Music and Theatre

An enjoyable night of mediterranian food, new music and tasteless banter with Strict Machines, Anna and Paul. They've come up with six new songs in the last month, with influences from The Who and Beau Diddly to The Long Blondes and Be Your Own Pet.

It's odd how there's not much you can say about your friends when they're not annoying you - or each other.
Wasn't I supposed to be rehearsing for a stage play? There's about six weeks to go before the performance, and I haven't met any of the new cast members, seen the script, or been informed about rehearsal schedules.

So far as I know, the producer and director are sitting in a secluded part of Ireland, without phones or net access, still editing the script and "making arrangements".

I may not be Mr Organised, and sometimes leave things till the last moment, but I don't pretend it's a good way to behave, and I don't leave two dozen busy volunteers on tenterhooks for weeks on end.
More unpleasantness at ScienceBlogs. Every time I try to explain my position, new misunderstandings crop up.

It seems to me there's three basic attitudes a person can have when reading someone else's line of reasoning:

(1) Neutral - "I'm not concerned with the truth, morality, cohearance etc of the writer's position. I just want to know what the position is."

(2) Charitable - "Where the logical conclusion of an argument leads to something I find unacceptable, I provisionally assume the writer didn't mean the argument to be taken to it's logical conclusion. If there's an ambigious term, I read it's meaning as the one that makes the most sense in context. If they get a minor fact wrong, let it pass. Treat the writer as a a decent, intelligent, informed person until they show beyond reasonable doubt that they're not."

(3) Hostile - "I'm determined to prove the writer is a blithering idiot and hate filled demagogue. If there's more than one interpretation of a sentence, take the silliest. If a factual detail is incorrect, make it a central tennant. If the writer makes absolute statements, call them unsubtle. If they talk about context, call them a relativist. Treat the writer as an deranged, stupid, ignorant person until they can prove they're not."

I deliberately take the second line. The host of the blog in question seems habitually to veer towards the third. Which is not really surprising, because hostile reading is the basis of professional academia.

So long as an argument rages, an academic (or journalist) has something to write about. As soon as an issue is settled, the well runs dry. So it's in the interests, and therefore in the habit, of academic writers to artificially keep an argument running. To pick holes, to create misunderstandings and keep the temperature of dispute high.

It's one of the reasons I walked out of the academic art world. Mutual caricature and debate designed to be eternal seemed depressingly pointless.

The irony is, he reminds me of me, as I was ten years ago. Maybe even five.

Anyway, I have political things to do that are more important, and personal things that are more enjoyable.

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