Metaphors We Live By – George Lakoff and Mark Johnson [pdf]

Lots of great examples here. E.g., ideas are food (raw facts; a half-baked theory; let an idea percolate; devouring a book) and theories are buildings (ideas need a foundation and support; construct a theoretical framework; buttress an argument), etc. (via). Makes me think of George Saunders:

When we get better at expressiveness, we get better at understanding, better at sympathy, better at bullshit-detection, better at experiencing pleasure, better at true engagement (with others, with the world, with ourselves).

Update: I think this is one reason I love learning about the history of a word. Like when I learned the word raga is related to the Sanskrit word for dye (the musical form colors your mood!), or when I was reading The Gift of Fear recently and learned that intuition has roots in a word meaning protection, defense, guardianship (you trust it because it has your interests at heart). Learning where a word comes from, like metaphors, has a way of changing your perspective or giving you another lens to see language through. And yeah, I just used two metaphors to explain how etymology is like a metaphor. Boom!

Metaphors We Live By – George Lakoff and Mark Johnson [pdf]

I Don’t Understand What Anyone Is Saying Anymore – Dan Pallotta – Harvard Business Review

I was at a Hilton a few weeks ago. They had taken this absurdity to its logical end. There was a huge sign in the lobby that said, “Our goal is to exceed the customer’s expectation.” The best way to start would be to take down that bullshit sign that just reminds me, as a customer, how cosmic the gap is between what businesses say and what they do.

Filed under: bullshit.

I Don’t Understand What Anyone Is Saying Anymore – Dan Pallotta – Harvard Business Review

There are cases were poetry creates itself. […] Let us take the title of one of the most famous books in the world, El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha. […] “De la Mancha” – now this sounds noble and Castilian to us, but when Cervantes wrote it down he intended the word to sound perhaps as if he wrote “Don Quixote of Kansas City” […]. You see how those words have changed, how they have been ennobled.

Jorge Luis Borges in “The Riddle of Poetry” segment of his Norton Lectures. File under Borges.

Art Bollocks – Bryan Ashbee

The art market is not a free market. It’s rigged; hugely distorted by the presence of public subsidy – the grants and funding available to organisations and individuals deemed to be producing “significant” work. To get access to this, it’s even more important that artists create the right theoretical discourse to surround their work.

Also known as bullshit. A handy guide for writing your own art bollocks:

A useful catch-all formula can be applied to all of this work, which I freely offer here, without charge:

“X’s work
{popular notions/stereotypes/archetypes/conventions/the mythology/strategies}
by …”
followed by a nod at whatever images or objects are assembled.

Art Bollocks – Bryan Ashbee

Phonestheme – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The word refers to the “systematic pairing of form and meaning in a language” where “a word with a phonestheme in it has other material in it that is not itself a morpheme.”

For example, the English phonestheme “gl-” occurs in a large number of words relating to light or vision, like “glitter”, “glisten”, “glow”, “gleam”, “glare”, “glint”, and so on

I love this stuff. Here’s a list of English phonesthemes.

  • /st/ is stable, stalwart, staunch, steadfast, steady, stolid, stout, and sturdy
  • /sk/ scuffles, skips, scuttles, scoots, scampers, scurries, and skedaddles
  • /dr/ drips, dribbles, drools, dredges, drizzles, drops, droops, and drags with the dross, dregs and the dreck

Phonestheme – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia