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Archive for ‘The Friday Fillip’ Feature

The Friday Fillip: Letting Go . . . Hopefully

Context is everything. Which is simply to say res non ipsa loquitur. Things need more things near them to achieve meaning, significance, import — perhaps even for us to see them. That lump of metal there . . . near the edge of a smoking crater? or on a pedestal in a room hung about with paintings? Big diff.

Now, lumps of metal don’t have as their primary function the carrying of meaning. Words, though, do. Which is to say context is routinely consulted when we utter. Goes without saying — without awareness, most of the time. Some folks, . . . [more]

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The Friday Fillip: Stealright

Yes, you heardright: stealright.

I haven’t joined the Anarchists Who Nick; I think the kleptocracy we already have is quite powerful enough, thank you; and though I’m old enough to remember Abbie Hoffman and “Please Steal This Book,” the fact that he sold more than a quarter of a million copies of the damn thing kind of took the edge off that razor for me a long time ago.

What I’m on about isn’t even your run of the mill P2P stuff but rather A2A, perhaps: artist to artist. Or, better, artist from artist. Because that’s what artists do, it . . . [more]

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The Friday Fillip: Names, -Nyms, and Noms

Everybody wants to be somebody else. At least it sometimes seems that way to me. I must lack the drive to alterity that motivates a lot of folk: so, for instance, on Twitter I am @fodden — than which few handles could be more staid and stolid — while the Twitterverse is decorated with millions of colourful keladinyms, such as @DeweyDecibel, @sarahcuda, @brundle_fly, @TheTweetOfGod, @sassygal22 (arriving a little late, it seems), and @etcetera.

Now, were I to pick a nickname, I wouldn’t go for brevity but rather for sonority — what someone (Twain? Dickens?) describing a law firm name . . . [more]

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The Friday Fillip: Cabin Fever

In my next life I shall be an architect. I already have a couple of pairs of eyeglass frames suitable for the role, and I once had a corduroy suit, albeit of the wrong colour. But, perhaps more to the point, I’m an inveterate maker. Not for me, though, big buildings or bridges. No, I’ll build dwellings — and, by preference, small houses. Cabins, if you will.

Surprisingly, there’s quite a lot of competition out there for the job of cabin builder. And even more enthusiasm for the business of dreaming about building cabins. Indeed — you’ve heard of porn, . . . [more]

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The Friday Fillip: Wikipedia Portals

I’ve used Wikipedia since its inception but only came across its portals the other day. Remember portals? They were like books — no, more like books of notes for books — in which the portaler structured a topic and linked out to webpages chosen to be relevant and interesting (“curated” we would have said last year). I suppose that they fell into disuse for a bunch of reasons, two of which would be Google and link rot: In a somewhat scary way, a Google search result is a kind of portal, especially when supplemented by a Knowledge Graph, itself . . . [more]

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The Friday Fillip: ‘N’Junction

Only a fool says “nuncle.”

Used to be part of my favourite mock Elizabethan phrase, feeling good in the mouth: “Prithee nuncle…” But now I know that there never was a “nuncle”. I had thought it was one of those English words that shed the initial “N” because of the possessive “mine” or the indefinite article “an” on account of the way the combo got pronounced: “My nuncle” / “A nuncle” –> “mineuncle” / “anuncle” –> “mine uncle” / “an uncle”. In the world of linguistics this is known as rebracketing (or metanalysis, which sounds too grand to me), where . . . [more]

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The Friday Fillip: How Shall I Put This?

By the time you read this, it will have been long decided. But whether, as BuzzFeed claimed, the loser of the Canada-U.S. men’s semi-final Olympic hockey game “gets to keep Justin Bieber” could take some time to emerge. That’s fine by BuzzFeed, which will have moved on with nary a backwards glance, relentlessly retailing its highly popular olio of entertainment disguised as news and news disguised as entertainment.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I learned that BuzzFeed has a style guide. I suppose I shouldn’t have been shocked: a multi-author, multi-million-dollar publication is a serious matter, regardless . . . [more]

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The Friday Fillip: In Praise of Piffle

There are many ways for writing to come to grips with the contingent nature of life. One of the oddest has to be the prose of P. G. Wodehouse, which occupies a niche in the neighbourhood of nonsense, farce, satire, and fairy tales. It is as light as down, utterly lacking in apparent social import, and seemingly artless. Yet it would be a mistake to dismiss it for any of these reasons. The writing is the product, in fact, of a brilliant mind and a great deal of careful labour, and it treats the poignant fact that we are all . . . [more]

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The Friday Fillip: Weather

The snow that’s currently blowing every which way is going to taper off at 5 p.m. and stop two hours later at 7. Then it’ll be partly cloudy for an hour (though dark, and, so, hard to tell in the city), after which the skies will be clear for the remainder of the night. This is not just my fond hope; it’s the hyperlocal weather forecast for this portion of my street taken straight off the face of my smart phone. We’ve come a long way, it would seem, from squinting up at the sky and asking the nearest farmer. . . . [more]

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The Friday Fillip: Tout Court

I recently came across some cartoons about Supreme Court advocacy that I’d done up a number of years ago—and since The Friday Fillip is a bully pulpit of sorts, and since nothing out there has particularly caught my attention this week, I make so bold as to impose them on you. (Funny how the last one is no longer funny.)

All of which is respectfully inflicted…

. . . [more]

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The Friday Fillip: Dutch Treat

The great museums of the world are putting their riches online — at least, so many of them as can be represented by photographs or digital copies. If the internet was always a Wunderkamer, it is now almost insanely rich with representations of beautiful and potent objects. Of course, the map is not the territory — and neither does a photograph of a great work of art pack anything like the emotional punch of the work in the flesh, so to speak. That said, it’s still wonderful to roam through the riches of the Rijksmuseum, for example, which . . . [more]

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The Friday Fillip: A Curious Panopticon

What might Sardinian pastoral songs, Chinese oolong tea, and Moore Town Jamaica have in common?

The answer’s something of a cheat, because it’s: the United Nations, and more specifically, UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Back in 2003 the Conference of UNESCO approved the text of a Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage which came into force in 2006. The aim is to identify and to some extent work to preserve unique aspects of a nation’s or a region’s received culture — intangible heritage, which:

includes traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to

. . . [more]

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