Monday, October 16, 2006

The Stained Man

From the comment section of the previous post:

Number 2 Sister said...
What the hell is with this new subtitle --"Refutation and Overthrow of Falsely So-Called Knowledge" ?! Sounds kind of arrogant. If I didnt' know "The Hanged Man" was you, I'd keep right on surfing after seeing that subtitle.

I was really partial to the former subtitle that referred to spilling things on yourself. It was humorous. It was humble. It was true.
(factoid for anyone not related to us: All of the Hughes progeny spill on themselves. It makes our wedding dinners easy to find in over booked hotels. Just look for the room full of people with stained shirts and you're there.)

Oh believe me, I'm still spilling things on myself. In fact, just last week I was talking to a co-worker about something work-related. When I finished, she nodded her head and then pointed to my chest: I had slopped red marinara sauce on my white shirt. I responded the only sensible way. I yelled "Goddammit!" and got some club soda.

The new subtitle is not my original. I stole it, word for word, from the title of a five-volume book by Irenaeus, the second century Christian philosopher. "Refutation" was his interpretation of the four gospels, and was influential on the council at Nicea when they decided what beliefs would make up the Catholic (ie "universal") Christian Church. In the early years of Christianity, there were many sects, each with varying interpretations of Christ's words and actions. Irenaeus sought to establish an orthodox system of beliefs, and made plain that those who strayed from these beliefs were heretics. So if the title sounds arrogant, well, take it up with Irenaeus.

Personally, I thought it was funny. In these days when language is used to completely confuse and obscure (ie - "The Clean Air Act" which actually increases the number of pollutants allowed in the atmosphere) something about the strength and the directness of the words amused me, not to mention how completely inappropriate they were for this website.

I never intended the subtitles to be permanent, so I'll probably be changing it soon.

Fun with SpellCheck: For "Irenaeus," "ironies" was suggested, and the "Nicean" Council should actually be the "Nice" Council.


Carol said...

That you even know who Iraneus (sp?) is astounds me.

Have you read "Don't Think of an Elephant" by George Lakoff? If you haven't, let me know and if I can find our copy I'll send it to you.

the hanged man said...

I only know of Irenaeus and his work because he is mentioned in Beyond Belief by Elaine Pagels. Ms. Pagels has written several excellent books about the intellectual development of the early Christian church. I love her work, and would probably throw myself at her feet if I ever met her.

Don't Think of An Elephant sounds great. I've often thought about the fact that whoever sets the terms of an argument almost always wins it, to the point where it's not worth even engaging in a debate with someone once they have set the parameters. So, please send when you get a chance, and thank you.

Iva said...

I didn't know the quote came from St. Irenaeus and it rather surprised me when you said it was. I remembered that he wrote against the Gnostic "heresy" in the early days of the Church and I always thought that you were a bit of a Gnostic. I did get a kick out of the "Nice" Council though. It sounds as if Monty Python could have used the idea for a skit.
Love you,

Bob Fingerman said...

Yeah, but you know what Irenaeus's friends called him behind his back, don't you?