Archive for the Writing Category

Buy A Book? I’ll Pass. Read A Book? I’ll Play. Oh, And Happy National Book Month! (September 30, 2019)

Posted in Analog Knowledge Devices, Book Reference, Writing on September 30, 2019 by e-commentary.org

. . .

K          “I passed on the purchase.  Getting it autographed did not make it real or personal or real personal.  At program after presentation after conference after low residency MFA discussion group, the honest and candid authors, sometimes fueled with spirits, concede that they are not writing a work sharing their musings with other kindred spirits, they are manufacturing a product for a specific targeted market.  The gauntlet and assembly line of editors, reviewers, focus group coordinators and MBAs hone and hammer the finished product to close the deal.”

J          “They are not saying ‘this is what I think and feel and believe’, they are saying ‘this is what I think and feel and believe you want to read and buy’ right now.”

. . .

J          “Look at the big picture.  They write in a country not on a blank slate.  But America is not a country, it is a country club with very few admitted members.  Everyone else is a consumer – not a citizen – who survives by treating everyone else like a consumer to be plucked and plundered.  We don’t even realize it.  We don’t even get it.”

K          “A Racket not a Republic.  I get that everything from the cover to the concluding line is cunningly and carefully calculated to close the deal.”

J          “I don’t want to deal.”

. . . 

K          “A number of musicians in the 60’s who penned songs of rebellion later admitted they were only writing and singing and foisting a product that would sell to a receptive market.”

J          “At least at one point in their lives they are revealing themselves to their audience, albeit at the terminus.  Of course, it you really write what you think and what you feel and what you believe, you are not likely to be read and may be banned if you stumble upon or dabble with the Truth.”

K          “There is always that.”

. . .

J          “Used books start out as new books.  Someone does have to buy the new ones to create the used ones.”

. . .  

J          “I wonder how many folks develop their weltanschauung based in part not on what an author says but on what the ‘Couloir Notes’ say the author says.”

K          “A friend’s mom asked her son to deliver one of the legal ‘Cliff’s Notes’ on ‘Property Law’ in a brown paper bag after hours so that she would know what her students were really studying and ingraining.”

. . .

K          “With a book in hand, the content cannot be changed.  With a collection of electrons in space, the content cannot be protected.  I remain a big fan of the Analog Knowledge Devices despite the inherent limitations.”

J          “The AKD is number one in my AKD.”

. . .

[See “Paging Big Brother:  In Amazon’s Bookstore, Orwell Gets a Rewrite” in “The New York Times” by Cave Streitfeld dated August 19, 2019 and “It’s a Fact:  Mistakes Are Embarrassing the Publishing Industry” in “The New York Times” by Alexandra Alter dated September 22, 2019.]

[See the e-commentary at “Artistes And Integrity (July 29, 2013)”, “Writin’ (February 17, 2014)”, “So Many Words, So Few Ideas (Sept. 21, 2009)”, “‘Analog Knowledge Devices’ (‘AKD’):  The Next ‘Currency’ (July 10, 2017)”, “Writing The Long Song (September 26, 2011)”, “On Writin’ And Livin’ And Laborin’ (September 4, 2017)”, “On Standards & Quality (July 20, 2015)” and “Brave 1984 Farm: The Best Of All Possible Worlds (March 19, 2012)”.]

Bumper stickers of the week:

October – National Book Month

You can judge a book by its cover!

Judge a book by its cover!

Judge a book by its content!

Choose books not bigotry

“You cannot alter a printed book without the reader knowing.  A missing page, a changed word will all be revealed.  Not so with digital books.  They can be altered without a trace.”  Isaac Asimov

“Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression.  But in Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history.  As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.  What Orwell feared were those who would ban books.  What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one.  Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information.  Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism.  Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us.  Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.  Orwell feared we would become a captive culture.  Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy.  As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.”  In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain.  In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure.  In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us.  Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us.”  Neil Postman

On Writin’ And Livin’ And Laborin’ (September 4, 2017)

Posted in Book Reference, Society, Work, Writing on September 4, 2017 by e-commentary.org

. . .

W2       “Seems to me that one is best advised to ‘Live life’ first and foremost.  If the writing thing does not work out, then one has lived life.  If the writing thing does work out, then one can write about the life one has lived.”

W1       “And about the things that terrify you and satisfy you and mystify you and pacify you.”

. . .

W2       “Live and write.  Write and live.  Works for me.  Plays for me.”

W1       “Is writing also living?  . . .  He not busy writing is busy dying?”

W2       “Works for me.”

W1       “Play is for me.”

. . .

[Labor Day]

[See the e-commentary on the art and craft of writing at “Writin’ (February 17, 2014)”, the longing to write at “Writing The Long Song (September 26, 2011)”, the absence of standards and quality today at “On Standards & Quality (July 20, 2015)”, the love of ideas at “A Nerd You Know You Are (June 7, 2010)” and the role of the thinker/writer at “Contrarianism, Revisionism and Iconoclasm:  On The Path To Truth Or Trailing The Truth? (September 19, 2016)” among other e-commentary.]

Bumper stickers of the week:

Live life; life lived

Live Life and Die Death;

Don’t Live Death and Die Life.

Live to learn; learn to live

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life.  A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”  Mark Twain

“Not being heard is no reason for silence.”  Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

A “Journalist” Declares War On Journalists . . . And Journalism (November 28, 2016)

Posted in Blog, Cyberactivities, Digital, Facebook, Google, Internet, Journalism, Newspapers, Press/Media, Truth, War and Wall Street Party, Writing on November 28, 2016 by e-commentary.org

. . .

K          “The article may be the single most outrageous and egregious defamatory screed in the history of American journalism.”

J          “And it is irresponsible, inaccurate, unfounded, unfair and wrong.”

. . .

J          “The corporate media are now at war with independent commentators.  It is all about money and power.  The corporate players see a growing challenge to their hegemonic control of opinion and the profits that flow from purveying and controlling opinion.” 

K          “He indicted 200 sites on the basis of a website that is dubious at best.  I doubt he even uploaded a dozen of the sites. Review a few of them.  Charles Hugh Smith over at ‘Of Two Minds’ ventures trenchant commentary with supporting graphs and tables and light asides about life in Hawaii.  Chris Hedges and the folks at ‘Truthdig’ provide more substance and depth than ‘Newsweek’ and ‘Time’ in their prime and actually ferret out the Truth.  Yves Smith and the ‘Naked Capitalism’ team offer thoughtful and thought-provoking essays and commentary and have supplanted the ‘Wall Street Journal’ as America’s leading financial news source.”

J          “And interject cute pictures of puppies and other critters.  However, the ‘Tyler Durden’ chap at ‘Zero Hedge’ is the edgy and enigmatic bad boy who must be sampled cum grano salis.  The motley assemblage occasionally strays near the truth, yet there is a dark and disturbing undertone.  The right-leaning websites are also under assault.”

K          “The title of the ‘Ron Paul Institute For Peace and Prosperity’ directly challenges the one political party system in America – the ‘War and Wall Street Party’ system.  Wall Street is precluding and preventing Americans from achieving prosperity.”

J          “Both Paul Craig Roberts and David Stockman held positions in Republican administrations and now challenge the neo-liberal economic policy and neo-conservative foreign orthodoxy strangling the Republic.” 

K          “The author of the article goes for the throat and challenges each author’s patriotism.”  

. . .

K          “Ben Norton and Glenn Greenwald cogently and succinctly characterize the assault in their observation that the ‘Washington Post Disgracefully Promotes A McCarthyite Blacklist From A New, Hidden And Very Shady Group.’  The paper I delivered has so deteriorated over the decades.”

J          “Yet something funky and disturbing is going on out there.  We are in a new era of ‘antisocial media’ concocted by admixing Facebook and Google into a vile and evil brew dispensed anonymously.  A journalist getting it fundamentally wrong does not aid in getting it right.”

. . .

Bumper stickers of the week:

So many words, so little Truth

Facebook + Google = Trouble

Mass Media Breeds Mass Deception

Blogging Bloggingly About Blogs:  A Thing In Search Of A Name (October 31, 2016)

Posted in Blog, Cyberactivities, Journalism, Newspapers, Press/Media, Writing on October 31, 2016 by e-commentary.org

. . .

L          “Anything that flashes on the handy dandy device is assigned the moniker by default.”

M         “Some things called ‘blogs’ that inhabit the thing called the ‘blogosphere’ have become nuanced enough to require another name.”

. . .

L          “‘Blog’ like ‘smog’ is a portmanteau created from ‘web’ and ‘log’ and characterizes most personal doodlings presented on the w. w. web.  A log simply collects basic information such as the ‘miles per gallon’ of one’s De Soto or the ‘average temperatures in June’ for the last ten years in De Soto County.”

M         “The thing styled a ‘blog’ is also threatening for some in the traditional media.  ‘Things have expanded so much,’ Dennis Ryerson, the editor of ‘The Indianapolis Star’, said on June 17, 2010 or thereabouts, I believe.  ‘Forty years ago, newspapers ran opinion pieces by a lot of columnists, most of whom were in Washington.  They had a good following and were widely respected.  But now anyone with a cheap computer can become a columnist or a pundit.  The definition has changed.  More people are in the game right now.’  However, the universe of products on the screen is much more promising than he laments.”

L          “He is right that a person with a modicum of talent may attract a viewer who will click on the site for fifteen seconds, if the site continues to confirm the viewer’s worldview.  On the other hand, so many voices that are silenced by the overriding economic concerns of a newspaper or magazine are provided a venue.”

. . .

M         “The typical blog is raw information sans analysis.  What happens when there is the pretense of analysis?  And what if the pretense is realized?” 

L          “Calling it a ‘log’ or a ‘blog’ or ‘smog’ is no longer correct or helpful or insightful.  So what is it?”

M         “A contest.  On the world wide web.  For a new word or phrase.  That’s what we need.  There is enough talent to come up with a workable word or phrase.  The effort will also generate interest.”

. . .

L          “How about ‘blogotrapezoid’?”

. . .

[See the e-commentary at “The Great Google Wall (June 27, 2016)” and other e-commentary on the Internet, etc.] 

Bumper stickers of the week:

Have a contented Halloween

Today the lint was different than yesterday and at the same time it was the same.

Contrarianism, Revisionism And Iconoclasm:  On The Path To Truth Or Trailing The Truth? (September 19, 2016)

Posted in Truth, Writing on September 19, 2016 by e-commentary.org

. . .

X          “The orthodoxy often if not usually serves the interests of those with money and power.  The orthodoxy often if not usually needs to be confronted and challenged.  Simply asserting a contrary argument is often a step somewhat toward the right direction somewhat on the right path yet is often incomplete and inadequate.”

Y          “Contrarianism, revisionism, iconoclasm, you name it, are part of the counter narrative, yet they may be counterproductive if they lead one to conclude that there are only two opposite and opposed arguments.  Truth may be found somewhere along the continuum.”

X          “An argument that inserts ‘not’ in one sentence and deletes the ‘not’ from another sentence is not complete and adequate.”

Y          “Unless it is?  Yet when you need to generate a Ph.D. thesis, you may be able to get away by inserting ‘not’ in one sentence and deleting the ‘not’ from another sentence.”

. . .

X          “Take an extreme position and then get cited and booked by those ostensibly providing a balanced presentation.”

Y          “Take an extreme position in a negotiation and possibly move the final outcome closer to your position.”

. . .

X          “Some synthesis replete with nuance, condition and reservation is necessary to stray near the resolution.”

Y          “Sounds . . . so nuanced, conditional and reserved.  And yet unnatural for humans.”

. . .

X          “You need to inject the word ‘Manichean’ into the mix to sound like you know what you are saying.”

Y          “Or ‘paradigm’ to sound sufficiently pedantic.”

. . .

Y          “But what if the truth is not found along the conventional continuum.”

. . .

X          “A little balance of light and dark as we approach the Equinox is appropriate.”

. . .    

[See the e-commentary “On Standards & Quality (July 20, 2015).”]  

Bumper sticker of the week:

The Middle Way may not have as much traffic at this hour

A Decade Of Fun (January 5, 2015)

Posted in Blue States / Red States, Writing on January 5, 2015 by e-commentary.org

. . .

S          “Accuracy, Brevity and Clarity. Guidance from the handbook for ham operators.”

J          “Abstruse, Bloviated and Cryptic.  . . .  On occasion?”

S          “Hamming it up.  On more than one occasion.”

. . .

S          “One week a law review, the next an economic journal, followed by a foreign policy tract and then a social discourse.  And every week, ‘e-commentary’ aspired to be a weekly literary adventure.”

. . .

S          “Tom Clancy observed that most military and defense secrets are publicly available in ‘Aviation Week & Space Technology’ magazine and other sources.  He stirred plot and characterization into the mix to cook a potboiler with insight.”

J          “An international thriller every few weeks this year?  That should be thrilling.”

S          “Every week is a thriller.  First understand the ‘Box.’  Assemble all the available and inscrutable and obscure and arcane information in a pile.  Connect two dots cautiously and carefully pencil in to craft the first line.  Proceed with caution and care to connect a third dot and proffer a plane.  Pen the right lines, erase connections between the wrong dots, and then distill, titrate and edit to craft a convincing and compelling production.”

. . .

S          “If I could see the bar, I raised it.  And then raised it again for good measure until it was out of sight.  And measured twelve times, wrote once.  The final product may be . . . measured and out of sight?”

. . .

S          “After ten years of careful observation, ‘blue’ and ‘red’ not only cannot see eye-to-eye, they cannot see each other and cannot stand each other and cannot sit down together.”

J          “They just do not play well with others.”

. . .

J          “Forget it.  ‘Conservatism-cum-a-four-digit-I-Q’ as a political, economic and social movement will never catch on.  You only get one word.”

S          “That gets one back to the fundamental challenge.  Why even try?  They say there is nothing that one can do.  They are right.  Yet I write.  Is that absurd or insane?”

. . .

S          “And a lot of fun.”

. . .

[See the discussion at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/05/arts/writers-say-they-feel-censored-by-surveillance.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news.%5D

[See the e-commentary at Writin’ (February 17, 2014) and So Many Words, So Few Ideas (Sept. 21, 2009).]

Bumper stickers of the week:

investigate, interpolate, extrapolate; titrate, distill, edit

Measure twelve times, write once

Peg it, and peg the fun meter.

“Peak Advertising” (November 3, 2014)

Posted in Consumerism, Economics, Elections, Facebook, Football, Google, Minimum Wage, Occupy Movement, Peak Advertising, Politics, Press/Media, Social Media, Sports, Television, Voting, Wages, Writing on November 3, 2014 by e-commentary.org

. . .

1          “‘Mt. / Everest / Sherpas / Prefer / Burma / Shave.’”

2          “Turns out that some of the first ‘six-word memoirs’ were crafted by English majors laboring for BBDO.”

. . .

1          “‘Peak Advertising’ occurs when all of a person’s senses are assaulted all of the time with non-stop commercial advertising.”

2          “That is the collective business plan of all the social media platforms.  They are premised on their presumed ability to bombard the right demographic with saturation advertising all the time.”

1          “At some time, the marginal utility of each additional fusillade will not provide any return because the consumer has nothing to spend and no source of additional debt.  What if they don’t have any more money?”

2          “They have huge advertising budgets.”

. . .

2          “Well, right, those people may be out of money.”

. . .

1          “If the television is viewed as a mirror rather than a monitor, what should one make of a string of ads for fortified barley soda interspersed with those huckstering elixirs for erectile dysfunction.”

2          “Potents for potency.  The medium is also a microscope into the ‘Land of Skinny People’ where the people have BMIs below 22 and definitely do not reflect their viewers.  They hawk products that make a person fat ninety percent of the time and concoctions that purport to make a person skinny ten percent of the time.”

1          “When others talk about ‘thinking inside the box’ are they referring to the big flashing box in the home and the little flashing box in hand?”

2          “A wide body watches a wide out on a wide screen doing battle for his team and town.  The viewer should go out and do.”

. . .

1          “Seventy percent of the economy is attributed to consumer spending.  The total amount and the percentage of consumer spending in the next few years will be revealing.”

2          “Hard to spend if you have no money and no one will provide any more credit.”

. . .

1          “One thought might be to have parents lease a newborn’s forehead to tattoo an advertisement.  You can’t let an unbleached beachhead canvas go untrammeled.”

2          “Start young.  The kid surely would develop an affinity for the product or service.”

. . .

1          “Anyone in a political battleground state has been subject to ceaseless fusillades of hate and fear from all quarters for months.  In interviews, voters criticize the negative campaigning and yet in the voting booth vote in favor of those behind the vicious attacks.  The candidates provide what the public really wants.  Each political battle is part of the ceaseless war in American politics to own the government with its ability to plunder from the populace.”

2          “I vote to be a non-combatant.”

. . .

Bumper stickers of the week:

Mt. / Everest / Sherpas / Prefer / Living / Wage

Occupy Namche Bazaar

Namaste

Peak Oil, Peak Water, Peak Land, Peak Advertising, Peak Peaks

“Don’t mind your make-up, you’d better make your mind up.”  Frank Zappa

“If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.”  Mark Twain

A ‘tax and spend’ Democrat versus a ‘no tax and spend’ Republican.

Vote