Saturday, November 13, 2004

A few non-sequiturs, or maybe not...

At the suggestion of Fr. Bill, I subscribed to Books & Culture for several years. I did my homework on most issues and came away from each one with new understandings. In time, however, I allowed the subscription to lapse. I decided that either I was too obtuse to grasp the point of much of what I was reading, or what I was reading really didn't have much of a point. Writers who have achieved a nose-bleed height of education are sometimes prone to ponderous writing, heavy on form and light on content, unless you want to consider a multitude of minutiae as "content". I tend to get lost in the convoluted language of philosophy.

I recalled my Books & Culture period recently with the death of Jacques Derrida. (Link) His name and opinions were sometimes invoked in those pages. At the time, I was more confused than impressed, because Derrida struck me as a kind of counter-Christian, a voice whose whole message was calculated to muddy up an otherwise clear view of faith. (I have always been more impressed with the simple faith of ordinary people than ornately crafted arguments of theologians.) As I think about the impact of "deconstruction" and contemporary trends labeled "postmodern" my attitude toward Derrida is softening. I am beginning to understand that deconstruction offers a modern counterpoint to faith which in the end makes it more durable.

On a lighter note, and keeping with my impulse to keep up with the world around me, I came across an Urban Distionary now added to my "links" list, along with Merriam-Webster Online. As I cruse the net I sometimes encounter acronyms that I don't understand. Last week in a "comments" section of someone's blog, there was "My keyboard is now DRENCHED in coffee, TYVFM. Damnit. :)" What? The smiley face was a clue, but the acronym made no sense.
Eventually I found out that TYVM was chat-speak for "thank you very much" and the F-word was the writer's embellishment. With the Urban Dictionary I now have a quick resource for such moments.

The Urban Distionary is an on-line resource similar to Wikepedia in that anyone can add to or modify any part of it. At first I was skeptical that such places could be of any value, but it seems they are being cited more often as source material. We really do live in the information age. Google the phrase "knowing where to get it" and see what you get.

2 comments:

bob (a.) said...

hb -

A couple of comments.

I think it would be better to break up your posts into a number of chunks, rather than making it a grand daily digest. Just a thought, it would make pursuing the pieces easier. Seems to me their are lots of chunks so commenting on one piece won't have a good flow.

That not withstanding, here is a comment on your side note

>> (I have always been more impressed with the simple faith of ordinary people than ornately crafted arguments of theologians.)

'Theology' is a secularist containment mechanism

Hoots said...

I agree, on both counts.
But I'm on the way to work and by night I am too tired to blog. Best I could do with a "daily entry" discipline. Derrida et al require focus and time, both of which are on a tight ration lately. Been thinking about Derrida since he passed in October and needed to get it off my plate.