Saturday, August 29, 2015

the White Flag of Words

  Some people are attached to their favorite authors like Twain, Dickens, or you name him. And their readers have a sense that the worlds that they have written up are familiar to them. They feel comfortable not just because they are familiar with their diction, but rather they are comfortable with the literary world(s) that they have made. So if you think about their different books that have been written by one of these authors, you might find a place where you feel welcome. And this is a 'home' for you that is different than where you pay your bills, for example.

  This 'home' is inhabited by many different characters, who live in the world of the author's making. And I don't believe that they are just marks on a page, but rather they live and move and have their being because an author has chosen to give them motivations and intentions. And if we find the author to be moral in the sense that he has lived a good life, then we tend to read what they have written. So if like how an author writes, then we tend to think that their life was not so bad. We might then ask ourselves: how did he live, so that I could be like him?

  Now this question is usually answered by looking at his biographers, who recorded what they liked about him. (The author could be female, but I will bet that my audience will look this over with a passing glance.) So if we like a certain author, we would want to find out more about him. That is to say, what the author has written has more weight than the marks that he left on paper.

  So I would suggest that these authors have their place because their audience thought that they deserved it. Furthermore, who we read will influence what else we read, since these authors have influenced our reading habits. And these habits have been shaped by the authors, whom we read because they have given us so much life out of mere words.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Gender Neutral Pronouns

We are familiar with the singular pronouns she, her, hers and he, him, his, but those are not the only singular pronouns. In fact, there are dozens of gender-neutral pronouns.

A few of the most common singular gender-neutral pronouns are they, them, their(used as singular), ze, hir, hirs, and xe, xem, xyr.

These may sound a little funny at first, but only because they are new. The she and he pronouns would sound strange too if we had been taught ze when growing up.

    The above link is from an academic source that explores the possibility of gender neutral pronouns, and I'd like to ask if we should use gender neutral pronouns within the context of academia. 

    I'd think that the use of gender neutral pronouns is such that, if there is a person without a gender, then we are warranted to use a gender neutral pronoun for 'hirs', which is the 3rd person pronoun for our hypothetical person, for example. So we would use these pronouns when there is a need to describe a person without gender. But if someone claims to be without gender, then the claim itself is ambiguous, since hir is just not familiar with hirself.

    Then we have 'ze', a person without gender, while 'hir' is the 2nd person(al) pronoun. So now have them in order: ze (1st), hir (2nd), and hirs (3rd). These are the gender neutral pronouns of the singular variety. And the same could be done for plurals, which they themselves do not use because this group of unfamiliar youths is not a community as of yet. One day when hirs become one, then what need will there be for 'them'?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

on Blogging

   I would like to take the time to talk about blogging in general. What is blogging? What is a blog? Why blog? Why not tweet instead? All of these questions deal with our need to send out our thoughts to nameless people, who may or may not know us personally, and so there is an element of danger that I would like to address now.

   The danger of blogging is that once you have reached a comfortable level of influence among your audience, then there is the temptation to scale back your efforts because you feel that you have over-stretched yourself. You feel that your thoughts have influenced someone else, so that you must find a place to hide to not let your audience know about anything else that you might have to say. In other words, your audience has a chance to talk back to you thru the comments box and that could be worrisome for some folks. (The vision never dies.)

   Now there was a time when this sort of thing happened to me. I put up material from A&O Ministries, a Christian apologetics organization, that was about textual critical issues over the confessions of faith that we as Reformed churches confess. There was a commenter who wanted to challenge me about my sources, so I went back to my sources to find out that he was not seeing the entire picture of where we were at. So I told him that I had a lot more resources than I was letting on. And the commentator had not replied ever since I responded to him (her?) about that issue.

  So I would recommend taking time to get a sense of who your audience is before you post on your blog because then you will be better equipped to answer them, if they respond back to you. That is to say, when you blog, assume that your audience has some idea about what you are talking about, right? Otherwise, I guess that this medium could be used a journal, but who wants to read other folk's personal info on the Internet? So stay nameless as possible on the internetworks.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


    Do you know what love is? Some people say that love is feeling that is found in one's gut, when you consider a person whom you know about. Others say that love is an action that drives you to move on a person's behalf. For example, if you know that the person whom you love is in trouble, then you would move on the behalf of this person (with gender) to rescue them from danger. So, love, for now, can be described as a feeling that moves you to preform an action on behalf of your beloved.

  Let us think about another sonnet from Shakespeare, the bard that we all (just me) talk about here on this blog. Let's consider Sonnet 43:

1.  When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see,
2.  For all the day they view things unrespected;
3.  But when I sleep, in dreams they look on thee,
4.  And darkly bright, are bright in dark directed.
5.  Then thou, whose shadow shadows doth make bright,
6.  How would thy shadow's form form happy show
7.  To the clear day with thy much clearer light,
8.  When to unseeing eyes thy shade shines so!
9.  How would, I say, mine eyes be blessed made
10. By looking on thee in the living day,
11. When in dead night thy fair imperfect shade
12. Through heavy sleep on sightless eyes doth stay!
13. All days are nights to see till I see thee,
14. And nights bright days when dreams do show thee me.

At first I note how my computer wants to correct the bard. I guess he made a spelling error.

    So the poet thinks about what love is. Under the shadow of night, he thinks about his lover. This is seen through the setting where the bard is dreaming about his lover by looking at their 'shadow's form', which is a phrase meaning the lover's presence that, with irony. brings light to the poet's sight. Love, described here with shadowy imagery, is unpacked as a metaphor. They are eyes that bring light to 'the living day'. So love makes everything turn bright from the point of view of the beloved.

   Love, then, can only make sense from your lover's point of view. It is a pair of eyes that can see the world, even though it is dark, since light is brought forth from them, the eyes. So if we want love, we have to see through the eyes of our beloved. Then, love, from this meditation is more than what we first thought it was. It requires almost a second sight that we lack of ourselves. We require another set of eyes to see the world around us to feel love.