josh blog

Ordinary language is all right.

One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.

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7 Sep '12 04:44:14 PM

One of my teachers from graduate school likes to use, on her syllabi, the definition of liberal education as one 'appropriate for a free person': 'The word "liberal" indicates what is appropriate for a person who has power over the direction of his own life, as opposed to what is appropriate for a person who does not'. When Kelly cites Laing when talking about his frustration with credential-focused students, I think he has in mind something to do with 'education' that's in tension with the 'liberal', per above, in 'liberal education'. We imagine full liberality in our relations to others as sometimes entailing a take-it-or-leave-it attitude, a willingness to say that it will not, right now, be with these particular people that I can get what I'm looking for, do what I want to do, give what I want to give; if I ever can, it will be elsewhere, with others, or later on, with who knows who. But a modern teacher is nearly always an officeholder; he is liable to feel that if he turns anyone away—perhaps by frankly expressing a take-it-or-leave-it attitude which leads a prospective student to leave—there may not be anyone else to discharge his sort of responsibilities. He may feel that he's supposed to be able to teach anyone. Compare: coach anyone, help anyone, lead anyone, befriend anyone, love anyone, raise anyone, advise anyone. If a bureaucrat can't help you, they may send you to another bureaucrat; good bureaucrats know who else they can send you to, or know if no bureaucrat can help you. Perhaps teachers who send students away can feel like bad bureaucrats: I'm sorry, you're gonna have to ask in some other office, we just can't help you here.

7 Sep '12 05:57:37 AM

'44. The Roman poet Catullus has no job, but the writing is what endures. Not the job. Not the scalp on the floor with brain barnacles. Is the writing labor or is it a hobby? Is fun labor? Is elocution? I'm writing to you, my friends. I'm just asking you to develop some categories regarding labor, fun, elocution. I'm actually not trying to make you all hate this book.'

7 Sep '12 05:49:03 AM

'Here's a lesson even the ancient Romans knew: if you're going to constantly have dinner with poets, eventually you'll have to read their books.'

6 Sep '12 05:59:58 AM

An introductory trope: 'My project contributes to so many different ongoing debates!'.

5 Sep '12 11:48:12 PM

Νέος ἐφ' ἡμέρῃ ἥλιος.

5 Sep '12 08:18:34 PM

I don't know anything about Robert Service, at all, but one of my prejudices is that I think people who like Robert Service's writing must do so because of some vague uplift of spirit they feel because of his name. Why, yes: Service. A fine thing!

5 Sep '12 04:15:10 PM

Autumn leaves in summer.

5 Sep '12 03:00:28 AM

'people should listen to this instead of working because this is better than their lives' —YouTube commenter

3 Sep '12 08:10:01 PM

'Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate circumstances?'