An old, old scribble. I must’ve scanned this almost ten years ago.

This year, I’ve been trying to get at least one book of a type that I don’t usually read from the library every time I go. So yesterday, I got Serving the Word by Vincent Crapanzano, a study of literalism in fundamentalist thought and legal thought. It’s relatively intellectual—usually a good thing. I think it’s one of the few books I’ve ever read where the author uses the word “adumbrate” (which is apparently a synonym for “summarize”.) Ah well, never use a long word when a diminutive one will do. The introduction was full of academic jargon, and I barely got through it. The first chapter was a heck of a lot more accessible and interesting.

A brief quote from the introduction on page 22:

[Americans] have no political idiom: we talk a lot about politics, but talk of politics is not the same as articulating our experience of the world and our position in it in political terms.

Could someone who is more familiar with soft science jargon explain what the heck that means? Also, there seem to be a vocal minority of people on the Net who cast everything in political terms. For these people, every minor policy decision or political utterance is greeted with “OMG teh LIBERALS are wasting our tax dollars building landing strips for gay Martians!” or “OMG teh CONSERVATIVES are killing fluffy bunnies and spotted owls!”. Maybe Vincent C. meant something different.

Another interesting quote from chapter 1, page 41:

Billy Sunday’s theology was slim: his basic message, according to William Martin, was that being a good Christian was “adhering to dominant political and economic orthodoxies and upholding the moral standards of the Anglo-Saxon Protestant middle class.”

This was in the 1920s. Wow, the more things change, the more they stay the same.