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Thursday, January 29, 2004

The Problem with Literary References 

I've already gotten some flak for this blog – but not the kind I fretted (fret) over.

At lunch yesterday, some of my bloggin' co-workers complained about my blog's title. They've got a point: purloined is an archaic word that I would never use in speech (except maybe when I'm doing my best BBC reporter imitation), and I would look askance at anyone else who did.

They made another point that they might not have been cognizant of. My title is a literary reference (which is why I imagine Diann, literary type that she is, clicked my title as it scrolled by on Blogger's top page and then commented on my second-ever post – I love that about blogs, by the way). I made this particular reference because of the story's themes of intended audiences, privacy and its protection.

But the reference is to a story I'd read over 30 years ago – and hell! these guys hadn't even been born yet. Sure it stuck with me, and I, among others, consider it a classic, but let's face it: the number of 'classics' that have been created in the last 30 years has increased exponentially. Why should they have read something that impressed me 30 years ago when there's so much else they have to do to stay culturally literate.

Which leads me to the societal obligations and problems of trying to stay current, which do not rest solely on newer generations.

[Next: "Earl Grey hot!" and Picard's diplomatic mission to understand the culture that could only communicate through their stories.]


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