Yesterday on the way to work I heard a great interview promoting James Geary's book The World in a Phrase, sub-titled A Brief History of the Aphorism. This morning I find that it is Day One for a blog: James Geary's Aphorism Addicts already up and running. There are already comments at the first post. Word travels fast, doesn't it?
First, I am an old lover of aphorisms. I haven't made it my life's work, but whenever I get a chance to put a smart retort or big idea into a few words I jump at the chance. Just yesterday I had a chance to take someone down a notch or two by telling him "I've been in the food business long enough to know baloney when it comes along. And that's baloney." Not exactly an aphorism, I know, but you get the idea.
In this day of nutshell philosophies that have to be deleted from everyone's daily email, the aphorism looks as tired as last weeks TV Guide, but the form is as old as history. According to Geary, the Chinese I Ching or "Book of Changes," one of the world's oldest attempts to predict the future, derives from aphorisms.
Second, I will be interested to see how this blog effort goes. Blogging has become yet another marketing resource in selling...not just books, but lots of things. But more than that, it is another fiber in the increasingly complicated fabric of contemporary life. I might be reading the wrong places, but it seems to me that bloggers tend to measure what they read with some kind of political metric, trying to figure out what is unseen, unspoken, unsaid, unintended. Standing in the middle of any issue is considered boring or even dull-witted. Being undecided about an issue is often seen as being weak rather than inquiring.
Just this morning I read a negative comment about last night's closed session of the Senate. The comment was not from the so-called "right" as one would expect. (You don't have to look far to see plenty of carping there.) It was from the "Left," suggesting that the whole effort was nothing more than a Democratic gesture intended to throw a bone to their more extreme supporters from the left to make it appear that they care about the same issues. Nobody, it seems, trusts anybody in politics.
I'm sure there is an aphorism that would put all I just wrote into a single clever line, but I can't think of one at the moment. I guess I'll have to publish it as I wrote it and let myself be revealed in all my ignorant glory.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Posted by Hoots at 7:48 AM