16.222 critique of words about silence

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty (w.mccarty@btinternet.com)
Date: Tue Sep 24 2002 - 01:38:19 EDT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 16, No. 222.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

             Date: Tue, 24 Sep 2002 06:37:01 +0100
             From: Brian Whatcott <betwys@DIRECTVInternet.com>
             Subject: Re: 16.221 the brief silence, a critique

    At 01:30 PM 9/23/02, Willard, you wrote:

    > >
    >Dear colleagues:
    >... the publication of Humanist, at Virginia, was hacked into and
    >damaged last week.

    ... As a Miltonist (as I was trained to be) I have
    >imagery ready to fit the circumstance and am not discouraged in its
    >application by the constant litter of slimy flostam that washes onto my
    >electronic shores every morning. This morning, for example, as I was
    >walking along them, so to speak, I looked down and saw one labelled, "GOD
    >BLESS" from "mmadamabacha". Those messages that read, e.g., "humanist,
    >honey...", have very little to say, comparatively speaking. Consider, for
    >a rich bit of cultural history, the steps between that "GOD BLESS" and the
    >meaning I rightly read from it -- which, roughly, is this: "I want to cheat
    >you out of large sums of money by appealing to your naked greed!" Now, if
    >you are inclined to cry out, "o tempora, o mores" at all, here indeed is an

    I will confess, the meaning of Dr. McCarty's piece was not pellucid.
    Here was my difficulty:
    I was alerted to the imminent onset of some well-schooled
    Miltonist imagery by the text. But I discarded the 'slimy flostam on
    Willard's electrinic shores'. This was not the allusion I was looking for.

    I did not understand why a message with the salutation,
       "humanist, honey" would have little to say.
       Endearments are always welcome in my mailbox,
    recalling that many of my transmissions end in "Love, Brian".

    I don't understand why the linkage between God bless...
    and a solicitation for money is a rich bit of cultural history.
        The solicitations which I rarely receive, purport to
    emanate from Nigeria, and concern the secret and illicit
    disposal of government-held funds on the American
       stock exchange. These are the only ones where amounts
    figuring in the millions appear. My more usual spam centers on
    investments of $20 in pyramid email schemes, no more.
    These two kinds seem curiously empty of cultural history to
       me - but then I am probably culturally-enriched spam-challenged.

    I was however, greatly cheered by the supposition that I might
       number among that small band for whom a cry of
    "o tempora, o mores" would be at all likely. Sadly, I shake my head,
    realising that not even I am so pretentious, despite the schooling
       demanded in some earlier age, in the prerequisites of the language
       concommitant of seeking honest labor in the fields of Medicine or Law.



    Brian Whatcott
        Altus OK Eureka!

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