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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Qu'est-ce que c'est, cet 'Overwhelming'?

So, it has reached through my haze of ostentation that some people have found this blog a bit 'overwhelming'; hence this attempt to underween, if you follow. For sure, there's a lot of stuff around the sides of my usual waffle, but hey: this is my browser homepage so it's got plenty of the stuff i'm into. It occured to me also that the waffle itself might be something of a problem, because i have a tendency to juxtapose some fairly abstruse language with street vernacular. Some of this is purely for the love of words, but mainly because my vocabulary is a de autodidactic product of intense reading whilst also living, if not actually on the street the whole time, then close by. I try to aim for my precise meaning concisely with what i have at my disposal. One word can save a sentence. Of couse, i think it's funny sometimes too.

So i've added a Dictionary/Thesaurus/Reference search box to the table above, to compliment Urban Dictionary. It has to be said that the 'go-behind' ads from Dictionary.com can be a pain in the arse, but it streams much faster than Wiktionary (in the TEXT LINKS also) and unlike said, if you mispell a search term, it comes back with alternatives. I find this last well cool.

My spelling is actually appalling, without reference. I put this down to the fact that i had the rudiments of reading before i went to school aged 4, but once there had to learn 'ita', the 'initial teaching alphabet', which was confusing enough, but then i had to miss a bit of school aged 7, when my class mates where presumably getting whatever coaching was deemed necessary to help them with the transition to correct english spelling, because i needed a tendon graft in my right hand and also my Grandfather died. It was all made worse because i was already fairly ambivalent about 'handedness' and had to switch to my left, which i had been forced to abandon the almost equal use of (apparently it was essential that i make up my mind; the sharp application of a ruler to the hand in question being the prefered method of mediation between 'the realities' and my neuronal pathways), so it was all a bit retrograde and rebellion inspiring.

Of course, the icing on the cake was, when the cast came off and, after extensive physiotherapy, i could start to gingerly use my right hand again, the left was no longer de rigueur. I had also to 'relearn' what i'd been made to pretend to forget, as if i hadn't been reading my parents newspaper for the last 2.5 years. Looking back, i can't imagine what i could have thought, other than what i did: that it was all a, perhaps not pointless, but punctiliously challenged, waste of mine and everybody else's time and energy. As i was realising is the case with almost all human activity. I'm sure i was a difficult kid.

Oh yeah, check out the "OR PORNOLIZE IT!" link in the "DESTROY THIS BLOG!" (left sidebar) section! But not if your easily offended by foul language. It's pretty funny stuff mind.

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Blogger pocketpunk said...

so are you left handed or right handed then?

What does "juxtapose" mean.....is that a bit like "strike-a-pose"....


26/1/06 17:25  
Blogger edjog said...

It means contrast one thing against another beside it; like 'Vogue' and 'Vogon Constructor Fleet'. ;D

Had a car wreck which has left me more prominently right handed, but still fairly ambivalent, depends what i'm doing. Chopsticks or mouse with my right; fine tuning mix automation with my left.

26/1/06 19:40  
Blogger Quixotematic said...

You must have weirdly distributed brain functions. edjog. Explains much.

Why was the teaching of reading so obsessively rigid in the 70s? My mum taught me to read, pre school, but I was back to square one as soon as I started school. When I asked if I could skip ahead in the reading series (the pirate books, you may know them) I was told 'No'.


26/1/06 21:22  
Blogger Quixotematic said...

Since then, though, I have developed a strange mental block re 'ie'/'ei'.

Beer probably.

26/1/06 21:24  
Blogger edjog said...

In fairness, i don't think the drugs, especially the acid, did me any favours either, in learning to think 'normally'. Hey ho, bit late now, eh? It's words with double letters in for me, but i get the vowels in them mixed up as well. ita took no account of regional accents and i had a strong NW one until i travelled a lot, so it only takes me to be confused about one letter and i'm suddenly fucked on the vowels too.

Funnily enough though, i'm not in favour of simplified spelling. There's meaning and cross fertilization of ideas in the etymology, i reckon. I think half the trouble with a lot of the education in the 70's was that it was so mind and soul destroyingly boring! It just had little or no relevance to anything in the real world, but the fantasies on offer were tepid and patronising too.

No, i don't remember any pirate books. Actually, i hardly remember anything from the syllabus. The school i went to from 4-11 was an old church school and the classrooms were lined with old books that were completely ignored. I used to help myself and read 'em to have something to do when i'd finished my work. In fairness, they were obsessed with people 'fitting in' but after a while, i think they realised i was a lost cause and stopped trying. They used to let me bugger off to the library when i'd done my work very early.

I think the problem was, and maybe still is, that teaching methods were/are designed to tell pupils things they don't know, assuming they'll have difficulty, and it just upsets the whole plan if the child grasps them quickly or already knows. You're right though: fascists! There's no: this is what we accept as the most likely theory about this phenomenon; it's all, these are the facts, you will repeat them.

TBH, i'm disappointed that JK Rowling's work has been lauded up by so many who should be of an age to know better. Yeah, great for 5-7 year olds, but where's the tension, the drama, the latent sexuality? Conservative drivel.

27/1/06 02:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

juxtapose, pocketpunk, to present two opposite parts of an idea very close to one another works especially well in reading and writing, i think, because the brain is busy absorbing the meaning of the first part while being presented with the second...seems to stimulate thinking about all aspects of the idea...thesis, anithesis, synthesis...

and local spellings or intentional misspellings of words present an idiom which might more truely represent the speech of the reader and/or writer...and idiom drives the idiots nuts, because they don't know what to make of it!

hence we have spelling nazis and such!

27/1/06 03:16  
Anonymous some_maineiac said...

me ^above^ (as if my style wasn't recognizable, watch that button, maineiac)

27/1/06 03:18  
Blogger edjog said...

Ah yeah, spelling nazis. But then again, like i said: etymology and cross fertilisation of ideas. If you take a word like 'phallocentric', for example, it would be much simpler to spell it 'falocentric', but that would detract from its meaning.

Rather than think 'phallus' = 'cock', but in wider understanding 'upright' structures (which has social, hierarchical connotations as well as the purely physical way's our cities are constructed), and referencing typical male sexuality, à la 'thrusting', 'dominant' et al., which all point to the wider truth of the nature of the oppression of women, and also reminding us that being 'centred on one's cock' is such a fundamental male mindset that it is very difficult to overcome, we might easily just take the word 'falocentric' at face value and disaggree such a thing exists. Or even start thinking along the lines of 'fall' as in gravity assisted demise, the season, or 'fallow' (i.e. left deliberately unproductive), all of which would directly undermine the reality of the concept.

It's just such a pain up my hole that it takes me a good bit of thought to spell correctly.

27/1/06 11:50  
Anonymous some_maineiac said...

o yes, i agree falocentric,if so misspelled would lose all implicit meaning in the word, but the idiom might be any-other-word-for-the-penis-centric

and as far as your opinion on the wider meaning of the word, well, that's when you get a bit "overwhelming", mate...i am sure others besides myself get what you mean when you explain it in depth...BTW, I never considered that wider meaning of this example and I am thankful for the education...

you don't need to dumb-down for your readers, but cut them some slack...

and you would never misspell this specific example as above anyway, because of your passion for the true meaning of words...

27/1/06 17:37  
Blogger pocketpunk said...

i actually really knew what it meant.... i was just trying to inject some sad old madonna lyrics into the day .....vogue

27/1/06 19:01  
Blogger edjog said...

I think what i'm getting at is something we were getting into at shane's. If we want to engage in a constructive debate involving a complex mixture of experience, history and theory, with a view to finding new meaning and forging new intellectual concepts, all we have is language with which to do it. Art's fine, but it asks for little back, only live performance is affected by it's reception, and then only in a limited way. There may well be a subconscious discourse which may provide the motivation for future mindsets, but it is not directly participatory, hence undemocratic. Although, having said that, i'll be interested to see what shane has to say about the situationist art movement, because i think he's onto something with that.

The thing with language though is that it is the living historical record of a culture. It does change, as do the usages of words, but not so quickly that anyone who has a mind to cannot keep a grasp of the trend of meaning and draw conclusions about that trend. The reason many of our words have odd spellings is because they evolved from other languages or times when english was used differently. If we allow that to be swept away, only scholars of semantics, etymology, or ontology will actually have any real sense of how rhetoric is being used to tell plausible lies.

I used to do voluntary youth work and one time we were visited by a bloke who was there to talk about the insideous usages and effects of racism. He was well prepared and confident, knew what he was on about: i was pleased. So he gets onto language, covering the negative connotations of "Black", and went on a bold foray into how many of the terms of racial abuse originally actually meant something, which while patronising and/or xenophobic, were not charged with the hatred we see them used with today. He was the only 'black' person there. To confidently address the origins of the word nigger et al. impressed me. He also went into how some imagery and idiom is inherantly racist and did well.

He got onto the racist slur that black men are more highly sexed and unable to control themselves than other 'races'. He opined that black men were associated, on a fundamental level, with the Greek god Pan, himself the origin of the christian cloven hoofed Satan. Further, that our very word for chaos, pandemonium, is inherently racist because it associates Pan, and thus black men, with demons, Satan and uncontrolled behaviour.

But this is utter bollocks. When i politely disagreed with him (not that i think there isn't a racist agenda to a lot of language; but just that last is false), he all but accused me of being a racist. Whatever. I'll not deny having been inculcated into racism by the norms of British society. What can i say? I've lived in many multi-cultural settings: i'm doing my best.

The word 'pandemonium' comes from Milton's Paradise Lost, after his poetic licence calling the capital of Hell "Pandaemonium" where the Greek prefix 'pan' means 'all' and the Latin 'daemonium' means demon, itself derived from the Greek 'daimonion' for the same concept. So what? Racism is a problem, so what if the guy was misinformed over such an esoteric point?

Because racism is a problem. There's no point looking for a complex theory based on misinformation when trying to tackle it. Because otherwise it diverts energy from verifiable reality.

If we allow language to be stripped of its full meaning, we will be open to being told any old horseshit, without the means for many of us to recognise it as such. Also, let's have it right, that was a fairly innocuous example, but with the media in corporate thrall, what more would they foist on us with all the sincerity of a campaigning politician? They'll be telling us that "freedom is slavery" next.

Yeah, i suspected as much Pp and a little swipe at my tone?

27/1/06 19:49  
Blogger pocketpunk said...

a swipe...moi?

just thinking of ure blood pressure!

can always count on me for random crap...

random crap!!!!.....a new name for my blog praps


27/1/06 20:01  
Anonymous some_maineiac said...

those of us who know you, know how intelligent and brave you are, pocketpunk, a "facts curator", if i recall correctly?

i actually kind of like madonna, i appreciate her "fuck-off-and-die" attitude, and enjoy the girly sound of her singing voice, but i don't have any of her music...mind posting a link to the lyrics you were thinking of?

27/1/06 20:07  
Blogger pocketpunk said...

i wasnt really thinking of any lyrics...i was just being a dick and thought at that particular moment in time that "juxtapose" (and now whenever i hear this word i will hear Madonna).......sounded a bit like "strike-a-pose" which i believe Madonna sang when she was going through her "i'll screw anything" phase. Song was Vogue and involved wearing corsets and having curly perms...to be honest I just dont have room in my collection for Madonna...I have my reasons

27/1/06 20:18  
Blogger edjog said...


Toi, Pp? Oui, je pense ainsi.

27/1/06 20:25  
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22/11/09 15:02  

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