I finished up this programming assignment that’s been kicking my ass the past week. It’s here, if you’re interested. Sure was a lot of work. Cards got swept this past series in Houston. We start a four game set with the Brewers to close out the season tonight. Should be a blast.
The first presidential debate is tonight. Vodkapundit’s Debate Prep links to this article going into some pretty serious detail about the backgrounds of the two men who will square off for our votes tonight. It has a great deal of quotations from George Lakoff, who has a new book out about how pinkos can win arguments with right-wing gunnuts. I’m hoping it has something about getting your facts straight and not falling back on the whole, “You fascist nazi pig!” when asked to consider looking at something in a new way. I’ve got a bit of a beef with Lakoff. He’s by all accounts a nice and interesting fellow, but his writing almost derailed my academic career. During Fall of 2001, I was taking a course in Minimalism, Chomsky’s current syntactic theory, and another in a type of non-formal semantics that Lakoff laid the foundation for. These were poor times to try to take Chomsky’s thoughts seriously, to say the least. Lakoff wrote a paper about 9/11 that really boiled my blood, and we read a draft of it, I’m not sure if it’s the one he eventually published (available here, but I’m not reading it again). He’s done an enormous amount of work with metaphors, and the gist of what I read of it explained that 9/11 hurt your typical American because 19 terrorists hijacking airplanes and piloting them into buildings was a metaphor for castration and rape. See, skyscrapers look like weiners and the pentagon looks like a vagina, ‘cuz it has a hole in the middle. He then went on to warn readers not to get behind the evil republican overlords who would no doubt lead them off to war.
I found this paper mortifying, and craven that someone would use mass murder to build support for their linguistic theory. Not to mention that this interpretation of the event is sophomoric nonsense. So between the uncertainty of the new post-9/11 world and the asininity of the revered masters of the art I was trying to learn, I had a whole lot of trouble focusing on my studies. Did I really want to turn out to be such an asshole?
Obviously I’ve stuck it out, and I’m still the same asshole I was when I started. And things are going well now. Don’t recall where I was going with this story.
The paper, incidentally, I kept in the trunk of my car, and would use to check my oil level until it was all gone away.