Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Star Spangled Spanish?

I woke up one morning last week to hear the host of the radio program I typically listen to (WLUP - 97.9) soliciting responses from people on the question of whether the recent Spanish translation of the Star Spangled Banner done by Adam Kidron (a Brit) should be encouraged among Latino immigrants in the country. While I expected the responses to be fairly opposed to the Spanish translation, I couldn't help but notice the xenophobic overtones in the comments. While I do think that the song should be sung in English, the issue didn't bother me nearly as much as it did for some of the callers. However, I wasn't sure if I simply couldn't dismiss the fact that the Loop (a classic rock(think 80's) radio station) has a listenership that mostly consists of working class Chicagoans, who might be more likely to have strong patriotic sentiments. I suppose that the question I'm posing is how one makes the distinction between patriotism and xenophobia?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

(The) Hoi Polloi

I love this expression, not only due to how it rolls off the tongue, but also because my grandmother used to use it as one of her -isms. Upon reading the phrase last week I was provoked to find out what its origins were. And both the OED and reveal the same thing: It is a Greek term meaning "the masses." Why then did my grandmother use it to mean high society, with an ironic touch (You don't want to be part of the hoi polloi, do you?)

About this point has this to say: Hoi polloi is sometimes incorrectly used to mean “the elite,” possibly because it is reminiscent of high and mighty or because it sounds like hoity-toity.

While the literal meaning of the word is "the masses" I found it is not just my grandmother who used the term in its perverted usage. John McGahern in "Amongst Women" (132) writes, "Is she hoi polloi?" referring to the family's de facto sister-in-law. As the inquiring sister is from a poor farm in rural Ireland, I don't think she is accusing the woman of being common, but rather of being tosh.

I don't think the phonetic similarity provided by really seems to cut it though. Maybe "the masses" came to refer to the indescript mass of artistocracy? Who knows.

Academic Speak?

I had submitted a paper to a journal and it was returned with a Revise and Resubmit letter and a copy of two reviews. I would think that would entail some contructive critism. And to this end one of the reviewers wrote:
As a potential avenue of research the paper makes interesting proposals. But the arguments are not fleshed out. The scholarship is very slight--especially on Hobbes.
While I take "scholarship" in this context mean secondary literature (where she is correct that I did not make much reference to) and not just an ad hominem it is not a tone I had expected from a R&R letter.

A tough bunch they are...

Friday, April 21, 2006

Looks like I will be in Philly for a while...

While my grad school initiative proved rather unsuccessful, I am not crushed--only very dejected. For the time being I plan I taking Matt Damon's line about library fines to heart and actually do some research in the Penn library. I have some plans to make next year's round a bit more successful. So it goes.


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

HD or Blu Ray?

Anyone on odds?

My bet is on HD DVD for three reasons:

1. It's a cheaper technology. The HD disks cost $10 less than Blu Ray disks.
2. HD is a "thing" now, it is a hot marketing word. Televisions programs are "now in HD" your TV is HD, so naturally your DVD player should be. Blu Ray is the thing that is not like the other, the thing that is not the same.
3. Sony is inept. Sure, if Sony could pull off the PS3 by the end of the year it might make the battle close, but the company is in such chaos, who knows if that can happen.
4. Blu Ray is the "superior" technology (better picture), it has to lose.

So start lining up to buy your Toshiba HD DVD players...when they fall in price by $400.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Sucks to Hamastan

The US and EU have cut aid to the Palestinian "government." Not to worry: Israel is still paying for their water, electricity, defense, roads, etc.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Soloveichik shout out

I always enjoy reading articles where I can imagine the tone of the voice used.

The Welfare State

Disregarding, for the moment, the external hardships on the Palestinian people and society, I see a very clear parallel between the debate over domestic welfare and national welfare. While the PA treasury is empty, it is to be expected. With relatively little FDI (foreign direct investment) or economic infrastructure and now the lack of international aid, it is not a wonder Hamas cannot pay its bills.

The question appears to be: should we (the international community) fund the PA indefinitely, even though they have made little progress towards economic autonomy in that past decade?

This is, then, the same question as, "how long should we keep someone on welfare?" Can we expect every nation in the world to hold a job? There are circumstances outside the control of some nations. Drought, famine, border closings (eh hem- slight cough, you know). Should they receive indefinite funding, or should they be forced to look for a job at a point, even if there exist circumstances outside their control? Then obviously you have to ask if there is any justification for a true Welfare State?

And I just don't know...

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Dear Anonymous,

While 3W allows anonymous comments (A) to allow people to post who do not wish to reveal themselves or (B) that don't want to sign up through blogger... I would people appreciate if others knew to whom they were responding.