Musings on Muses
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
Thoughts, Deep and Otherwise
It has been a crazy week, one that has left muchfood for thought. I thought I might share some of my reflections here. I don't profess any of them to be deep or original, just my $0.02

On Expertise

It is remarkable to see the armchair experts come out of the woodwork in the comments boxes whenever big news breaks. I don't mean the lawyers opining on law. I mean that all of the sudden the average layman is an expert on canon law in all of its intricacies.

On Accuracy

I am picky. I tend to be a stickler for precision but perhaps it shouldn't surprise me that most people aren't. How can I read something, distill the basic facts of the passage and later in conversation find that 90% of those facts have been missed by other readers of the same passage?

On Leaping to Conclusions

I will never again read the newspaper the same way. Recent events have brought home a lesson I should have learned long ago: "You can rarely fit the truth of a situation into a column." Yet for most of us, an article is all that we have to go on when reacting to a situation brought to our attention in the new. Leaving out all instances of bias and spin, Newspapers just can't tell the whole story. We all ought to be careful when speaking of "facts" because in a court of law, the only facts are those found in the course of trial. And our perception of facts given in the newspaper can be skewed by the way a story is written, was information was available, and how reliable the sources are.

On Beauracracies

Has anyone noticed that beauracracies the world over react to scandal and crisis in exactly the same way. In stating this I do not imply conspiracy but rather a tendency of an organizational structure to act in a certain way because of the incentives and punishments that govern that structure. Job security is the summum bonum of the beauraucrat. Don't rock the boat, steady as she goes, and your seniority will carry you ever upwards. Anything embarrassing is a threat and so it must be dealt with quickly and quietly. Has anyone noticed that the public school system has dealth with sexual molestation in the same way that the Catholic church has? Sound like the fault may be in a beauracracy trying to rid itself of embarrasssing and expensive problemes, no matter who gets hurt in the process.

On the Logic of Stories

As an aspiring author and longtime reader, I am quite familiar with the phrase "Truth is stranger than fiction because fiction has to make sense." Yet my experience has taught me that even life in the real world has to make sense. Peoples rarely act randomly. They have motive for their action and it is usually coherant. Therefore, when you are piecing together a story and something doesn't smell right, apply Occam's Razor and then ask yourself if it would work in a novel. (Because good stories don't need farfetched premises.)

Thursday, July 01, 2004
Updates from Casa de Stitchwitch
Many of you (ok, my five regular readers) may have been wondering where I've been. I've been on a small blogging hiatus and hope to start posting more regularly once I've finished some pressing projects around here. I went on a lovely cruise to Alaska with my family, managed to relax, had my toenails painted, that sort of thing. I've been busy with a writing project, errands, and a neverending pile of laundry but life is returning to normal.

On a side note, those who know me might be aware that my church is going through something of a mess. Please pray for us. I feel like I'm in a badly written melodrama, and as I like all of the folks involved, I don't want any of them to be the villain twirling his moustache.

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