on writing

Via the ever-wonderful RMS at the Worst Horse, I have discovered, downloaded, installed, and am now using Ommwriter. As my long-time readers know, I have a complicated relationship with all things marketed as “Zen” or “Buddhist” or in any way a part of the spirituality business to the extent that it rubs my leftist leanings the wrong way, raising my quiet indignation against the system, the market-saturated culture of oppression in which we often find ourselves.

But. I digress.

I digress because I may be a convert here. The experience of actually using Ommwriter is, to put it bluntly, pretty freakin’ cool. I think part of the reason I’m enjoying it is because I was reminded yesterday about an article I read some years ago — one of those articles written by a linguist or a statistician at MIT back when the Internet was still called ARPANET, the kind of paper that gets shuffled from hard drive to hard drive before ending up in some dusty corner of the web to be found by the likes of me. I can’t now recall where I found that article, but I do recall that its author claimed that word processing programs are evil. They are evil because they force users to become two fundamentally different types of people simultaneously: typists and typesetters. The art of writing, of typing, is something that requires focus and dedication. And word processing programs, to the extent that they distract you with auto-spelling corrections and troubling you with type face and fonts and margins and so on, get in the way of writing. A good writer, the author suggested, should just write — and only once she’s finished, should she worry about Helvetica or Times New Roman, single or double space.

response to a sociopath

I lieu of anything more profound, on a general interest or even, dare I say it, Buddhist topic, and in lieu of a long-winded diatribe about the general hypocrisy and double standard in American media whenever a Muslim, a person of color, a non-Chrisitian — in short, a non-white heterosexual middle-class male — does anything, I offer the following.

I’ve been thinking about the tragedy at Ft. Hood, and I’ve been actively boycotting the media ever since I heard an interview on NPR — NPR of all places! — of an Army chaplain who happens to be a Muslim. They were interviewing him and asking him asinine questions because another person who also happens to be a Muslim went on a sociopathic shooting spree, as if there’s something about being a Muslim that makes one predisposed to being a sociopath or that there’s something about being a Muslim that makes you able to relate to all other Muslims. And I found myself thinking, after another sociopath who happens to be a Christian gunned down an abortion doctor earlier this year, did NPR seek out the nearest Christian clergy member and ask similarly inane questions about Christianity? Or did they just assume, rightly, that that one lone sociopath was indeed a sociopath, nothing more and nothing less, who happened to use his religious views as justification for his behavior? It’s a fine line. But it’s a line worth keeping in our minds. I’d like to call that line: “Sociopathic behavior is bad no matter what; but just because said sociopath happened to belong to marginalized group X does not mean that all members of marginalized group X are sociopaths.”

legos and rebirth

xkcd lego

Hello all. I have returned from my travels to annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion in the beautiful city of Montréal, Canada, a little wiser, a little more burdened with books, and a little older (I celebrated a birthday while there). I have very intention of writing a much longer post on some thoughts I’ve been having in regards to my chosen career path, but those will have to wait. Suffice it to say, there are 69 unread emails in my inbox right now (and not all of them are Facebook notifications!) so I should probably dig myself out of my out-of-office hole first, before I do anything else.

But, in lieu of a more formal post, I wanted to share the above XKCD comic with you. The Buddhists in the audience will get the reference almost immediately.

more love

So I’m heading to the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion on Friday. Apart from that, busy. I’ve been fairly, thoroughly, busy. I keep having random thoughts about what I’d like to write about, responses to various things that have crossed my desk, so to speak, in regards to the Internets and Buddhism and politics, blah blah blah.

But I don’t particularly have time for that. Or, to put not to fine a point on it, I don’t particularly feel like ranting or commenting. I feel like investing my energies elsewhere. Perhaps all that love from my last post has take hold of me, firmly, and just. won’t. let. go.

So, in lieu of anything more formal and thoughtful, I’ll leave you with this lovely video until my return. It says what I’m feeling much better than I possibly could.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHoDsZDMH_Y&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&feature=player_embedded&fs=1%5D