Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The new floor in my workspace is down and the walls were painted today. Tomorrow they put down a protective layer of wax on the new tiles, and then I'll get to move back in.

I came across a letter, dated 3 March 1999, from Ong to Bill Moyers. Moyers was interested in interviewing Fr. Ong for a project but at the time couldn't get the funding. What I found most interesting was Ong's suggested topics of discussion. He wrote:

"For our interview, I suggest talking around two things. (1) Why Orality and Literacy (now translated into twelve languages) has been so popular worldwide. Not because it says the last thing on the relationship of orality and literacy -- there is no way to do this. Basically, because it makes evident the falsity of the view of language common among those who can read and write, that is, that languages are normally written, when in fact almost none are ever written (South American Indian, African, North African, Indian, Asian, including the Pacific Islands), many now extinct languages, etc., and most still in use will die before they are written -- there is a huge literature today on dying languages. (2) The work of Denise Schmandt-Besserat at the University of Texas and of others showing that the first writing in the world (Sumerian, in Mesopotamia), did not grow out of drawing pictures but out of hand-made chips -- forerunners of computer chips! No doubt of this now. We started where we are ending! I've tried out these two subjects on several small groups and found they really turn people on."

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