A Fool in the Forest

A fool, a fool! I met a fool i' the forest,
A motley fool; a miserable world!
As I do live by food, I met a fool
Who laid him down and bask'd him in the sun,
And rail'd on Lady Fortune in good terms,
In good set terms and yet a motley fool.

As You Like It, Act II, Scene 7

L'homme y passe à travers des forêts de symboles
Qui l'observent avec des regards familiers.

Les Fleurs du Mal, “Correspondances”

Friday, November 07, 2003
Canadian Makes Worthwhile Music

Good day, all: today this Fool sends 60th birthday wishes to Joni Mitchell, whose music is surely one of the finer things ever to come out of the vastnesses and fastnesses of the province of Alberta.

As good as Ms. Mitchell's early albums are -- which is very good indeed -- I remain most fond of her mid- to late 70's output as she ventured more toward jazz influences and as her voice deepened and mellowed: from the horn-inflected Court and Spark through The Hissing of Summer Lawns (my nominee for Best Overtly Feminist Album Ever) to my personal favorite, the spacious and sublime collaborations with Jaco Pastorius on Hejira. "Strange pillows of my wanderlust," indeed. It's all good; be sure listen to this music again, early and often.

Thursday, November 06, 2003
The Free Things in Life Are Best

All praise the Pasadena Public Library which, in addition to many other virtues, graciously offers its patrons free wireless access to the Net. This service permits one to, say, pick up a copy of Amphigorey and, emulating Our Girl in Chicago, post an accurate version of a favorite Edward Gorey limerick:
There was a young sportsman named Peel
Who went for a trip on his wheel;
He pedalled for days
Through crepuscular haze,
And returned feeling somewhat unreal.

Jurisprudence and Branch Water

Working through some of the links I maintain over at my law-oriented site, the soon-to-be-redesigned Declarations and Exclusions, my aesthetic sense was tickled by the very attractive new title banner at Ken Lammers' CrimLaw site. Refreshing after a hard day of hitting the case reports.
Cruel to B Kind [Continuously, Even Incessantly, Updated . . .]

There's nothing like a little genteel criticism to run up the hits, is there? Aaron Haspel's and David Sucher's critiques of my aversion to the "B" word* combined to drive the traffic through here to its second-highest level ever, overmatched only by those enthusiastic homeschoolers who dropped in when I was heaping scorn on CBS News a few weeks back. This Fool is still not a high-volume destination, but the future looks bright.

Still spending most of my time in courtrooms just now, but the quantity and, one should hope, quality of posts should be on another upswing shortly. Feel free to wander the archives while you wait.

Update: We seem to have come full circle. Those of you who are taking notes will recall that this line of discussion -- call it "the B line" or, more Homerically, Linear B -- began when Gideon Strauss, whose site offers up "worldview revivalism, neocalvinist unapologetics, & zeitgeist surfing," questioned my waggish reference to "blogging" as "archaic." The latest entrant into the scuffle is Aaron Armitage of (aha!) Calvinist Libertarians.

Is some sort of Calvinist conspiracy afoot? And if so, is it as complicated a conspiracy as the one recently spotted by Colby Cosh?

And Yet Another Update: Ah hah! Aaron Armitage has responded to my conspiracy theory with . . . a full confession.

*No, the word in question is not "Bryant" or "Bean." Have you heard? the word is "blog."
Wednesday, November 05, 2003
Son of Blibbidy Blahbidy Blog, or, I Started a Joke

My post immediately below on "blog" and its variants has drawn comment and meta-comment, to which I have little to add beyond this:

1. I'm not so much shouting "Stop!" as I am asking for a do-over, knowing full well that no such opportunity is going to be coming my way. "Blog" and its variants are no doubt here to stay, and may well have more staying power than many other contemporary neologisms, e.g., broad swaths of the vocabulary sired by hip-hop or Derrida. I don't much like the word, but who asked me to? It doesn't take too much to see that the terminological opinions of two little lawyers don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. In our defense, I'll quote Fowler on neologisms in The King's English:
Most people of literary taste will say on this point 'It must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh'. They [neologisms] are Liberal-Conservatives, their liberalism being general and theoretic, their conservatism particular and practical. And indeed, if no new words were to appear, it would be a sign that the language was moribund; but it is well that each new word that does appear should be severely scrutinized.
2. For the time being and subject to the unencumbered right to be inconsistent and change my mind on the whole subject at some later date, I intend to stick with "web journal." It's an affectation, I know, but I choose to make it one of my affectations.

3. Lest I should be accused of any consistency at all on this issue, note that I only brought it up in the first place as a bit of a lark, in a piece in which I at least half-seriously praised Mickey Kaus for a neologism, "Gutenberging." That one, I predict, will not be catching on any time soon.
Sunday, November 02, 2003
Blibbidy Blahbidy Blog [Updated 11/5/03]

A truly beastly schedule lies ahead this week, and posts here will be far fewer than I would like. Before disappearing into the swamps of responsibility, another brief foray into the language:

In a brief note linking to this previous item (and we thank you, sir, for that link), Gideon Strauss writes:
George Wallace recommends 'a lengthy and articulate defense of the web journal medium (he uses the archaic term for it: 'blogging')' by Mickey Kaus in Slate. Huh? 'Blogging' an 'archaic term'?
Allow me to elucidate:

That term -- "blogging" -- seems to be here to stay, and I referred to it as "archaic" whilst my tongue rummaged about somewhat glibly in my cheek. Archaic in the literal sense it is not: it's hip it's hep it's happenin' and All The Kids Are Using It. That said, I have opted to adopt the term "web journal" in most circumstances, in lieu of "blog" and its variants. I was persuaded to make the change after reading the arguments in its favor launched by David Giacalone. I first mentioned the issue here , with links to David's original essay on the subject in connection with BloggerCon (here) and his further arguments on the subject at his own web journal, ethicalEsq? (here). As David wrote in the latter post:
Nurturers and caretakers of language do not have to accept the mindless process that begat the word "blog" and its progeny, even though it may be too late to keep teenyboppers, the hipster insiders, and the trivial users of web log technology from chronically belching "blog" and "blogging." We can still choose meaningful nomenclature -- terminology that best suits the actual format of our web sites and that actually communicates a meaning. "Blog" is the equivalent of slang: yes it belongs in the dictionary, but it should not crowd other (and better) terminology for the same concept.

As new formats and technologies are created, let's remember that we are also creating and sharing a verbal legacy. If the goal is better communication that leads to better understanding and wider use of the new inventions, jargon and lingo and four-letter neologisms just won't do.
And there you have it. Next question?

[Update: Well, hush my mouth: professional commitments kept me far away from computers through the day yesterday, so I have only just seen Aaron Haspel's comments. Thanks as always for noticing, Aaron. More articulate reply to follow.

Thanks too to Rick Coencas for being the first to bring my attention to Aaron's piece. And I see David Sucher has two cents to spare as well. At this rate, we'll be arguing over architecture at any moment, and that way madness lies.]