I guess that once a week plan didn’t really pan out, but once a month seems all right with me. In my understandably weak defense, I didn’t have internet at my place until last Thursday.
I’ll probably write more regularly now that school’s started and I’ll have something to do. Usually I do most of my writing when I have something else due within the next 12 hours; so basically when I shouldn’t be writing stuff like this.
This first part is more for my benefit and not something I really care if people read or not so feel free to skip this part.
Speaking about blogging, or writing for that matter, there was about a month period this past summer when I was big on the Flesch-Kincaid test. Essentially, the Flesch-Kincaid test is something you can do on most word processors that reports the level of writing of the piece that is opened. The test gives two values: the first being the reading ease (the higher the more difficult to read), and the second being the grade level of your writing (the higher the better); using some formula involving the average syllables per word and the average number of words per sentence, in some vague fashion. So, being the conceited arrogant prick I love being, I went back and ran the test on all of my old papers. I found out that the papers I received the highest-grade level for I also received the highest readability level; but the thing that surprised me was that they were also the most boring. What determines the effectiveness of a piece of writing? It reminded me of the greatness graph in The Dead Poet’s Society that determines the greatness of any work of poetry. For me the ideal results in the Flesch-Kincaid test would be to have a high grade level, but also a low readability score. If you write something with the purpose of raising your grade level at the cost of readability and style, than you lose the integrity and essence of communication. All of the writing I’ve done for blogs has had a very low grade level, but also a low readability level. The reason being is that blogging is conversational, whereas papers are expository in nature. Blogs engage heavily with the perceived audience, namely because feedback is immediate relative to that of papers. Right when a blog is posted it is open for all to see and criticize; there is a certain drama to the writing of blogs, especially when involving sensitive topics, because it opens up a chess match of sorts. What I mean by that is for every sentence that is written a reaction has to be considered. If I say this, than what will the reader think of me? How will they feel? Will this hurt his or her feelings? Should I give a rat’s ass about their feelings? When writing about political or religious issues, which tend to be more sensitive, and therefore volatile, for every point possible counterarguments need to be accounted for. Blogging for me is argument or debate that is in some ways more intense and dramatic and in others less so. Intense and dramatic in that my words can literally be read back in my face, if I end up revealing how stupid I am it would be visible to everyone (even if it is only an audience of 1); however less so in that if I wanted to I could ignore any feedback and ultimately have the power in any possible future discourse. Pretty much, what I’m getting at is that although there’s a billion things that I disagree with and dislike concerning the internet driven generation, I forgot the letter, blogging surprisingly warms my stone heart a few degrees, as it becomes more legitimate I see it possibly bringing writing back to a more communicative form.
Wow, that was probably the most boring thing I’ve written, but I feel it’s important so tough beans. And just for your information, this has received a lower grade level that any paper I’ve written for school, just to reiterate my point.
Unless you went to Oxford you probably didn’t hear about how this past Sunday Marial Yak died in a car accident: http://www.ajc.com/news/marial-yak-130733.html. Honestly speaking I wasn’t his friend, and I say it like that because it’s different than saying we weren’t friends. I had two or three classes with him and he ate lunch with me twice. I wasn’t his friend and he ate lunch with me, because frankly speaking he initiated contact and I didn’t respond, he sat down next to me and I couldn’t muster up anything further than a mumbled “hey.” Way back in my head I probably felt that his struggle with English was too much of a hassle for me to attempt some form of meaningful conversation. All I know about him came from the article posted online, and the general consensus from other people from Oxford was that they had no idea about his story either. As a religion major, or practically any other major in the humanities, stories are the lifeblood of scholarship. Religion is not a set of rules that a group of old men wrote down a thousand years back; religion is the storied lives of humankind. That’s one of the most important things that was inscribed in my head throughout the admittedly minimal amount of courses I have taken, that struggling to develop a sophisticated theology has no meaning, purpose or reason if not done with people in mind. Not people as a generalized group, but faces and names, and most importantly their stories. Regardless of major, exchanging stories is one of the most universal, invaluable and meaningful interactions between any number of individuals. I sat across the table from a Lost boy of Sudan, and I never learned out how he was found because I was clinging to the shell I had pulled around me too tightly. I have always thought that living in the suburbs, going to a university in the United States, that I was born in a bubble; but I have realized that the bubble I reside in is one of my creation. I considered the plate of food in front of me to be a higher priority. Rest in Peace Marial Yak, the world missed out on an amazing story.