August 11th, 2018

(no subject)

I am not sure I quite understand the situation played out in this tweet, but this is a bit of history that’s been coming up more and more often lately, and that’s been confusing for me. People find it important. People are willing to call others hate criminals for saying something unorthodox about the Holocaust. They would get so worked up they would demand that Facebook as a company (and perhaps Twitter as well, and others too) directly intervene and pull down unorthodox utterances about the Holocaust. And why? It is a piece of history. It is like saying that WWII never happened, or happened but in fact claimed fewer lives; or that it was started by the USSR, or that it wasn’t. To quote Hillary, what difference at this point does it make?

It’s up to the society to guard against another genocide; that I can totally get behind. That’s about the present and about the future. But to fight, to actually fight over narratives about the past? That’s just nuts.

(no subject)

Tech talent: a PC euphemism for code monkeys that devalues the word talent.

(I mean, if they were really tech talent, they would handle Inferno, Elm, Pux, Om, Cycle, Reason-React, what have you, without breaking a sweat.)

(no subject)

Another example of a piece of history whose leakage into the public consciousness I found surprising, was the argument about the genuineness of the Tale of Igor’s Campaign.

This is a text that was (or was not, as the other side suggested) written some eight centuries ago. Only a microscopic fraction of the population ever tried to read it in its transcribed original. A slightly larger fraction perhaps gave it some conscious attention and can in any meaningful way discuss its contents. It has an indisputable value for a linguist, a literary scholar, or a historian. It surely may have some value for an amateur connoisseur of literature. But other than that, I fail to comprehend its importance.

Does that mean that students of literature should not study it? Certainly not.

Does that mean that Andrei Zaliznyak didn’t do a brilliant job with his historico-linguistic analysis of this document pushing the forgery hypothesis out of the bounds of probability? Certainly not; his book is a masterpiece of linguistic reasoning.

Does that mean that kids shouldn’t study this text at school? I have no idea (I am generally confused as to the purpose of studying literature at school).

But why oh why should the general public be passionate about whether it’s a genuine historical text or an 18-th century forgery? Why does this argument leave the confines of the academia?

I can imagine some reasons, like arguing that the ancient Russians had their original literature as early as ... century; and that somehow should elevate the modern Russians in their eyes. But that’s childish!