Wednesday, October 29, 2008

This guy pretty much sums it up.

Why I Do Not Support Obama For President of the United States in 2008

[After writing this post, I realized that its not written to convince anybody to vote for McCain. This post is a reflective exercise, and maybe even perhaps a veiled call to fellow McCain supporters to stop resorting to desperate measures. Maybe its even a veiled plea to Obama supporters to not judge me for supporting McCain.]

I have gotten far more into news and politics recently than I ever thought I could. I will spare you a superfluous description of the breadth and depth of my research concerning the major attacks on Obama that his opponents have launched. I will simply say that I have tried extremely hard to examine each claim with vigor, skepticism, integrity, and intellectual honesty.

I have found just about every major attack on Obama to be far-fetched, based on language and events ripped out of context, and insensitive to nuances, subtleties, and the various moving parts to issues and circumstances.

I do not identify with the culture among McCain/Palin supporters (I here curb my desire to rant extensively in this direction).

I do however, identify much more with Obama's approach to various methods of thought and speech. He trends toward lengthy, nuanced, or intellectual answers to questions, and this sometimes hurts him. He is slow to form opinions, and I think that's a good thing. He is often misunderstood or misinterpreted, and this happens to me a lot too. I exhibit many of his verbal habits and conventions myself, and this makes me like his personality.

I like a lot of his desires - to help the poor, downtrodden, and hungry at home and abroad, to be a good steward of Creation, to get as far as possible by verbal and other nonviolent means, to be at peace with as many people and countries as possible insofar as it depends on us, etc. etc.

I so badly long to laugh at all the SNL skits that are dominated by attacks against McCain and Palin. But I find most of them to be based on straw-man fallacies and suspect assumptions.

When it comes down to it, I just simply find myself in disagreement with Obama's proposals. I just. dis. agree. with him.


That's it. That's all.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Microsoft's Dirty Little Secret

I wanted to link to an "I'm a PC" commercial so that I could comment on how Microsoft's best reply to the "I'm a Mac" ads, no matter how funny it might be, can never transcend them because it simply parodies them.

But what I discovered was even more epic. It turns out that Microsoft's commercials themselves were created on a Mac, using Adobe software!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

On Good Taste In Music and Canonicity

Complimenting someone on their good taste in music is weird because it implies that their taste in music is distinct from yours, yet good. It begs the question 'why aren't your two tastes in music identical?'. Think about it.

It reminds me of how everbody goes cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs over Pevear's and Volokhonsky's translations of Russian classics like Tolstoy's "The Idiot". How would you know whether a work is truly a good translation or not?

I once heard about this philosopher of mathematics who failed to show up to the ceremony in which he was awarded a super rare and historical award because he said that there was nobody qualified to even decide whether he deserved it.

My old sensi once told me that he didn't give weight to compliments from blue belts, sense he was a black belt 5th degree.

But in the end the recognition of the greatness of something that you couldn't do yourself is perfectly reasonable. My friends Daniel, Jon, Max, and Chris all have good senses of musical goodness. I just can't seem to track down good tunes or track with various cultural movements.

BUT when I hear good music I can recognize it.

I can recognize beautiful paintings and though I have hands capable of painting I simply do not have the knack.

And my own inability to paint does not rightly prevent me from criticism or compliment.

A blue belt's inability to exact a side-thrust kick does not disqualify him from judging that another's is orthodox.

A panel's falling short of world-changing mathematical achievement by no means discredits them from rewarding such.

An American population's Russian illiteracy doesn't completely restrict their ability to appreciate the poeticism of a translation effort, or to marvel at reports of its accuracy.

Some of my beloved Christian brothers and sisters elevate our shared and cherished tradition to a particular authoritative status I believe only scripture itself should enjoy. "Who gave scripture its authority?" they have asked me.

Still there are other brothers and sisters who may hold scripture to be the highest authority, but who unfortunately therefore condemn all attempts at identifying and describing things, such as tradition or archaeology, that "prove" the Bible to be reliable or without error.

I personally believe that we should thread the needle: the Bible is uniquely inherently authoritative in the highest degree, and yet it is beneficial and even right that we nevertheless put it to the test, and seek out and describe things that attest to its credibility.

It is in the vein of recognizing another's good taste in music that I see that it is possible for a community to recognize books as canonical without it being so that said works in any way derive their authority from said community.

Similarly, while there are those who insist it is upside down to search for extrabiblical attestations to the reliability of the Bible, I insist it is quite reasonable. What other way are we to discern between self-proclaimed authorities? No, it is right that we catalog evidence in recognition of the Bible's credibility.

But let's keep these things in their proper places. The Bible is authoritative because it is God's Word, not because a group of humans said that it is God's Word.

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