Archive for the 'speaking and tongues' Category

Before a bath

‍‍כ״ט שבט ה׳ תשע״ג - Friday, February 8th, 2013

What then is the value of a dialectic of intertextual reference?  Pretension, maybe, certainly true at times, but usually a charge from the illiterate egoist.  Validation, (either or both) establishing the credentials (of entry, consideration, engagement) of the author and a guarded gate in the name of esotericism – only the chapter headings, and not before anyone save the rare meritorious ear.  Perhaps it is the popular version of the latter; a method of revered scholars as emulated by followers, granted prestige as dialect, but stripped of its mysterious functionality, or at least lowered to code switching of a sort – putatively “Number 34″; “You didn’t tell it right” or conversely(!), a popular register – “at Tanagra” – that the cautious scholar imbued with new functionality to suit his exclusionary purpose.  In all of these, it could merely be the value of time vs. space, the efficacy of a cultural lookup table, or (perhaps as exactly here) where there is no common understanding as drawing upon diversity in basic references from often mutually exclusive groupings.  If then, if me(?), then a smattering of all, and Google and critical notes and if kind and of a popular mindset, href, remedies much.

the hole that keeps giving. hopefully, kept.

‍‍כ״ט חשון ה׳ תשע״ב - Friday, November 25th, 2011

Well, the zenphoto hole affected the whole site. But after parsing just about every script on the site and putting in new .htaccess files, I think I’m clean and I can’t find any ill effects. That was really annoying and very badly timed for me. In fact, the time I was going to spend on moving to integrate the galleries into WordPress was spent on that; but I think I can get that done this weekend.


15 minutos de fama : the odd consequences and burdens of educated speech.

‍‍י״ב תמוז ה׳ תשס״ט - Saturday, July 4th, 2009

It is a curious effect of copy and paste, of quote and translation.  Today, one can easily find fifteen minutes of fame, in the most literal of senses.  This is not news.

The oddity is that you can find that you were famous months after the fact.

Back in February, when Facebook was considering some controversial TOS changes, I was (apparently) early in joining one of the the Facebook protest groups.  Now admittedly, I did care about the TOS issue: I posted items and used my status message to try and raise awareness.  I made one or two wall posts in said protest group.  Mostly, I wanted to clarify that the TOS wasn’t seizing copyright ownership, but the distribution license had onerous consequences.  I then said that in response, I deleted my uploaded photographs, save a profile picture or two.

Now, mind you, I have no precise idea what I said : after Facebook abandoned the proposed terms, I quit the group.  With many such Facebook groups having been formed, and hundreds of thousands of users joining them, and in turn, generating thousands of posts and threads, my original is sufficiently misplaced.

None of this would be of any interest to me – or to any right thinking individual – but for the curious addendum.  A couple of weeks ago, I googled variants of my name to see where this site was showing up.  Lo and behold, by page three, nearly all the links were in Spanish.  This was of particular curiosity to me, as my Spanish aptitude never progressed beyond some Fs and Ds in high school classes.  (Immersion methods do not work well with me, unfortunately, it took me years to figure this out and learn what does.  Another story for another time.)  Apparently, some tech writer for the EFE news service needed a quote for his piece on the TOS changes – and the user response – and quoted me.  In turn, this article was reposted and quoted by aggregators and blogs across the Latinternet.  This happens, nothing special.  However, since the original quoting was translated into a language I don’t speak or read, I had no idea until May, despite the EFE being the fourth largest news agency in the world.

Now, I cannot be certain why the original author quoted me (and I should point out, that while I don’t recall the precise wording, the translation entirely correlates with  my recollection of what I wrote) but I suspect it is because:

  • I wrote with a reserved, educated tone.
  • I separated my understanding of the situation from my response.
  • I sounded like I knew what I was talking about.
  • I am from New York.

To invoke a bit of Cialdini, the first two strike me as social liking through identification.  The first point results in a tone similar to modern journalism, and not only garners the sympathy of a writer accustomed to the style, but in using a similar style, it fits smoothly into a newspaper piece.  Similarly, the second is akin to an editorial response or, more liberally, the conclusions of a reporter.

Coupled with the a writing style, (I’m glad the reporter kept the “permissive and perpetual” bit in Spanish – I liked it enough to remember) simply sounding like I had read the new TOS and was capable of calmly correcting others probably secured me a air of authority.  Finally simply being from New York (my primary Facebook network), which the reporter did specify in the quote attribution, is both identifiable and desirable from a global perspective.  This is certainly liking and authority at play – a well spoken, informed, urbane “expert” from an international city says… – but also maintains a smooth flow for the reader who already has some idea where New York is, as opposed to stopping to wonder what or where Buffalo is.

Still, this story is just a an anecdote, a curiosity of a google search, and the subsequent analysis somewhat facile and obvious.  The lesson is not:  if you choose to write with a certain style, you will “speak” louder than others in a written medium.  Make sure that you want those words repeated: if you write well-formed drivel or masterful and erroneous prose, you may find the echo much louder than expected and the ringing criticism deafening.

This is the burden of educated speech, whether educated in fact or in tone: if you write with care, have a care with what you write.

The dumbing of ‘merica.

‍‍י״ד טבת ה׳ תשס״ט - Friday, January 9th, 2009

For fuck’s sake, it’s bad enough you wreck the KJV, but seriously?
I mean, Jews go through the bother of making these wonderful texts, some nice goyim translate them reasonably well, and then the evil goyishe masses have to ruin them.

Well maybe Prussian Blue can put it in song form. Oh, wait…

Can’t be fooled.

‍‍ו׳ טבת ה׳ תשס״ט - Thursday, January 1st, 2009

The children are right.  It is not an indictment; it is reconciliation.

The academics are right, albeit inadvertently so:  German is beautiful; the fault lies in those to whom its legacy is bestowed.

(D)er schreibt wenn es dunkelt nach Deustschland.

If I knew how to put an upside down A here, I would.

‍‍י׳ אלול ה׳ תשס״ז - Friday, August 24th, 2007

But I can’t, nor can I be bothered to figure out how to do so. Let me point out one simple fact… If that character defines the set of people who find you acceptable, likable – or rather, you believe this to be so – you carry the small, small soul of a politician, and must deal with the simple fact that I am the backwards E that is bringing your shit down.

Moreover, if you did not understand the above paragraph, nor did you engage in the five minutes of consultation with Google or Wikipedia, or lord forgive us, a book, that might cure you of ignorance – ignorance not being a crime, sin, or disease, but the total inability to remedy it being all three – if you did not understand, than you are simply the type that I care to offend, the burden on goodness which allows me to say, “Well Lord, I am not much, but at least I am not that.”

More on this later.

For now, a mere thought that has been bothering me. Many people write. Some even have some skill. A select few are truly good. Whether I belong to the ultimate or penultimate class, I care enough to edit, to read aloud, to avoid reuse – you know, the basic artisanry of writing. So why is it, that the bulk of personal writing that even I am willing to put out into the world, is the horrid, horrid, shit that fills many a tower of blog? Yes, I apologize – this blog’s content is tepid, the prose unedited – and not in a good (i.e. avoid the NC-17) way. Isn’t it odd that I am not unique in that; of all the things we commit to paper or Word format or HTML, why is it that we choose the least of it to disseminate to the world?

That the answer is clear makes it no less disheartening.

A last point: some TV shows are really good enough to make me consider going outside, buying a pack of smokes, and relighting the habit. Californication seems to be one of those shows – I can’t remember laughing so hard, naturally. It deserves some time and a chance.