Knowledge


Understatement of the century: I am an argumentative person. This is no truer than when I am on the Internet. (This strip is me.)

I have been arguing in various Internet forums – message boards, chat rooms, and more recently, facebook statuses/comments – ever since I really got into the Internet roughly 10 years ago. And I have very consistently noticed one trend in the most heated of battles that I feel I must speak out about. I call it the “more research” gambit.

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I had the unique experience (for me) a little over a week ago of getting into a discussion with my mother about politics. This is not a common occurrence in the least: I try to stay out of political discussions in person with people both that I know well personally and that have distinctly different views than I do. (My father is one of these people. Strange how opinions can diverge so much in just a generation.)

But ultimately, what the discussion ended up focusing on was not a political issue – although one was the initial catalyst for the conversation – but rather an epistemological and ethical issue.

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Note: This piece contains details of sexual anatomy and gender-related issues.

My most recent excavation into the seldom-visited realm of “reading for enjoyment” (“seldom” because I generally have to keep up with other reading professionally or other work) was Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel Middlesex. I had originally run into this title in an issue of English Journal (see here for more discussion of the EJ issue in question), and I was curious despite some initial skepticism after seeing that Eugenides’ last published novel was The Virgin Suicides. (In truth, I shouldn’t have judged his work based on the title of one book, just like it would be unfair to judge Salman Rushdie on The Satanic Verses.) When I found a hardcover edition on sale for approximately $7-8 at my local chain bookstore, I decided to jump in.

It was a good move.

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