oh, kurt.

"No offense intended, but it would never occur to me to look for the best minds in any generation in an undergraduate English department anywhere. I would certainly try the physics department or the music department first -- and after that biochemistry. Everybody knows that the dumbest people in any American university are in the education department, and English after that."
- Kurt Vonnegut on Allen Ginsberg, quoted here, via Entertaining Research

1 comment:

waking jonas said...

he's right too. why would you devote years of study to mastering a language that was nurtured into you since infancy? where is the progress?

take the word "dumb" for instance. anyone who has a basic understanding of english knows the definition of "dumb".

"dumb" (old english) derived from a combination of the old norse "dumbr" and the gothic "dumbs", is commonly used to refer to stupidity, or lack of intelligence as a bastardization of the original definition "lacking of speech or silent".

when an english speaker reads, writes, says, or conceives of the word "dumb", it manifests in the mind as a result of unique experience of "dumb". this experience is continually adjusted to reflect any new information that is received, related, and classified under "dumb" as a signifier.

how the speaker receives new information on a particular signifier is dependent on usage by other speakers. however, the desired result of communication is mutual understanding. one speaker's comprehension of a signifier, if varying, must be modified for unification.



undeniable abstractions, so delicately defined and completely vulnerable to manipulation.

we are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams.