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Apr 28, 2004 5:21 pm


Kliopatriarchs in Konclave ...



Spell it with a K. Get's their attention. Tends to suggest that mule-headed anthropoids post here. Yah, well, anyway. When Cliopatriarchs konfer in conclave, we often do it offsite. Not out of mind or of public view, you understand, but elsewhere. Taketheseexchanges or this one between the Cranky One and the Cliopatriarch of Philadelphia, for example. They just needed to iron out some basic epistemological issues and think about what one privileges as clever. Or, take this marvelous exchange among the potentates of our western sphere. There must be something in the Pacific waters that nourishes a sense of humor. It might have leavened some of the discussion here and here about the g.. word. Needless to say, we've reached no consensus about it, but we continue to confer.

Cliopatria is rather self-consciously plural. We're not securely Atrios/Left or Instapundit/Right. So far as I can tell, there are no Libertarians among the elect just yet, but I can't promise that we'll not be invaded by one. We both disbelieve and believe. We try to preach sound doctrine over here, you understand, and will probably do so when we decide what it is. In the meantime, there is history to be done and made.

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Ophelia Benson - 4/30/2004

Hmm, yes, that is good - maybe I should have gone with Admiral. Nelson, perhaps - only then I'd have to poke my eye out and cut off my arm. Nah, never mind.


Benjamin Keen - 4/30/2004

The best honorific I've heard lately is "First Admiral of the forces of oppression and paranoia." bestowed upon Anthony Cox. I am envious.


Ophelia Benson - 4/30/2004

Joking aside? You mean you really mean it that I have interesting thoughts to contribute?!? Oh well in that case you can call me Buck. Or General, for more informal occasions.

Oh yeah, I'm aware of that hierarchy too.


Anne Zook - 4/30/2004

Oh, dear, no. That takes far too long to type. In the future, I believe I will find it more convenient to refer to you as BuTur. Or even GenTurg. (I cannot guarantee to avoid...unfortunate...typographic errors.)

Joking aside...possibly you're here because of the (justifiable) idea that you have interesting thoughts to contribute?

The world of professional academia is a closed book to me but I'm certainly aware of the rigid hierarchy of those holding various single and multiple diplomas. It would be interesting to chart the world of academic blogging as it shakes down over the months or years. Those who can write in a lively, interesting fashion will outshine those who cannot, regardless of professional credentials.


Ophelia Benson - 4/30/2004

Very true, about no doctorate, nor no MA neither. That's why I was surprised when I was invited to join Clio - but I decided they must want to vary the mix, or something.

Actually I never got past the sixth grade. I can barely read or write. Therefore I would like to be called General "Buck" Turgidson, if that's agreeable to everyone.


Anne Zook - 4/29/2004

I've had experience with those in academia and holding doctorates getting upset by being addressed as "Mr." which is why I didn't assume it was appropriate here. Someone not as lazy as myself could no doubt have checked poster biographies and worked out the correct honorific for each poster, but....

And now I'm shutting up about it, but before I do, let me offer some belated thanks for the interesting links.


Ralph E. Luker - 4/29/2004

I'm largely kidding about all this, of course. Conventions vary widely and personal tastes vary, even among us. If you look at Michael Tinkler's Cranky Professor, you'll find that he's fairly formal about these things. It's Professor Burke, Professor Reynolds, etc., over there. That offends no one. Addressing someone you don't know by the first name risks unwanted familiarity. Not all of us are professors and one of us has no doctorate. Mr. Luker or Ms. Benson risks no offense, even though I hold a doctorate. You'd find at Harvard an inclination to refer to one another as Ms. or Mr. rather than Dr., because the doctorate is assumed. At Morehouse, on the other hand, where doctorates weren't assumed, it was common to refer to each other as Professor, except for persons who held a doctorate, in which case, it was considered insulting if you didn't give the person her or his entitlements, i.e., refer to them as Dr. Soandso. Little wonder that it's all confusing ...


Anne Zook - 4/29/2004

Oh, dear. I have faux'd and pas'd and whatnot. The "little-known" was poorly phrased - I mean an academic not well known to oneself and one to whom one is, oneself, unknown. Your personal eminence in the world of academia is unquestioned.

There's simply no end to the potentially cumbersome pedantry of overly-correct grammar, but in this case it would certainly have saved me from dispensing unintended insult. My apologies.

For the record (again), I would not have presumed to address Mister/Doctor/Sir/His Eminence/Professor Dresner informally had we not corresponded here and there in blog comment and e-mail.

It takes little for me to adopt a casual familiarity but I am aware that others aren't quite as lax on these matters.

However, I would like to point out that problems arise when attempting discourse with those entitled to titles. Anyone preferring to be addressed as Mister/Doctor/Sir/Professor would do well to say so openly. Those of us attempting discourse (if you say it often enough, it starts to sound odd) would appreciate it.


Jonathan Dresner - 4/29/2004

Speaking of affectations: I still don't refer to authors or commenters by first names unless they are someone with whom I have some sort of public collegial relationship (my fellow Cliopatriarchs, of course, and Anne, and a few others), and I usually don't do it when I'm refering to them in discussion with third parties with whom I don't have a similar relationship.

I'm a pretty friendly person, but I like it to mean something.


Ralph E. Luker - 4/29/2004

Once you've kissed my ring, Anne, you can call me _almost_ anything you bloody well please. _Just kidding_! If you're on a first name basis with Jonathan Dresner, who's been known on occasion to dress down a fellow on the HNN comment boards for doing that when Dresner found it distasteful (Oh, yes, Professor Dresner, I remember that. I was grateful that it wasn't me you were correcting.), you should feel free to address me on a first name basis, as well. Having delivered myself of that cumbersome sentence, what the heck is "a little-known academic" doing in your query? You are addressing the Cliopatriarch of Atlanta, after all.


Anne Zook - 4/29/2004

Well, I did have a memory that there was a religion where you weren't supposed to use the word "God" but I didn't remember which one it was. Thank you...how does one address a little-known academic on-line? Professor Luker? Doctor Luker? Sir? Your emminence? Hey, you?

Anyhow, just wanted to add my thanks to Jonathan for the interesting comment. As always, thought-provoking.


Ralph E. Luker - 4/28/2004

Once, when I slipped a disk in my back, and toward the end of a torturous recovery, I began to carry a cane. I have a neat one with a brass handle. It can be unscrewed and hidden in the cane is a little flask. I haven't really used the flask, but the cane has become another one of my affectations. Derek and I have discussed other possible affectations -- wearing a cape or an eyepatch -- something by which you might be remembered. Writing "G_d" or "g_d" isn't something I inherited. In that sense, it is for me an affectation. On the other hand, it also is a statement the implications of which I am inclined to agree.


Michael C Tinkler - 4/28/2004

Well, the denotation AND connotation of the word "affectation" are bad. Of course *I* have to sit through the contemporary Catholic musical tradition, which is affectedly intimate; modern hymnists are always using God's first name, even though he said he wanted to be called "The Lord your God" instead of YHWH.

Once again, the OED (with citations excised):
1. A striving after, aiming at; a desire to obtain, earnest pursuit. Const. of. Obs.
    2. Inclination towards, affection, liking, fondness (of). Obs.
    3. A displayed or ostentatious fondness for; studied display of.
    4. Artificial or non-natural assumption of behaviour; artificiality (of manner); putting on of airs.
    5. As that which is artificial is often unreal, this passes imperceptibly into, Unreal assumption; hollow or false display; simulation, pretence.
    6. Special application, destination, or attribution. Obs. rare.

I know I've heard a name for what you're looking for, Jonathan. It's like (but not the same thing) as "calque"


Ralph E. Luker - 4/28/2004

I do not know what I would do without Jonathan Dresner to put in intelligent form what I meant to say.


Jonathan Dresner - 4/28/2004

Transliteration is not literally what Ralph meant: I'm not sure there is a word that means "doing in one language what they do in another." Transference might work, I guess. I avoid the direct transliteration because of the Christian tendency to just go ahead and pronounce it, and then assume that they're talking, respectfully, even, about my deity.

Is affectation bad?


Michael C Tinkler - 4/28/2004

Indeed - but it's NOT a tranlsiteration! "God" is a Germanic work. YHWH would accomplish your goal, Ralph, if students wanted to follow etiquette. G-d is affected.

Worst of ALL is when nicely raised but oddly educated Jewish students write about "the Roman g-ds and g-ddesses." Don't laugh - I read it often (I teach a lot of idols in Art 101, what can I say?). I write a LONG note back to them explaining that what they have just done is scribal polytheism, by dignifying the Latin demons as rivals to the one G-d.


Jonathan Dresner - 4/28/2004

There was a time when people avoided saying and writing "naughty" words primarily because they were either impolite (common vulgarity) or because they were.... wait for it... sacrilegious. Something about "taking the Lord's name in vain" I think it was.

In the Jewish tradition, this includes the invocation of the Divine in any secular context (and even contexts that seem religious but which are not prayerful). Islam takes a slightly different tack, which was borrowed by Jewish (and some Christian) theologians by simply denying the possibility of adequately naming the Prime Mover, so they use a multiplicity of names describing aspects of Allah (literally "the God" not a name, per se) with the understanding that there is no complete description possible with human language.

Actually, it's kind of an interesting thing: all mystics meet in the darkness, in the middle, as I tell my students. Every religious tradition which posits a monism (or non-being, for that matter) has a strain (sometimes the mainstream) which denies the potential of human language to adequately describe either the Ultimate or even the experience of experiencing the Ultimate.


Ralph E. Luker - 4/28/2004

Anne, As I suspect you know, there is a long tradition in Judaism of using g_d. It transliterates the Hebrew which has no vowels and it respects the unknowable, mysterious, ineffable qualities of ultimate reality. It isn't a "naughty" word, though without naming any names there are apparently some people who prefer not to hear it uttered in their presence, except as a curse. My use of it is a little affected, since I am not Jewish. It's not my only, my best, or my worst affectation.


Anne Zook - 4/28/2004

I've seen the word spelled "Ghod" and it drives me nuts. (Guh-hod? Who is Guh-hod?) Aside from a religion that prohibits the use of the word (I have a vague memory there is one, and they can use euphemisms, can't they?) I can think of no reason not to just say God if you're talking about God.

Using Ghod or G_d or G-d just makes it look like you're trying to avoid writing a naughty word.

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