30 August 2010

Paging Dr Szell...

[01 Sep 2010 — technical problem preventing display corrected]
  • DC performances of Hamlet should be interesting. Especially in the original Klingon.
  • Here's yet another attempt to revisit the Whorf hypothesis that fails, utterly, on two counts. First, it never acknowledges Whorf's own revisions of his theory; instead, it relies on the "strong" form presented in that notorious, largely preliminary MIT Review article (PDF), let alone revisions and fine-tuning by others. Second, it focuses solely upon the exclusionary aspect of the weak form of the hypothesis ("Language characteristics strongly influence perceptions of reality"), while ignoring the inclusionary and presumptive aspects: It's not so much that the absence of a generic concept of "snow" (allegedly) in Inuit prevents its native speakers from accepting that there such a thing as plain old "snow," but that repurposing of terms within communities prevents both consideration and communication. For example, consider "patriot"... particularly in the wake of 9/11. Or consider whether OMG, leetspeak/txting is ruining the language... or is even "new" (a century ago, cryptographers kept different frequency tables for the telegraphic and ordinary written forms of most European languages!).
  • There's one type of work that should appear only in electronic form, not in print, and it appears that the editors of that kind of work just may have caught on. The third edition of the OED may appear only electronically. Multivolume, nonnarrative reference works have never belonged in printed volumes constrained by the physical limits of contemporary printing technology and layout memes; for example, many definitions in the OED itself should be in multicolumn form to follow the parallel threads, but the work is already printed in multiple columns, so that's viewed as inappropriate.
  • The president of the RIAA laments that copyright isn't working. Umm, maybe his perspective is just a little bit warped... by the patron/author problem. Note the sense of ownership behind everything Sherman says? The problem is that the RIAA is not the owner: It is a mere transferee/rightsholder, not the author of the recordings. For that reason alone, one must discount Mr Sherman's remarks. In terms usually applied to debates on race and discrimination, Mr Sherman — and the RIAA — lack authenticity for their viewpoint. Which, now that I think about both the historical and present treatment of "black music" by the industry, may be a little bit too close to the bone.