20 September 2014

Irritatingly Overspiced Internet Link Sausages

I'm not irascible. I'm rather permanently irasced.

  • For the thirtieth anniversary of a groundbreaking TV sitcom (for whatever that's worth), let's hear it for Bill Cosby. Perhaps Dr Cosby — an athlete himself at Temple, as an undergraduate — understands those prominent in football better than one would expect. Just substitute "football hero" for "cocaine" and let Dr Cosby explain the obvious pitfall... which is the best explanation I can come up with for the NFL, NCAA, and FIFA administrations — and too damned many of the players. However much I love the games themselves and respect the prowess of many of the athletes, I lose almost all of that respect in the face of so much other crap. I deal with the dubious participants in music, publishing, and theater (both stage and cinema) in the day job... and the sleaze factor is lower, despite the prevalence — a near majority — of, umm, intensified personalities.
  • After being stationed there for several years, I found this description of a vile, bigoted, unAmerican Oklahoma politician's behavior all too unsurprising, indeed predictable. After observing the treatment of our Saudi allies/customers, there for training on AWACS, when they ventured off-base, and the treatment of other non-evangelical-protestant people — including servicemembers and their families — ranging from the obvious targets (Jews, atheists, agnostics) to the less-obvious (fellow-protestant Mormons and nonevangelical Methodists) and the disturbingly sectarian (faithful Catholics), not to mention the melanin-enhanced, my eyebrow didn't even twitch at that story. I have a low tolerance for intolerance that I try desperately to suppress — usually, but not always, successfully — every time someone I don't know tries to intervene for my soul (it's over thirty years too late — the devil has even paid off the mortgage and owns it free and clear!), but this sort of nonsense really makes it difficult.
  • The results are in, and Scotland will not (immediately) become fully independent of the United Kingdom. <SARCASM> That also (temporarily) ends the possibility that an independent Scotland would adopt the Unicorn as its new unit of currency, even if — in stereotypical depictions of Scots, particularly from the mid-20th century — a unit of currency was as illusory (and elusive) to the average Scot as any other unicorn. </SARCASM>
  • On a slightly lighter note, an article on the purported pitfalls of footnotes is actually about the pitfalls of citation form and format... and what that does to clear writing. At least Mr Parks isn't stuck dealing with default citation forms that don't relegate the citations to notes where they can be looked up, but embeds them inline — in string citations — where they are far more likely to disrupt the reader's understanding of the substance than to illuminate. Like, say, legal citation, <SARCASM> which was obviously invented as a way to save on the cost of typesetting (no smaller characters, no varying page lengths/borders, etc.) </SARCASM>. Unfortunately, I don't have a good citation for that assertion... but there's a meme (myth?) out there that it also explains many of the peculiarities of Chicago Manual of Style citation system.

    That said, there remains at least one excellent reason to retain some method of what we in the law call "pinpoint citations" (citations that pull up the exact location within a work of the passage supporting the point made): Not all citations meet excrutiating standards of accuracy, and pinpointing can later be important to uncover those inaccuracies. See, e.g., District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 128 S. Ct. 2783, 2798–2801 (2008) (historical research of dubious accuracy as expounded in a "non-official" edition, which remains frustratingly "current" due to the extreme and unjustified delays in issuing the official edition); Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., 510 U.S. 569, 580–81 (1994) (definition of "parody" that is nearly a self-parody); see generally any copyright case relying upon the late Justice Story without acknowledging his limited understanding of creation as a process.