was forced and that there were scratches near the handle of the car, and the owner of the car who had phoned the police said she saw me trying to steal her car.
When the case came to trial, I explained to the judge that I was bending down close to the car but had no intention of stealing it. I also mentioned a “problem” I had with the shop behind me (which I won’t go into here). When the case was dismissed, the judge pointed out that the owner of the car saw what she wanted to see rather than what was actually occurring. The police evidence was not forthcoming, and the policeman who appeared in the penal court could not say why his colleagues had thought the car was damaged. The owner actually contradicted the police in court, saying the car was in no need whatsoever of repair, there being no damage. (She had been asked for a receipt for repairs.)
I could have sued the owner and the police but was living in Italy at the time where court cases take forever.
I write the above because I keep reading people who do not understand tone of voice in writing and who think they are being intelligent by making irrelevant remarks. These good souls are like the Rome police and the car owner. They just see what they want to see.
Recently, I wrote an article about academics sometimes being idiotic but in the same article I supported study and learning. I got told off for using the word “idiots” while I would have preferred the critic to tell me she was happy I supported academic endeavour. I could go on. If I write light-heartedly, I am not taking my subject that seriously. I imagine that is obvious….but there are more sinister souls out there who seem to relish the less obvious. It seems that I mustn’t criticise bad English if I can’t write Thai. Whether I can or can’t write Thai is neither here nor there. Where is the logic in taking me to task for poor, written Thai? If I don’t set myself up publicly as a writer of Thai and advertise my talents publicly, of course I can criticise bad English from Thais good-naturedly. Because Thailand is not a paradise and I am not a fool in paradise, of course I can write this and that about Thailand…but my critics think I should go back “there”. Why? I am elsewhere always saying I don’t want to live “there”. I don’t get it. Why should anyone be dumb in a foreign country? It doesn’t make sense.
It seems that the car-owner, those Rome policemen, and all the kings’ horses are still out there, ready to interpret unwisely, prosecute four-letteredly, and hate the very thought of putting Humpty-Dumpty together again.