DATE: 8:01:00 AM
I have reference, therefore I am right!
Some features of out modern world are at the same time both useful and problematic. There are a lot of things we are used to in our everyday lives, and we take them for granted, or assume they are the correct way to do things, and we never think about them twice. We seldom expect them to be abused, and most of the time we don't even recognise their misuse. We assume having a witness to a crime means you can clarify the details of the crime; we don't expect the witness to be false. Our mind is set to certain things, and we hold them to measure and make sense of our life.
One of these set principles is the matter of having academic references or citations. When someone writes an article, everyone asks about his or her references: what books, what articles? Have you read the latest book/article? Despite the fact that in many cases, this might limit the imagination, having citations is a standard in the academic world.
Today, on the other hand, pseudo-academia, or those who find the "mainstream academia" a group of inflexible scholars with fossilized ideas, have taken this standard feature. Now, when you argue a point with someone about, say, about history, and you bring references from some academic figure, your opponent is very inclined to call your point of reference (for example, Fernand Braudel) a loony who was wrong all throughout his life and was particularly mistaken and misguided, and for these claims, they might bring evidence from someone who is known as Prof. "I Disagree".
This is what happened to me when I got into a conversation with someone about Edward Said. He called Said a misguided, crazy, and biased person (because he dared writing "Orientalism" and suggested that the mindset of a lot of scholars is still in the colonial times) , and his point of reference was Bernard Lewis. I thought for a second, decided to describe why I think his reference is one of the best examples of what Said meant (just read his "Muslim Discovery of Europe"), but then I realised: this guy just proved my point. This is the world in which having a reference from someone, anyone, is good enough to buy you a place among the "you are entitled to your opinion" crowd. So, I rest my case!
DATE: 4:40:00 PM
Today, I wish this weblog was black. I don't know how to say it. This is sad for me, very sad. Edward Said died this morning. Nothing else to say. All who care about humanity and those who talk about it without fear of political correctness, please just think about him for a moment.
DATE: 11:35:00 PM
Word! What Is It Good For?
Word, the basic building block of language, is also the most easily manipulated part of it. Why do we have words: to name things, to reflect and communicate ideas. Thus, words must have clear meanings.
Alas, we see that this very elementary definition of word is seldom taken into account. Arundhati Roy once said: "Language is the skin of my mind." It means, it is a the vehicle to deliver the utterings of one's mind. Words, simple or elaborate, native or foreign, are made for acheiving this goal. But they have always been, and still are, used for covering what one really means, and no one is better in conceiving this task than the politicians, the grandmasters of doublespeak.
These days, certain politicians in the world have realised that their comments, made in regards to the rest of the world and their representative body, were wrong. They realise that they went to far in discounting anyone but themselves from possessing any sense. Now, in the right world, they should go and apologise to those they offended, and try to undue the process that led the other to be so alienated. IN light of these expectations, it is amazing to read that they are "challenging" other nations to help them clean up the mess: I say the word is "asking" or "requesting". They are also "rejecting" some proposals, again, I say it should be "disagree" or "differ".
I think learning how to speak is essential for everyone, and learning to use right words at the right time is even more important. Using 'superior' words might make you feel like you are superior, but it only convinces your audience that you are inexperienced and childish.