memoirs, art and fragments by Thomas Milner

Archive for August 10, 2012

Babel (2)

THE TOWER OF BABEL

Once again I take up the old heavy green-bound book from 1860 called THE BIBLE OF EVERY LAND which is a history of the Sacred Scriptures in every language and dialect into which translations have been made. It contains the alphabets and descriptive natures and a specimen portion (of the Bible) of each language … and I don’t know about anyone else but, as I read down the list, my mind is reels.

I love lists.

Each name stirs my spirit.

Each single language conjures so much,

 Culture overload.

I feel tired already.

There is enough ethnography and philology in this one weighty and cumbersome volume to keep an army of be-jacketed-with-leather-patched-elbows academics occupied for years.

I see Doctoral Theses galore here.

I see Specialization and Niches;

I see Tenures and Fellowships,

Sinecures and Visiting Lectureships;

I see recondite monographs in esoteric journals stretching far into the future.

In short, Academe beckons.

Look guys, it’s all here; but there’s just one catch!

You have to read this mighty tome.

Read it slowly and inwardly digest.

But unfortunately this isn’t the age of reading slowly and carefully.

Actually it’s not the age of reading at all.

It’s the age of  information retrieval & extraction;

The age of skimming & scanning & reading for gist.

The age of the synopsis and the resumé

The age of let’s-just-cut-to-the-chase and what’s-the-bottom-line?

I bet that if you’re still reading this you’re thinking why-don’t-you-just-get-to-the-point-man?

There is no particular point here

Just my little rant

Just a lament for a former age

The Age of Universal Literacy.

(I should get out more).

DETAIL of PAINTING by THOMAS MILNER

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