Thursday, December 14, 2006

Awaken, mind...

I've taken to spending more time reading and viewing the eclectic postings of the internet. There's a lot of trash out there, but sorting through it isn't too hard. A sentence or two of any thing will tell you if the writer has anything to say and if he or she can say it well.

I was tantalized today by a writer reviewing a new book on suburbia, Sprawl: A Compact History. Enticed not only by the reviewer's take on the topic, but beguiled by a new word, or at least one I no longer could find in my RAM: casuistry.

Doesn't that roll off the tongue beautifully. You almost want to say it several times. It is so elegant, much better than saying specious argument. And, his problem with Sprawl was precisely because he deems any defense of suburbia to be casuistry. Moreover, I think he is spot on. The notion that because we like our American suburban lifestyle it can and will go on indefinitely is a particularly vacuous idea when we face the ultimate disappearance of the fossil fuels that made this lifestyle possible in the first place.

Of course the review was a bit long and somewhat ponderous, so word choice as a criteria for choosing a well-written piece may not be the only criteria for sorting through the plethora of stuff on the internet. (Well, you know that if you read this far.)


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