Bunched Panties: "You're Not Gonna Read It, So I Might As Well Say It"


A Case For The Penultimate Comma

I finally have an example for why writers should include the comma after the penultimate item in a list.

I wrote a version of the following statement in this way just now:

John, Bob and Bill said the website should be out in a few days.

In this sentence, I was actually addressing John to say that Bob and Bill said something. However, if you belong to the cult of people who ixnay "the penultimate comma" (i.e., BRITONS!), you get the sense that the three of these people said something.

When you don't belong to this cult, you realize that Bob and Bill did the saying, and John is the person being addressed.

However, for clarity, i.e., so there was no confusion, I decided to put a colon after "John" and to omit the comma. This was an email sentence, not an essay sentence, so that was justified enough.

John: Bob and Bill said the website should be out in a few days.


Null Set

5. New College of Florida [ ]
That’s not a typo. The New College of Florida’s unofficial student mascot is actually the null set. After hearing rumors of this unique mascot but not being able to find any hard evidence on it, I placed a call to the school’s Office of Public Affairs, where the very friendly staffer informed me that while the 746-undergraduate college founded in 1960 doesn’t officially have a mascot, it’s fair to say that students adopted the null set early in the school’s history as a sly wink to its lack of athletic teams. Although the school now fields competitive teams in sailing, ultimate Frisbee, and soccer, the [ ] still seems almost as clever; one can’t afford to be all that picky when searching for a mascot based on set theory.
Cf. http://www.divinecaroline.com/article/22340/56399-mascot--eight-great-stories-strangely


Dating & Committing

Dating is experimenting. It's experimenting with a person. It's conducting experiments with yourself and this person to see what happens. What happens? What results? Experimenting. Experimenting. Experimenting.

Committing comes if you like the results of the experimenting. It's saying, "I like how our experiments have turned out. In light of that evidence, I want to forge a relationship with you. I want to entrust you with some of my needs. I will reward you with some of your needs. We'll do this in an equitable, balanced way. At least in principle. Sometimes it might be a little out of whack, but presumably not for long. If there's an indiscretition, I will make it up to you."

If you don't like the results of the experimenting, well there you go.


The Hope Message

So now tick the Hope Message off the list of usable slogans for election for the next 20some years.

The Hope Message is paired with a Message of Idealism. You see it reflected in the way the website is designed--misty, suggestive of clouds, "dreamy"--a stalwart contrast to other candidates' websites which were blockier and more "straightforward" in their design.

What troubles me about the Hope Message and the Message of Idealism is what troubles me when any one person has hope and idealism. What the Hope Message and the Message of Idealism do is they set expectations. Specifically, they set them very, very high, and in the case of idealism, they set them to unreachable levels. What this leads to in many cases, esp. with respect to idealism, is disappointment.

With disappointment can come a number of other feelings. Anger is one of them. Anger from frustration, frustration stemming from unmet expectations. Anger from frustration, frustration stemming from unkept promises, ruses exposed, highly abstract talk during the campaign meeting sadly difficult specifics and actualities. Ideals by definition are unreachable; else you call them goals. Goals are potentially reachable. While ideals take you in a direction, like the pursuit of perfection, the pursuit often leads to demoralization, obsession, self-obligation esp. to the point of self-destruction, among other behavioral "disorders."

And with disappointment can come sadness--a sadness that the candidate in whom you invested money, passion, psychology, argument, etc., did not meet expectations, ruining the Hope Message for the future, making it a laughingstock, or at least something of suspicion and scrutiny. The future was harmed by making the Hope Message primary. The Hope Message becomes the Joke Message.

I feel the Hope Message essentially manipulated people. I have felt this a long time. It manipulated people into voting for the candidate. Now, it did not manipulate every supporter into voting for the candidate (because people support a candidate for many different reasons, from the sophisticated reason to the ridiculous reason) but getting someone to associate Hope with a particular candidate is a recipe for getting a person in the short-term (read: run-up to the election and the transition into presidency) to invest in the candidate. Of course, the context of the times matters; the Hope Message works well in these disappointed times. But it is a guarantee of nothing. It was a golden escalator up to Whole Foods. It appealed to those who liked gold, escalators, and Whole Foods. It appealed to people who liked to hope. And thus it appealed to people who don't understand the emotional consequences of hoping.

I am not against hope. Instead, I am conservative about hope. Enough experience of hoping has taught me to avoid hoping and to be more temperate. I've gone from saying "It will happen" to "I hope it will happen," which is more of a verbal shift. What's gone on emotionally is different from what is literally said: A shift from Hoping It Will Happen (wishful thinking) to Waiting & Seeing. So I Wait and See.

For what benefit? To avoid disappointment. To avoid the anger. And to avoid the drainage of energy that comes with it. I need my energy for my battles. The Hope Message sets me up to rob me of my energy later. Did we have sub-prime politics at play? Did we get offered the hope of a house only later to find ourselves houseless, a president's campaign messaging to blame?

These have been feelings for a long while. I never got excited about this election. Instead it made me scared for the emotional future of the citizens of the U.S.

I can't imagine who wants to hear the above; however, I imagine in years to come it will echo eerily.


Summa Jotta

  • Actions give rise to qualities and classes.
  • For example, If I run, I "am a runner" (class), and If I run, I look "fit."
  • Actions do not always give rise to qualties and classes; sometimes, qualities and classes come about independent of actions.
  • For example, I do not need to act in a particular way to be seen as "fat"; nor do I need to do anything to be classified as "a fat man."
  • The above may interesting to the actor.


10,000 (Revisited)

Just listened to this song again:



Follow along with the lyrics. I'm pretty damn impressed with what I created then. Playing it loud is downright scary. But that's kinda what anger is: scary.

Not that it needs to be. It's understandable, considering the circumstances.

More Posting Songs are here: http://benhauck.com/writing/songs/