I'm wary of considering myself an expert at anything because there's always something you don't know. I probably know a lot about Pynchon, but the thought of having him as my Mastermind subject fills me with dread.
That's the thing. At which point do you consider yourself an expert? There's always going to be folks who knows more about certain things. To be an veritible expert, you'll have to channel your time and energy into one thing. That narrow field of interest is not for me, I know that.
Version you're likely in the 999th permillage for Pynchon knowledga among the general population. That counts for something.
I always wished I was good at throwing things. But I'm terrible. Limp wristed, throw things the wrong direction and a pathetic distance. It never seemed like something anyone learned, either. Some people can just hurl things halfway to the moon.
There are probably fewer experts and more jacks of all trades individuals being produced now. Everytime I read about the origin story of some great artist or scientist or whatever, it's always something like, 'his fascination with minerals was evident right from the birth, he spent every breating moment looking at minerals, studying them...'
I didn't have that with anything, I'm bored after a day and look for something new because there's always something new available.
businesspeople declare themselves experts all the time, a matter of survival. there's an entire industry around "thought leadership": message development, white papers, conference speaking gigs. as George castanza said, "it's not a lie if you believe it."