Portraits of Wildflowers

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Archive for March 15th, 2022

A graceful curve

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On March 4th in northwest Austin I noticed the graceful curve in this dry frostweed leaf (Verbesina virginica). While I’ve photographed dry leaves whenever interesting ones have come my way, as this one did, Alessandra Chaves has done so in a more studied fashion.


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On Gods, Both Ancient and Modern

When I entered high school in 1959 and had to pick a foreign language to study, my father recommended Latin because English has gotten a large part of its vocabulary from Latin. In many of those cases English has borrowed directly, especially for formal words like platitude, indigenous, liberator, and curriculum. English also acquired many Latin words indirectly via the French language that evolved from Latin. Those words include conspicuously French ones like renaissance, fiancee, and omelette, along with many more that seem so native you’d hardly suspect English borrowed them: beef, count, sure, just, pair, money. My father was right, and Latin has stood me in good stead over the six decades since he recommended it.

The people who spoke Latin were of course the Romans, who practiced a religion that included many gods. In most cases the names of Roman gods were just forms of Latin words that designated something the god was supposed to be in charge of or have to do with. In Mercury, the messenger of the gods, we see the same linguistic root that we’ve inherited in commerce and merchant. Venus, the goddess of desire, has a name related to the native English word want.

The Latin word for ‘gods’ was DEI (the Romans wrote in capital letters only; lower case letters got added centuries later). I find DEI, ‘gods,’ to be a happy coincidence because DEI is the initialism that stands for the Holy Trinity of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion now worshipped in the secular religion that has overtaken so many of our institutions. Last year it occurred to me that that secular Holy Trinity could be shuffled around to make the initialism IDE, a convenient reminder that the Roman IDEs of March, which originally designated the first new moon in a given month in the Roman calendar, later came to connote an ill-fated day. Today happens to be the IDEs of March for 2022.

In what I’ll grant you is wishful thinking, I’d realized a year or two ago that the terms in the modern secular Holy Trinity could also be shuffled around to make not an initialism but an appropriate acronym: DIE, which is what would happen to wokeism in a just world. Though I came up with that on my own, it’s obvious enough that other critics of the ideology have independently hit upon it too. One of them is Jordan Peterson, who used it in an article two months ago. I encourage you to read “Why I am no longer a tenured professor at the University of Toronto: The appalling ideology of diversity, inclusion and equity is demolishing education and business.”

And in one last coincidence involving religion, let me point out that the terms in the modern secular Holy Trinity could be rearranged to lend themselves to the acronym EID. In Islam, Eid (al-Fitr) is the holiday that celebrates the end of the month of Ramadan and the giving up of fasting. Would that we could permanently give up the cultish worshiping of Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity—the latter two of which hypocritically exclude a diversity of opinions.

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman






Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 15, 2022 at 4:33 AM

Posted in nature photography

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