Gates' gods are not political, but technical. He worships efficiency and measurability, not ideals.I have made many accusations about liberals over the years, and sometimes repent of them, having to go back and clarify that I am generalising about very public liberals, and highlighting - perhaps unfairly - certain aspects of their thought and motivation. Then I read something like this and wonder whether I was right the first time.
My son sent along an excellent article Married To Depression. It all seems so easy from the outside, and so impossible from inside.
In discovering Half Man Half Biscuit below, I struck a vein of links about Ambleside, which in turn put me in mind of Alan Garner's Weirdstone of Brisingamen, which is set in that region. It is a book with many flaws, most of which are irrelevant, because of its depth of imagination. It put me on a rabbit trail of The Morrigan, the Thirteen Treasures of Britain, and all manner of northern European folk tales and goddesses. (How I love Wikipedia trails. I have noted ruefully that it has made me obsolete, as folks used to call and ask my wife and I for information they couldn't put their hands on.) Yet just as an example, read this entry on Perchta. There isn't one definitive version of her. If you slide over a few valleys in Europe, Perchta/Bertha/Holda changes as well.
This holds true for not only the characters, but the stories themselves. We sometimes read a tale and are suddenly aware that it is partly familiar, and were told a different version of Red Riding Hood or The Green Ribbon when we were young. While it is true that the old tales have been polished and made hard by many retellings, it is also true that each teller adds and emphasizes, and these variants may be ephemeral. We can't count on some element being important just because it is there.
So too with languages. We blithely refer to Old French, as if there was some standard dialect in 1200 that was pretty consistent and generally understood. But as the type of cheese changes from valley to valley in France, so too did the language. There was never a moment in time when there was a single Proto-Indo-European that started splitting off into other tongues as people moved away from ground zero of the Urheimat. It was always rather fluid and variable.
We know this, of course, and it's rather obvious when you think of it. Yet it is easy to forget, because we put stories, and goddesses, and languages into named categories, and store them that way.
I read a Grantland article on the Red Sox by Charles S Pierce. I sent it along to son Ben, who reads far more about sports than I, with the comment It is puzzling to me. I started out liking the article, but by the time I got to the end I was thoroughly irritated, thinking "what an arrogant prick this guy is."
But I can't tell why. I have a partial answer, but it's not enough to cover, and the picture of him at the end confirmed it, but I was already irritated at that point. The partial explanation is that his story of his personal history with the Red Sox has just been done too many times before. It's not only 400 writers, it's that every guy in New England my age has a story like this about Red Sox history and the 1960's. His is better written than mine would be, or Mike King's or Jon Reckard's or whoever's, but it's not dramatically better. Who cares, dude? But that's really not enough to put me off this guy. I read through the article again looking for clues, but I can't see much.
Ben had thoughts about this, and what I was sensing from afar, but I will let you have your own thoughts first.