A Word About My Late Silence

Several loyal orthosphereans have written me privily in recent days, to inquire politely after my health and well-being. This, due to my recent absence from this and every other online forum.

I write now therefore to assure any others who have been likewise worried that everything is fine with me personally, except in one enormously important respect: my wife and I have been for the last few months entirely, and indeed more than entirely, engaged in moving houses (and buying, and selling, too). Moving is irksome and distracting even for a college kid with nothing more than a backpack of clothes and a shelf or two of books. We however have been engaged in a move more massive by several orders of magnitude: downsizing after a career of raising kids in a large house with (we now realize) really ridiculously grand amounts of storage.

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The Rectification of Grammar

The Rectification of Names is obviously important, if our talk is to be pertinent to reality, ergo effectual. But prior to the rectification of terms is the rectification of the grammar we use to treat of them. If we can’t agree on the right *way* to talk, we shall certainly find it impossible to agree on the right things to talk *about.*

Too often on sites putatively dedicated to the restoration of the West, or of Tradition, or to Reaction (toward tradition) have I seen writers err grammatically, at the most basic level; even that of the agreement as to number of subject and verb. It makes them look like fools.

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Our Deathless Essays

We have just published a new page in the Resources section of the Orthosphere, intended to provide a synoptic view of the articles we think might be of lasting interest or value. A few months ago, we started categorizing such articles as Essays, and introduced a widget on the main page of the site that listed the twenty most recent essays. The new page is intended to supplement that list, and provide an easy way for readers to see all the essays we have so far categorized as such. It is a simple bullet list of titles, ordered by date of publication.

Now, the real work begins. Only the last few months of writing have been consistently evaluated for their timelessness, and we have been publishing here for more than five years. The contributors have a lot of work to do in categorizing earlier posts as essays.

Please let us know of suggestions that would make the page easier to use.

Essays Timely and Timeless

Alert readers will have noticed the recent appearance at the right of this page of a new “widget,” as such things are called in the jargon of WordPress: Recent Essays. It is intended to provide a way of seeing our recent long-form posts that, in the estimation of their authors, deserve to remain in view for a bit longer than might be the case if they appeared only in the main thread of posts.

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The New and Improved Comments Policy

There are two changes, only, to the language long present in our Comments Policy. First, we have added a new first sentence:

Comments at the Orthosphere are moderated by the contributors.

Second, we have increased the stringency of our criteria for the sorts of comments we deem fit to appear here, as follows; new language is in bold:

In some cases we may also delete comments on grounds such as libel, obscenity, incoherence or stupidity, or abuse of English grammar, syntax, or diction. The Orthosphere is meant to be a bastion of civilization, so barbarity of any sort will suffer the editorial axe.

Comments that are not immediately intelligible to a moderator will not be posted.

Babelonian Synchronicity

Believe it or not, I only this evening realized that, while my post of the 26th and JM Smith’s post of the 23rd were quite different, both concerned Babylon. I suppose his post must have played a role in my intuition – in an email correspondence with Tom Bertonneau a few days later – that “Babel” might be a suitable name for our Enemy in his current corporeal instantiation. In retrospect, it seems as though it could hardly have been otherwise. But at the time, I had no conscious recollection of Dr. Smith’s excellent essay. None whatsoever. Had you asked me about it, I would have been able to reel off a précis of the piece. But at no point in the writing of my post a few days later did it occur to my recollection.

In this event, at least two things are of interest to me.

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A Thousand Essays

The Orthosphere yesterday reached 1,000 posts since we began writing here in early 2012. Meaningless in itself, this passage nevertheless marks a milestone. It is fitting then to reflect on how well we have met our original purpose, of providing a traditional, orthodox Christian perspective on the maelstrom ever in progress here on Earth.

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Notice: The Orthosphere May Be Moving

Our domain is expiring quite soon, and we are having some frustrating difficulties renewing it. So we may need to copy the Orthosphere to another domain in the next few days. We’ll keep you posted.

Do any readers have expertise with the process of moving a whole WordPress site from one domain to another? If so, and if you are willing to help us figure out how to do it, please comment below and we’ll contact you by email.

Thanks, all.

UPDATE: The site moved this morning (February 8, 2016) to orthosphere.wordpress.com. This change may or may not be permanent.

 

The Temptation to Improper Reduction

One of the things I have noticed over the short course of my career as a blogger, and before that as a commenter on blogs, is that I often find myself responding to interlocutors with statements of the following general form:

To say that x is y is just not the same thing as saying that x is *nothing but* y.

I sooner or later say something like this in almost every comment thread. Almost every time I say, “x is y,” it generates an irate response from someone or other, sooner or later, to the effect that “x is not entirely y,” or even, “x is not entirely z.” This, despite the fact that I had not said, or implied, anything of the sort to which such responses might be apposite.

It’s a curious thing. I have begun to think that there is a universal temptation to improper reduction – to thinking that x really is nothing but y, so that y totally explains x. Once you have latched on to such a y, you hold onto it for dear life, because it seems to give you so much intellectual leverage. When that happens, you have become an ideologue, and your y has become your obsession – your precious.

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