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View Diary: Reality in Desuetude (or, Iran So Far Away) (124 comments)

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  •  Plain Speaking (4+ / 0-)

    The essay suggests someone more in love with their vocabulary, and their reading list, than respectful of their own very worthy ideas.

    •  or perhaps the ideas (12+ / 0-)

      are worthy of the vocabulary and the references.

    •  I agree, semicolon overload and (0+ / 0-)

      why is this even on the rec list?

      Oh right, because someone on the front page sneezed and this url link came out. Let's all pat ourselves on the back as we admire the invisible cloth that is the emperors new clothes. Hail, diary rescue.

      anathema anathema anathema

      •  please, let's have a little dynamic range. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cedwyn
      •  ugh (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Darksyde888, Cedwyn
        annoooyiiing
      •  That's harsh... (0+ / 0-)

        ...but somehow, I agree with it.

        It feels a little like the diary got a blessing from on high, and the heathens went back, changed their ways, and recommended it en masse.

        Of course, it could just be that people really love this diary and are grateful they were pointed in its direction.

        I like to nurture the skeptic in me, lest it whither.

      •  Look, will it kill ya (21+ / 0-)
        to read about the hyperreal once in a while?

        I've so often heard the bit about how us snobby academics use this high theory to speak over other people's heads.  That may be true for some; those people tend not to be types I like to hang out with.

        But the reason they pay us to come up with stuff is that one of these days, one of these ideas might break outside of its sphere of abstraction and become useful.

        The hyperreal, for example, happens to be pretty freakin' important as a tool for understanding everyday life in the early 21st century.  When Tom Cruise in Vanilla Sky finds himself unable to "wake up" from the simulated dream that is plaguing him, screaming in panic as an empty Times Square whirls around him, bombarding him with simulations... that is, to a greater or lesser extent, what we're up against when we wonder why some astronomical percent of Americans vote for Bush.  They're bombarded with imagery, they see a fake rendering of a fake weapons trailer, they read everything through a media that spends 90% of the time distracting them, and the remaining 10% feeding them misinformation...

        ... and in the midst of all this, there is no there there, no place to stand on, that allows us to definitively convince other people that the earth is round, that Iran is at the very least two years away from producing a nuke and that global warming is a reality.

        So, yeah, if you want to dismiss this stuff as pretentious, that's your lookout.  But intellectuals read a lot of stuff, and they can be expected to come up with something of use every now and again.  If you ask me, it's high time Americans realized that we're living in a hyperreal world.

        Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of nonthought. -- Milan Kundera

        by Dale on Fri Apr 14, 2006 at 12:30:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  apparently, (0+ / 0-)

          that was the downfall of syd barrett.  the story has it that he was so delightful to be around on acid, that people were constantly dosing him.  so, he'd be thinking it was come down time, but would instead be tripping again, i.e. he ended up mistaking a lot of trips for reality.

          weather forecast

          The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise. - Paine

          by Cedwyn on Fri Apr 14, 2006 at 09:05:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  um, that would be (0+ / 0-)

          we "snobby academics" not "us."

          Sorry, but I was married to an academic and loved to correct him if I could. He was usually flawless, unfortunately. But I did get him on liaison. It was a lapse in the dictionary he kept in his mind.

          •  Heh... (0+ / 0-)

            What did he do with "liason?"  Did he use it as a verb?

            My pet peeve (one left to me by my PhD advisor) was "impact" as a verb, "to impact."  Only teeth can be "impacted!"  I can't "impact" this or that.

            Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of nonthought. -- Milan Kundera

            by Dale on Sat Apr 15, 2006 at 04:53:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  you don't love *your* reading list? (17+ / 0-)

      do you not read works of literature and analyze and appreciate them?  it's not like he's pulling some obscure-ass, überesoteric, chinese lesbian priest's   1373AD tome out for us to read; that was all fairly mainstream, save possibly the fiction.

      and i'm sorry you don't love words, but i do.  passionately.  they're quite beautiful and heaps of fun; some are so exquisitely precise in their meanings as to be positively sublime.
       
      in any event, isn't this whole website about exposure to things one might not otherwise encounter?

      weather forecast

      The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise. - Paine

      by Cedwyn on Thu Apr 13, 2006 at 11:35:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sometimes (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Canadian Reader, Cedwyn, Lashe, Eryk

        in any event, isn't this whole website about exposure to things one might not otherwise encounter?

        On its good days, and to those who are willing to dig to find it, yes. But dKos is a lot of things to a lot of different people-- if you want the empty calories and  sugar-rush of the OMG LOOK WHAT BUSH DID NOW Twinkie diaries, we have that; if you want something with a more subtle and complex flavor, we have that too, and lots in between.

        That's what keeps me coming back here: the sum of what's posted defies easy categorization and is all over the place on any given day... just like real democracy.

        Destiny: A tyrant's authority for crime and a fool's excuse for failure. --Ambrose Bierce

        by kingubu on Fri Apr 14, 2006 at 01:13:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Ah, American anti-Intellectualism... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ti Jean, Cedwyn, Marc in KS, thomaswilliam

      always rears its ugly head when discomforting ideas are so eloquently presented.

      Lies, Torture and the American Way! (My Apologies to Superman)

      by Darksyde888 on Fri Apr 14, 2006 at 01:56:14 AM PDT

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      •  not necessarily the issue (5+ / 0-)

        see my post below yours. I have creds that potentially qualify me as "an intellectual" or "former intellectual"(though I gave up charecterizing/classifying such things long ago). I work with text all day long. I think this really is not yet an essay. It may be a draft of an essay but it needs a couple of revisions before it's really ready for public consumption.  

        I also found elisions throughout the piece that, if closed up, would either make the argument stronger, or force the author to clarify his/her thoughts in his/her own mind.

        I'm finding the comments below the diary much more interesting in terms of the debate on hyperreality, platonism and Bush's place in that whole philosophy. That's the value of the diary for me.

      •  Why is it that being stylistically critical (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Zipper, Gorette

        of a piece that is a bit (some might say 'a lot') overwritten is "American anti-intellectualism"?  Pulling the Humanities 210 reading list into a diary is fine and good, but that doesn't mean it can't use some serious editing.  Sheesh!  anti-intellectual indeed!

        -7.88, -6.72. I AM paying attention, and I am so fucking outraged I can't see straight. TORTURE and ILLEGAL SPYING ON AMERICANS are not family values!

        by caseynm on Fri Apr 14, 2006 at 08:48:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  E.B White might agree n/t (4+ / 0-)

      Great thoughts are in there, but hard to wade through and not 100% connected up. IMHO, an editor might help.

      Humbly and with no intention of offending,

      •  Agreed (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hazey, sidnora, The Zipper, quaoar, Gorette

        Maybe it's just my personal preference, but I prefer writing that makes things clear rather than obscures.

        But I also like the idea that somehting a little different than "BREAKING!!!!!!!" actually made the rec list.

        Soldiers are required to do their jobs when politicians fail to do theirs

        by leftvet on Fri Apr 14, 2006 at 04:29:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  not personal--it's what most people like (7+ / 0-)

          And it's better for authors too. People want to communicate. They want (or most want) to get their ideas across. This essay isn't obscure because it's complex. It's obscure because the author didn't quite finish the job (omit needless words, for a start--thanks again, EB-- get rid of passive and poor construction, connect the dots between arguments more).

          The ideas the author is putting across actually aren't that complex in the end, or to the degree that they are, it's wiser to clean up the complex language so people can follow the argument. That way the ideas and the thread of the argument will shine through. Of course, so will any infelicitous or underdeveloped parts of the discussion(sorry, charlie, but that's what good clean language does--it makes plain what's actually being said for good or ill). When I write I love the ahas that come with cleaning up the language. So in my opinion, not quite ready for the rec list, but a good start.

          For model/contrast--I would point to Darksyde's pure science diaries. Different subject matter, but he makes extremely complicated subject matter easier to comprehend rather than harder.

          I write all this because i really think the author potentially has the subtlety of mind to get some serious thinking going on here. If this were just another "breaking" diary, I wouldn't bother.

          Can you tell I might be one of those evil editorial types ; ) ?

          •  asdf (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Cedwyn, The Zipper, Gorette

            "The ideas the author is putting across actually aren't that complex in the end, or to the degree that they are, it's wiser to clean up the complex language so people can follow the argument."

            Completely agree in this case that the language is mostly unnecessary. But I try to avoid picking on other people's styles too much; I have a real problem myself with overuse of the semicolon.

            But I also wanted to say a few words in defense of some of the language issues that I think many are criticizing here. Some areas of thought have developed their own sometimes bizarre terminologies, and they're extremely useful for many reasons; for one, they tend to have agreed-upon complex meanings, so they serves as a kind of shorthand -- and also tend to have a lot of specificity that other language wouldn't necessarily have.

            Not that I think that's so much the case here, but I think that a lot of people tend to fall into a camp that screams "if I can't understand it easily, then clearly you're just being pretentious!". This is not always true, and sometimes if you're reading stuff with any complexity, you're just going to have to whip out a dictionary or do a little background research. It's called "a challenge", and it's a good thing in the end -- why so many seem to want to avoid it, I'm just not entirely sure.

            And often, by the way, I'm all for explaining things as simply as possible -- I love getting to explain weird science crap to my literature-major girlfriend, because the effort challenges us both -- but the simplest explanations can often lose a lot of the depth of the ideas, too.

          •  a 4* for your comments! (0+ / 0-)
      •  more agreement (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DemocracyLover in NYC, Gorette

        Synthesis is beautiful but it's difficult to master perspicuity.

        i appreciate the attempt, it is better than i could achieve.

        i think that the ideas presented in the essay should be brought to the table and i value the diversity of the dkos reader/writership.

    •  go somewhere else then (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sidnora

      or do you relish your own words and "wisdom" so much that you can't resist strewing it into the sight of the uninterested?  

      My first thought is of dog piddle on a fire hydrant.  Gotta make a mark, every one of 'em.

      Why bother slamming this or any other diary?  Why not just go where you have something constructive to lend?  Couldn't any of us find 100 diaries a day to dish on?  But hopefully we put our time to better use.

      You should apologize for this slam.

      nostalgia isn't what it used to be

      by stonemason on Fri Apr 14, 2006 at 06:09:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why is it that asking for some clarity in writing (0+ / 0-)

        warrants an invite to go elsewhere?  As someone who has been grading college papers and reading piles of highly academic articles and books for 25 years, I can say (with some cred) that I think the ideas in here are good but that they are sometimes obscured by the writing style.

        Asking for clarity is not (mixing the metaphors you used) pissing on the diary.

        -7.88, -6.72. I AM paying attention, and I am so fucking outraged I can't see straight. TORTURE and ILLEGAL SPYING ON AMERICANS are not family values!

        by caseynm on Fri Apr 14, 2006 at 09:08:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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