September 28, 2012

Intentionalism, distilled

Courtesy of zamoose, via Twitter, and found here:

Posted by Jeff G. @ 1:25pm
37 comments | Trackback

Comments (37)

  1. Of course you would print it with white text on a black background. Does the racism never end?

  2. Also, there’s a deliberate line break where the reader is invited to see “people” after the “you”.

    It’s just like Selma.

  3. If you were a good Democrat, you wouldn’t need to be responsible for anything…

  4. And the deliberate juxtaposition of the period with the word “understand”? You don’t have to be Fellini to figure that one out. Misogynist.

  5. - This postulate has an obvious and intimidating subtextual theme that insists on a Patriarchical relationship between uterence and listener which any good Progressive would find far to individualistic and cause them deep feelings of insecurity.

    - I mean, my god man, how would you ever know what they might say next? Even worse, you’d have no control over meaning, and lose all hope of predetermining outcomes. Unthinkable!

  6. …and unconscionable!

    Like you thought this wasn’t all moral, this separation of church and State and whatnot.

  7. Of course you’re not responsible for what someone else understands. Bush is.

  8. So you’re saying that the polynesians were fucking stupid to build the volcanic stone log-forts at Ponape and then abandon them? Why would you say something like that? Hater!

  9. Jeff, I’m sure you must have addressed this numerous times in your posts but would you please comment briefly on the concept of ambiguity in language and its role in usages such as innuendo, poetry, and humor? If I perceive an ambiguous meaning and there is no way of knowing if it was intended by the author of the words, does it exist or am I simply forbidden from entertaining its validity?

  10. Taichiwawa: Have you ever said anything purposely ambiguous — that is, intended it to carry an array of possible meanings? Or even, not care what meaning people took from your signs? That’s still intent. You just aren’t intending in such instances to articulate your intentions very clearly, or else you are making an intentional show of not attaching any signification to the signifiers you uttered.

    If, conversely, the ambiguity is not intended, then what you have is a failure to properly communicate the intent in a way that wasn’t ambiguous. That doesn’t mean you didn’t mean what you meant. It just means you didn’t signal it well enough so that those who heard it understood it the way you wanted them to.

    Does that make sense?

    I’ve often said that EVERYTHING can be thought of as ironic — that is, we as receivers can get a message that was intended to mean the exact opposite. But in such cases, again, that only effects our ability to interpret the meaning the author put on offer correctly; convention and code are going to tell us that we’ve most likely gotten it right, even if we’ve gotten it wrong. And that’s because we were given no real signaling of the intent by which to interpret fairly.

    Finally, we can do lots of things with language, and with ambiguity comes the possibility that you can entertain a number of possible interpretations. It is not ALWAYS NECESSARY to care what the author meant or didn’t mean. That only matters when we claim to be trying to interpret.

    But if I take a page out of Moby Dick and turn it into an origami swan, I’ve found a use for Melville’s language that has nothing to do with his intent, but may please me or one of my kids immensely.

    I’m off to take a walk with the baby now, but I can answer more when I return. Hope this helped.

  11. Well, for purposes of full disclosure, I intend to crawl into a bottle of Beefeaters later this evening. I pray I don’t drink and comment. But if I do, I’d like to have an advance waiver of personal responsibility for the things I may say, but probably* don’t mean. Those guys in their fuzzy bearskin hats with their juniper berries — damn their eyes!

    *That’s for me to know, and you to find out. Or something.

  12. ….would you please comment briefly on the concept of ambiguity in language

    Example:

    Q: What should you do if the nuclear reactor starts to go out of control?

    A: Its extremely important to remember you can’t put to much water in a nuclear reactor.

    - You’re welcome.

  13. ….Those guys in their fuzzy bearskin hats with their juniper berries….

    ( Editor’s note: In general, calling undue attention to McGehee’s latest mode of dress is frowned upon in this establishment.)

  14. McGehee doesn’t drink gin.

  15. He does however eat beef. But he doesn’t consort with ravens.

  16. Have you ever said anything purposely ambiguous — that is, intended it to carry an array of possible meanings? Or even, not care what meaning people took from your signs? That’s still intent. You just aren’t intending in such instances to articulate your intentions very clearly, or else you are making an intentional show of not attaching any signification to the signifiers you uttered.

    Damn, I love this. It leads to caveat emptor, and in turn, to the classical liberalism of drive too fast at your own peril or if you want to shoot up smack, have at it, or abandon hope all who enter here and other such liberty-based, be-an-adult sensibilities.

    Because it’s all your deal and not mine.

    Just because someone said something cryptic doesn’t mean you have to consume it, much less take offense at it.

    Love it.

  17. McGehee doesn’t drink gin. He does however eat beef. But he doesn’t consort with ravens.

    Corrollary: “Real Ravens beat up Browns and don’t wear plaid.”

    Adjunctive: “Little can’t catch worth a damn.”

  18. McGehee doesn’t drink gin.

    You know what that means? More for me.

  19. And then you get an artist says he doesn’t want to paint at all.
    He takes an empty canvas and sticks it on the wall.

    Excerpt from In the Gallery by Dire Straits. What was the “artist’s” intent?

  20. steph, Good lord, at least move up to Tanquery, if not Bombay Sapphire.

  21. Tanquery, in my opinion, is a move down from Beefeaters, although I do find Beefeaters to be too sweet sometimes.But to me, Tanquery is too harsh for Martini’s or on the rocks (but perfectly fine for T&T).
    Tonight, I’m drinking Tanquery 10. But I only like it with a very small amount of vermouth and always and only with a lemon twist (and this time of year, a Meyer Lemon). It isn’t good with olives.
    I like Bombay, but Sapphire gives me weird dreams (I think its the corriander).
    Gordons is okay for weekdays.
    Anything else you need to know about my preference in Gin?

  22. Oh, and Bluecoat, distilled in my native town? Too flowery,

  23. The thing I dislike most about gin is that it isn’t scotch.

  24. steph, variety is the spice of life.

    DarthLevin, I drink single malts too (had an 18 year old Macallan last night), but the casual at the bar drink is Sapphire and tonic.

  25. I used to love Lagavulin and Blantans.. But somehow I’ve developed an allergy to brown liquors.
    Sucks.

  26. and I realize Blantons is boubon, not Scotch

  27. Charles – just putting forward my bone fides re gin.
    Outside of that small area of expertise, I’m a loser.
    Que Sinatra!

  28. Not nearly nuanced enough for life in Obamamerica.

  29. “McGehee doesn’t drink gin.”

    Oh lord. He’s not one of those intravenous gin users is he?

  30. don’t take a knife to a gin fight

  31. Oh lord. He’s not one of those intravenous gin users is he?

    I understood he prefers his gin in a colonic.

  32. I understood he prefers his gin in a colonic.

    Speaking of that…

  33. I used to drink gin & tonics at the Moose Lodge.

    Then my testicles dropped.

  34. Alternative caption to the pic…”Intentionalism isn’t what YOU think it is.”

    Oh, and Bombay Sapphire. Thus ends the conversation on the gins.

  35. “I used to drink gin & tonics at the Moose Lodge.
    Then my testicles dropped.”

    Big deal. Even my neck beard has a mustache and my Y chromosomes have little steel rivets in them. Also I cook pasta when I am sad.

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