A Sort of Introduction.
by David Kennedy Bird
This is the inaugural entry in a new blog, “Calling All Flockbinkers.” It may be a little different from the sort of thing you’re accustomed to, in the blogs you generally follow.
Different blogs have different personalities. Some are kind of like journal entries, detailing what the blogger has been up to recently. Some are more like a series of essays or articles, exploring issues related to society, culture, religion, the sciences, etc. (This would be an accurate description of my other blog, Alternate Takes: New Contributions to the Cultural Roar, also on WordPress.)
Some blogs, on the other hand, are playgrounds of the intellect, absurd yet rational, nonsensical yet philosophical, insightful yet ridiculous, heavy yet light, short yet tall, fat yet chartreuse, strong yet geographical, tributary yet monogrammed, flatulent yet adverbial—settings for a bit of cognitive horsing around, using language and ideas as toys. But educational toys. Like Legos. Or perhaps an ant farm.
Well, ahem, i don’t know if there’s a large number of blogs that can be assigned to this third category. But the one you’re reading right now, can.
The content of this blog is going to be what we in the industry like to call ‘stand-up philosophy.’
A prevailing theme in this blog will be philosophical jokes, jokes about philosophers, jokes involving philosophy, jokes presented in a philosophical manner, philosophy presented in a joking manner, and joking philosophy.
Well now, was that one theme, or was it six? Oooohh. Wheels within wheels.
Here’s but a wee sample:
Confucius and the Buddha go into a diner.
Buddha: “The self is an illusion. To say ‘i’ is to be mistaken.”
Confucius: “Ah, then i take it i’ll be ordering for both of us.”
What? More? Here’s another one:
Confucius and the Buddha are placing their order.
Buddha: “Make me one with everything.”
Confucius: “He always says that, and he always thinks it’s funny.”
However, be assured that there’ll be a great deal more to this blog than mere frothy philosophical frivolity.
We’re going to be talking about flockbinkers, and what it means to be treadknicious, and what it means to talk nonsense, and what it means to think and speak logically, and what it means to speak in a way that is meaningful, which may or may not be the same thing as speaking logically, and what it means to live in a way that is meaningful, which may or may not be the same as any of the above.
This blog is going to be an entertaining, offbeat and rollicking exploration of a whole range of things, including absurdity and communication, humor, tragedy, vanity and purpose, language games and logic, laughter, hope and vision, what’s wrong with society, what’s intoxicating about truth, what’s beautiful about people, what the universe is all about, where everything came from, and how they really didn’t teach you everything you need to know in kindergarten. I’m sorry. They didn’t.
For the connoisseur, we’ll feature a a nearly infinite series of permutations of the classic syllogism about flockbinkers, as well as a number of different versions of the classic joke about three Scotsmen sitting on a fence.
There’ll be plenty of advice from Mom about a long list of ways in which you don’t have to do what all the other children are doing. To wit: “If all the other children are conflating metaphysical categories, does that mean you have to do it?”
You’ll also get to meet the guy who always says “egg,” for no reason that can be readily ascertained, and listen in on a series of illuminating dialogues between Confucius and the Buddha as they sit in a diner waiting to order.
Speaking of dialogues: You’ll get to hear the perspectives and wranglings of such classic characters as Little Biffy, Fred Novice, Jennifer Smith, Stephanie Jones, Elvis Wu (the Last Philosophy Major), and Tharg the Primordial Man.
Oh yeah. I’m not making this up. It’s all in there.
If we can pull all of that off in one blog, then i’m willing to come out and say that your ticket price will have been well worth it.
At this point, the good reader may be feeling a justifiable sort of skepticism. To wit:
The Good Reader: This blog can’t possibly be as interesting, clever and cutting-edge as you represent it to be. I think you’re just engaging in an embarrassing display of groundless self-promotion.
The Blogger: No, no, you’re entirely mistaken. This blog will have you LOL-ing, ROFL-ing, and perhaps even LYAO-ing, although the latter case would be a less –than-optimal outcome.
The Good Reader: LYAO-ing? Is that even a thing?
The Blogger: It’s the same thing as LMAO-ing, but with the pronoun fixed to reflect a second-person usage.
The Good Reader: Oh. I’ve never read a blog that induced me to do all those things, particularly the last one, although i must say i have read about it on Facebook.
The Blogger: You will wet yourself with mirth.
The Good Reader: Sales is clearly not your area of expertise.
The Blogger: You’ll suffer respiratory trauma and will find yourself semi-paralyzed for hours at a time.
The Good Reader: Okay, right. I get that you think your blog is going to be really entertaining. But i require evidence.
The Blogger: Ah! I see that the Good Reader is a hidebound Empiricist.
The Good Reader: No, the Good Reader is a busy account executive and/or soccer mom, and he has limited time to waste on blogs that won’t deliver.
The Blogger: Wait…is he an account executive or a soccer mom?
The Good Reader: It doesn’t matter. He’s an archetype, and the more specific a profile you try to carve out for him, the less useful he’ll be… er, that is, i’ll be… as representative of your blog’s potential readership.
The Blogger: You require evidence, then, do you?
The Good Reader: I require evidence!
The Blogger: Then let the games begin!
The Good Reader: I’m not going to be easily convinced.
The Blogger: No, we’re done. You have no more lines.
The Good Reader: What?
The Blogger: Stop it! ‘Let the games begin’ was supposed to be the dramatic closing line of this little dialog.
The Good Reader: Oh. Sorry.
The Blogger: I’m serious! Stop it! We’re done. Offstage is that way. [points helpfully]
As we bring this inaugural post to a close, why don’t we examine the storied syllogism that began it all…
…a syllogism that was first employed about 14 years ago by a certain educator who shall remain nameless…
…as part of a simple introductory handout on basic principles of logic.
The handout was several pages long, and the first couple of pages featured explanatory material on Aristotle’s laws of logic and the nature of a logical syllogism. The next few pages featured a longish catalog of examples of syllogisms, many of which had something wrong with them, to challenge the students in identifying sound and unsound arguments.
Nestled in the midst of that catalog of syllogisms was this baby:
- All flockbinkers are treadknicious.
- All wamwams are flockbinkers.
- Therefore, all wamwams are treadknicious.
[Note from the Blogger: the word ‘treadknicious’ is pronounced tred-ca-nish-us. You were pronouncing it incorrectly in your head. Don’t even bother denying it.]
Well, that’s probably enough for now. I’ll leave you to ponder what a flockbinker is, what a wamwam is, what it means to be tred-ca-nish-us, and whether any of these terms actually mean anything, until we meet again.