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A Point of View: In defence of obscure words

 
    • [Raderad användare] sa...
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    • 22 apr 2012, 17:53

    A Point of View: In defence of obscure words

    BBC

    We chase "fast culture" at our peril - unusual words and difficult art are good for us, says Will Self.

    We are living in a risk-averse culture - there's no doubt about that.

    But the risk that people seem most reluctant taking is not a physical but a mental one: just as the concrete in children's playgrounds has been covered with rubber, so the hard truth about the effort needed for intellectual attainment is being softened by a sort of semantic padding...


    Read More: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17777556

  • I feel like I was just fellated.


    I agree with him.

    NO, YOU ARE NOT 'STREAMLINING' CIVILIZATION, OR SIM CITY 5, YOU'RE TRYING TO GET AS MANY MORONS AS POSSIBLE TO PLAY IT.

    Everything is fucked. I don't even know how it got like this. I WAS AWARE OF IT HAPPENING WHEN I WAS JUST GOING INTO SECONDARY SCHOOL.

    This whole 'let's cater to the lowest common denominator and ignore the gifted, 50% of people in universities, everyone wins at sports day' bullshit is tragic.



    Life isn't fair. We are unequal, in so many ways. Some never reach their first birthday. Whatever. No reason to run a country (or the entire fucking race) into the ground in the name of making people feel good.






    Was gonna change race, there used shorthand for HUMAN RACE, to species. But... I think even with this edit, someone might get butthurt. That's always cute.



    Oh no, wait. No one ever comes here.

    • lawynd sa...
    • Abonnent
    • 23 apr 2012, 19:04
    Will Self is a smug prick, but I can argue with barely any of his points. The final straw came for me when I purchased copies of The Hobbit, The Magician's Uncle and The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe for my five year-old niece as Christmas presents, under the impression that my sister would read them to her as bedtime stories. None of them are difficult novellas, although the poor prose of The Hobbit is a challenge until you are used to it. Fast forward a few weeks and my sister had given up because they were 'too hard'. I almost hung myself then and there.

    Official recorder of Schrödinger's Tampon.

    Quote of the moment - "They tried to get me to eat haggis but I couldn't stomach it."
    • dankine sa...
    • Användare
    • 23 apr 2012, 20:50
    lawynd said:
    Will Self is a smug prick, but I can argue with barely any of his points. The final straw came for me when I purchased copies of The Hobbit, The Magician's Uncle and The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe for my five year-old niece as Christmas presents, under the impression that my sister would read them to her as bedtime stories. None of them are difficult novellas, although the poor prose of The Hobbit is a challenge until you are used to it. Fast forward a few weeks and my sister had given up because they were 'too hard'. I almost hung myself then and there.


    wow... :/
    not to cause offense, but that is truly shocking.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities"
    "I don't want to believe, I want to know"

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    • lawynd sa...
    • Abonnent
    • 23 apr 2012, 20:55
    No offence taken. I now read them to my niece whenever I visit...she's far too smart to be held back my my dumb-arse of a sister.

    Official recorder of Schrödinger's Tampon.

    Quote of the moment - "They tried to get me to eat haggis but I couldn't stomach it."
    • dankine sa...
    • Användare
    • 23 apr 2012, 21:04
    or even offence. playing on my mind while I made dinner :/


    Glad to hear you take it upon yourself. Books and reading are such joys that as many people as possible should be exposed to them, and hopefully come to love them.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities"
    "I don't want to believe, I want to know"

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    • [Raderad användare] sa...
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    • 23 apr 2012, 23:34
    lawynd said:
    Will Self is a smug prick, but I can argue with barely any of his points. The final straw came for me when I purchased copies of The Hobbit, The Magician's Uncle and The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe for my five year-old niece as Christmas presents, under the impression that my sister would read them to her as bedtime stories. None of them are difficult novellas, although the poor prose of The Hobbit is a challenge until you are used to it. Fast forward a few weeks and my sister had given up because they were 'too hard'. I almost hung myself then and there.
    I'll be buggered...


    There was a news story a while back on breakfast news (I know...awful) about parents afraid to tell their children fairy tales because of the horror and gore.

    Well really that style of writing is still used and influences found in Pratchett and JK Rowling novels and they're relatively popular.

    Imagine parents deeming Dahl to be too risque and difficult? My childhood was practically governed by Dahl =D

    I wasn't often read to as a child, I just picked up books to read, was encouraged to visit the library in school. I got the Narnia books as a gift from my aunt, could never thank her enough for introducing me to fantasy and fiction.

    Dad listened to Hitch hiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio plays when I was young, though i never got into audio I did pick up the books some years later in secondary school.

    I love Will Self's smugness and indifference actually, just comes with the territory.

    • lawynd sa...
    • Abonnent
    • 25 apr 2012, 18:26
    Like most umbrage I take at people, it's how they portray themselves. He's far smarter than I'll ever be, but that's no reason to adopt a supercilious air of smug superiority. I have a couple of friends working on their PhDs in English of varying stripes who are also incredibly smart like Self, but they don't beat other people over the head with it. Instead they actually try and engage and be passionate about it. If the day ever came that everyone agreed with Self and read all the same things, he'd hate that too. Twat.

    Official recorder of Schrödinger's Tampon.

    Quote of the moment - "They tried to get me to eat haggis but I couldn't stomach it."
    • [Raderad användare] sa...
    • Användare
    • 26 apr 2012, 22:20
    I keep reading 'Self' and think everyone is talking about me... :3

    I'm always afraid of being labelled 'a book snob' (i.e. the sort of person who vocally disregards any other medium but praises the superiority of books) but I do honestly believe books are one of mans greatest inventions, aside from plumbing (you think about it for a minute ;p ) I definately with lawynd on this. I certainly don't regard myself as a smart person. I can spew forth obscura like no-ones business and understand alternative perspectives on most subjects you could care to mention, but i'm one of the least practical people you'd ever have the misfortune to meet.

    Its probably not easy, if you are an intelligent individual, upholding your own thoughts and beliefs against the grain of general ignorance without alienating people. I'm always grateful that I was able to read, that my parents encouraged (not pressured, which is also important) to read books. Its solidified one of my earliest obsessions into something that surprisingly few people are able to do these days - just sit down a read a book. It sounds almost to shjockingly dumb a statement to make but I can't help notice that a worryingly high number of my generation simply don't read books at all.

    Its nice to be able to pick up essentially any book, any essay, text, story, etc and be confident enough to grasp how to articulate whatever ideas or notions lie within. Its nice to be able to judge a book or article by my own sentiments and appropriate anything into my own baseline knowledge. Even if I don't enjoy or even like something i'm reading its never because its "too hard".

    But inversely, I don't wish to cause offence to lawynds sister and I think its a little bit unfair to judge her too harshly. There must be other things she excels at. My sister Sophie is dyslexic and admits she doesn't enjoy reading at all. In her case reading really is a hard thing to do. She described her attempts at doing so to me as being like "a jumbled pile of letters that aren't connected to one another". She can recognize many words by their shape alone, but when they come together to form a sentence she is often unable to make distinctions between where one word begins and where another ends.

    Despite all of this she is, in my admittedly biased opinion, brilliant. She is far more creative then i'll ever be. I can prattle on about the merits of 'found object' art and articulate my fascination with conceptual/critical thinking till the cows come home. Sophie though can fold paper into things that would bewilder mere unartistic mortals like you and I. She fears having to write/type more than a paragraph yet can, almost effortlessly, turn her hand to so many crafts and mediums that i'm left occasionally speechless. She once painted a photorealist portrait of my dad that was so utterly lifelike that I momentarily assumed Chuck Close had done it. What left me truly godsmacked was that she hadn't really done anything like it before.

    But then its not just Sophies creativity that amazes me. My mom is equally expert in textiles. My actual practical grasp of how she turns bits of fabric and string into large geometrically patterned blankets and infants clothing might as well amount to witchcraft. Its not just creativity that impresses me either, people amaze me for being able to engage with the world in a way I don't think i'll ever be able to. My sister Katie isn't particularly creative but she is the most social creature i've ever met. She actually likes people and wants their company, she enjoys working with and engaging with almost everybody. This mindset is almost alien to me - impressively so, but alien nethertheless.

    My brother Jon is arguably the most naturally (almost effortlessly) numerical person i've ever met, he can switch between everyday maths and high-end physics in a single breath - and still manages to be a very social 'normal' blokey bloke that works in a warehouse! Numbers come easily to some people but I confess to finding maths "off the cuff" as it were, a struggle. My brother Rob manages to turn his natural creativity into something practical and lucrative, he works in the Birmingham jewlllery qaurter for a company that design awards and trophies - he has the best bits of all my siblings traits!
    And as for my dad he is (thankfully) as uncreative as I am. Yet I still look up to him because he is one of the most sober-natured and emotionally calm individuals I personally know - nothing seems to faze or worry him. As a chronic worrier and self-reflexive bellend I can't help but be awed by this.

    Having typed all that down I can't help feel that I simply don't excel at anything, and that fact depresses me somewhat. I pride myself on not being an impressionable person, and being an instinctive skeptic of all dogma, not entirely subscribing to any one doctrine or philosophy - "a pessimist in an informed optimist" as some say. What reading has taught me to do is to detect flaws and deadends in every discipline, to understand that they all have a place but none are entirely unquestioningly right or wrong. But somehow, on an everyday going-about-'yer-business life it doesn't seem like enough.

    ~

    Holy Bat Jesus i've rambled on a bit! Sorry about that...

    • lawynd sa...
    • Abonnent
    • 27 apr 2012, 18:47
    Great post mate. =)

    Sadly though, as much as it pains me to say, I don't really have a good word to defend my sister with. Don't get me wrong, I love her to bits, but she's a waster of epic proportions. I'm not going into specifics, but through other members of my family and frequent trips to see her, I'm taking a very active role in my niece's upbringing and education. For a five year-old, she's amazingly self-aware and has a fantastic grasp of vocabulary already. With the right guidance and tutelage, she'll make me look like a moron eventually, and I'm not about to let my sister's apathy damage her opportunities in life.

    Official recorder of Schrödinger's Tampon.

    Quote of the moment - "They tried to get me to eat haggis but I couldn't stomach it."
    • [Raderad användare] sa...
    • Användare
    • 28 apr 2012, 00:02
    I get some people can't read, my girlfriend can't and she's one of the smartest people i know.

    Amazing pianist and classically trained singer. She reads music like breathing air. Effortless.

    Her voice is incredible, she can sing popular music now too. When she sings Adele, I can't tell the difference, except Michaela is better holding the notes.

    I think it irks her sometimes when she finds me reading a newspaper or book, seems like she can't understand how I can sit and read for hours on end.

    At some age you know when a child finds reading a chore and you've got to foster whatever they are good at while driving home the need to at least get a pass grade in English/Maths.

    • [Raderad användare] sa...
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    • 30 apr 2012, 08:48
    lawynd said:
    Great post mate. =)

    Sadly though, as much as it pains me to say, I don't really have a good word to defend my sister with. Don't get me wrong, I love her to bits, but she's a waster of epic proportions. I'm not going into specifics, but through other members of my family and frequent trips to see her, I'm taking a very active role in my niece's upbringing and education. For a five year-old, she's amazingly self-aware and has a fantastic grasp of vocabulary already. With the right guidance and tutelage, she'll make me look like a moron eventually, and I'm not about to let my sister's apathy damage her opportunities in life.

    Can't say fairer than that. I'm glad that my two young nieces have my brother Rob as a father and his wife Louise as a mother. Both are very talkative and encourage the girls to speak and learn. In conversations Isabella (nearly 5) is remarkably indepedent and opinonated. Even Autumn (who is just over 1 year) 'talks' abundantly, even though its still mostly gibberish and shouting :p

    • Bloopy sa...
    • Forum Moderator
    • 1 maj 2012, 00:11
    When I was a kid I read a few books that were a bit beyond my reading level. Treasure Island comes to mind. As much as I like obscure words, I couldn't be bothered looking them up, because I promptly forget the meaning again anyway.

    I like hearing people use obscure words, even if I don't understand them. The sports commentator Chris Jewell uses a few.

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