Tuesday, January 13, 2009

"the pressure of language..."

so i casually read the freakonomics blog, a lot. and the other day, i casually read this article about giffen goods, i guess, and tangetially related to prostitutes and rice. and then i read feministing, and oops - i was supposed to be outraged.

interesting comments, though - i think the one i linked just now is getting right to the point. like, yes, insensitive turn of phrase. but not blatant assholery. and also, they're economists. they're the ones who [in their book, summarzied here] attribute the drop in crime in new york in the early 1990s to the drop in unwanted pregnancies after roe v. wade passed in 1972. because potential criminals aren't being born. i mean, what? i feel like that's a bigger threat to human dignity [of course, feministing doesn't get to that, but that's another post] than conjecture about the economics of the sex trade. but they go ahead and make that point, because it's supported by statistics and they're in the "hey, sorry, but we think this is causal." [that word is so awkward.] and, also, i think they're basically good people who make up statistics about college students and sweatpants. so that's why this debate was so interesting to me, i think. because i actually like the guys on the other side of the outrage, and that's not usually how i feel in this kind of situation.

i think what i originally wanted to blog about was how the language we use can change our entire meaning. how it carries implications we don't always anticipate. and how the blogosphere is CRAZY. comments are crazy. and i feel pretty open-minded [who knows what other people think of me, but i try], but i read a lot of fury out there on issues i didn't anticipate.

my employee handbook actually says something like, "communicate in person whenever possible to avoid being misunderstood." which, you know, seems sort of cumbersome in the modern world. but, point well-taken - no matter how clearly i write, how well can all of you really understand what i mean? and how many people are getting angry right now?

only semi-related - has everyone seen the multigrain cheerios commercial where the guy asks the girl if she's trying to lose weight [because she's eating mgc]? and she's all "do i look like i need to lose weight?" ahh, yes. i always try to fit the comeback, "ARE YOU CALLING ME FAT?" into conversations in which it doesn't belong. people get pretty awkward when i do that.

my current jam [and title of this post] is "the cool, cool river" by paul simon. rhythm of the saints, first of all, is an under-appreciated album. and this song is probably my favorite little-known song. give it a listen.

"i believe in the future we shall suffer no more. maybe not in my lifetime, but in yours, i feel sure..."

sigh. at present, through a glass, darkly. but then, face to face. i love that, really, that passage is about being understood...

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