Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Be NICE (Toward Higher Levels of Higher Nice-ness)

Dear Language Users & Abusers
& Colleagues too. 
Our linguistics textbook: 3 pounds of
meticulous presentation--every linguistic
jot and tiddle in each chapter generating
a surfeit & gut bulging extra-vagance
generallyexperienced after an evening at
Ryan’s Steakhouse.
Devilish details: a phono-morpho-logical
syntactical buffet of distinctions and terms
and relationships carried through sound,
sense, psychology, society and  the
syllables of time: language change,
source, influence, kinship, shifts
in sound, shifts in syntax
and semantics…
            Language Lust
LUST  initially meant mere pleasure,
and carried no sexy  stigma.  Holiday
was originally a holy day, not any day
officially free from  work.  Silly meant
happy during Shakespeare’s time;
and my favorite:
which initially and originally meant IGNORANT
 (ne + scire: = “not knowing,” :no science”),
very nicely indeed and maybe the nicest thing
we take away from our studies and scholar ship:
how “nice” we are, how unknowing, how aware
of our ignorance.  Right there: stunned  stupid,
the etymological root image for STUDY &
STUDENT:  our collective nice-ness—
pre-requisite for  Liberal Art, yes?
I would rather be NICE than nasty and always
school makes me realize how NICE I am---a
fool with  words, sentences, etymologies: loving
the play of language especially among players:
language users/abusers, addicts: criminal
discriminators & rip-off artists, sampling &
specimen-izing, always diminishing the
WHOLE with our natural selections:
reductionists,  injustice-doers—
overstating & understating,
carrying ongoing guilt for
our nice distinctions &
discrete indiscretions.
Confession of NICE is redemptive—
let it be known how ignorant I am
as my hero Socrates said (after advising
his buddies to  KNOW THY SELF):
      I  know that I do not know
but it doesn’t eliminate the NICE-ness.
The Guilt is ongoing and makes sense
how could I not be NICE?

xxxooo, Sam

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