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Language Log

Sunday, Jul. 22, 2012 - 7:20 a.m.

Have done 2 of the cuneiform panels so far. Good start! Unfortunately, while I did a nice job on the panel itself, I botched to some degree the lettering on the Latin-script gloss (or whatever the hell it is). On both panels. And managed to get a random smudge on both of them, too. Well. It's a learning experience.

I also joined a local, very active Book Arts Collective that I've been thinking about since the Festival of Books. I'm hoping it'll be an external impetus to make things, and dare I say it? Meet people. It's a bold move, I know, this seeking-out-of-human-contact. I have received no acknowledgement from them yet; who knows how often they check their email. I do hope they'll contact me at some point. Otherwise I may just not ever work up the courage to go to any of their meetings/events, membership fee paid or not.

I accidentally put cream directly into the teapot today rather than into my cup. I think I may go with this method from here on; saves me some work.

Saw on someone's FB feed a pic of a gun with something like the following caption: "Remember...65 million legal gun owners didn't murder anyone yesterday." The (incorrect) implication is that dude didn't own his guns legally? I believe he did. Or is it that, hey, ok, one legal owner went batshit crazy, don't blame us! Actually I bet there were a few more murders with legal weapons that day, too, only not as sensational. Anyway, I'm not particularly enchanted with that line of defense.

I heard of the work of an anthropologist who passed away last year, earlier in his career he had worked on culturally accepted forms of violence. I forget his name, but I would like to dig it up and read about his work. Part of the answer to this problem is gun laws/enforcement of existing gun laws. Part of it is American gun culture. And part of it is why this particular form of dealing with one's shitty life has emerged as an option in our culture for certain people. Media attention is part of it, of course, but there's more to it. There always is. Likely not something we as individuals can opt out of at this point, either. I'd love to read what a good anthropologist has to say about it. Think I'll go googlescholar me up some references right now, in fact. Update: The guy I'm thinking of is Neil Whitehead. His work relevant to violence was the stuff on shamanic violence in Guyana. I guess what caught my eye was the bit about violence as cultural performance. Hmm, well. I find the notion of cultural performance simultaneously very useful and...not so much. Sometimes you want instructions on how to get the audience to leave.

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