Saturday, August 30, 2003

Some sloppy notes

I went back to read the final bit on language etc at Scott Martens' blog and I realize that my comments about museification were not quite justified. Still, he tries to nail too many things down too tightly: he thinks like a designer. But outside of a need for a programmatic response to specific events there are few questions regarding human behavior that can be defined as either/or. Do we make language or does it make us? Is there such a thing as culture or should we refer only to the notion of the 'cultural.' Did Bach make the Baroque, or did the Baroque make Bach? Albert Einstein's very specific intelligence was a product of late 19th century German/Jewish academic and economic culture, much more than it was the 'creator' of that environment's 20th century replacement. Yet it's still popular to associate Einstein with a present of which he was never a part.

Although Martens still is fighting with the details of a liberal program, I appreciate it when he admits to recognizing, "... that there are times and places where a genuinely coercive official languages policy, instead of a merely pragmatic one, is at least reasonable."

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