Word of the day: calumny

(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

According to Bing Definitions, calumny means defamation or a defamatory statement. Most certainly applied where the writer wants to depict the vilest of attacks on a person’s character, calumny is used by Sunil Dutta in his piece today, talking about the terrible tragedy currently unfolding in Ferguson, MO. He uses it as follows –

It is also a terrible calumny; cops are not murderers.

Source: I’m a cop. If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t challenge me. – The Washington Post

Sunil talks about the Ferguson riots and the near-military state situation from a seat of experience. He was with the LAPD for 17 years before he started his teaching career. While some might see the article as a simple Do/Do Not list for when one is approached by a police officer, the underlying tone is that of frustration. Too often, people overreact to a casual situation when a cop is involved, myself included. Sunil explains how the officers themselves are mere humans who are trained well to be calm in all situations, but have legal backing to take action in case they feel that their own life or the lives of others is threatened.

Sunil’s explanation for police violence is that it is never brought forth against people who follow the rules, remain calm and obey orders. He agrees there are exceptions in terms of corrupt or aggressive cops, but the majority of incidents that happen are because of people who act out against cops. This might seem like a very opinionated view, but that’s exactly what’s needed right now. No one is talking from a coherent point of view from the other side. The police are being demonized by media from all over the world and no one from the authorities are talking about the investigation into the incident.

John Gruber, a blogger and Internet personality, has criticized this article by summarizing the suggestions laid out by the article as follows – “Don’t question authority or you might get beaten or shot. Astounding.” Frankly, that’s a fairly negative and populist opinion. What happened that night in Ferguson was a tragedy, but if you look at it from the side of those charged with not just uphold the law but also to enforce it, you’ll realize that there’s more to every such story than mere shades of black and white.

Word of the Day: metonym

According to Wikipedia, metonym is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is replaced by another that has a similar meaning. That is to say, you don’t want to call a thing by it’s name and you use another name in it’s stead. That is to say, you use it’s synonym instead. Essentially, metonym means instead. Now, where would you find such a convoluted word for such a simple meaning? Why, in The Hindu’s Editorial, of course! Specifically, this is how it is used in an OpEd piece I was reading today – Continue reading

Notes for Week 19 of 2014

The last time I did this, it was week 2 of 2014. But here we are again, with a bunch of nice links to share with you nice folks. Enjoy!

 

Internet

Which is the most popular IP among network engineers? It’s 8.8.8.8, which is Google’s DNS. But this wasn’t always the first IP to be pinged. Before this was Level 3’s not-really-public DNS on 4.2.2.2. Here’s an excellent roundup of the story behind the company across the hill.

Critical Thinking

Here’s a very simple, very straightforward approach to critical thinking. Be advised, I love repeating this ‘program’ over and over again. Do bookmark it.

Religion

Here’s an image explaining why religion can be a bad thing sometimes. Enjoy. 🙂

Writing Tools

There are some really interesting writing tools on the Internet. Here are two that blew my mind with their approach – Gingko and Lines. Do tell me what you think about them.

Finally

Speaking of writing tools, here’s one of my favorites. It’s a beautiful idea, embodied by the simple example that the developer created called “I Made Tea”. I’d really like to know what my readers make with something as elegant as Telescopic Text.

 

On the Absurdity of Subconscious Thought

As I stood there in the hall, waiting for the pizza delivery woman to figure out down which path lay apartment 219, I felt the overpowering urge to rip out my beard from my face. My beard was itchy and irritating, having not grown fully as it has now and I just felt like tearing it out, along with the skin just below it, leaving behind the same smooth skin that I get after every shave. I covered the hair with my hands and imagined doing just so, knowing full well the impossibility of the task. Yet I imagined it away and just imagining it made me feel better. Continue reading

Death

Death,

come to me slowly

and stand besides me

like a friend

for I will have lived fully

by the time you come.

Or,

stand in attention

like an enemy

and let us fight

till the end of eternity

before you take my soul.

But,

do not creep up suddenly

and take me with

a treacherous knife in my back

like a wretched, unwary man.

 

Death,

fight me like an enemy

or greet me as a friend

but be not a stranger

when you take me in the end.

The Path of the Creative person

I was talking to my friend Rahul[ADN|Twitter|Facebook] about an idea I had about ‘ideas’ and how I would represent visually the need to protect our precious idea from all the negative people around us who would rather see that idea die than to help or even support us. He captured it quite brilliantly in this sketch he made –

The Path of the Creative


Rahul does some pretty creative work on his Tumblr – LicenseToDraw

The Death of the Author

there is, however, someone who understands each word in its duplicity and who, in addition, hears the very deafness of the characters speaking in front of him-this someone being precisely the reader.

via The Death of the Author by Roland Barthes Full Text, Downloads, Cliff Notes, and Essays.

 

This text, pointed to me by Dan on ADN (which was in response to this article posted there by Matthew) reflects what I believe about writing today – that in as much as we want to give meaning to the text in terms of the context of the author, the real meaning can only be derived by the reader himself. The same is true, in my book, about any art – paintings, sculptures etc, where it is not the artist’s life, times, societal pressures or addictions, that define the true meaning of the work, but the impressions it makes upon the viewer that truly reflect the value of the art. Continue reading

On Writing

Recently, while on a plane, I was talking to the person next to me and in his inebriated drool, he gave me an idea that can be a major plot point for a story I’m working on. That spurred me into thinking that of all the things that we as writers do to get ideas flowing. Most certainly, on the top of the list is taking inspiration from around us. There’s plenty of inspiration hidden all around and we just need to reach out and allow it into our lives. It may be by talking to strangers or reading new things or just carefully observing something commonplace.

Continue reading