I. Found in translation
Under Trial, the name of my blog, has, in the wake of my acquittal last May, become something of an anachronism; consequently, readers have repeatedly told me to rechristen it. Quite frankly, to paraphrase Peiter Geyl, the Dutch historian, there are arguments, both for and against.
The ‘Against’ argument is twofold: one, the expression never really applied to me, the author, but to the entire corpus of writings posted on this blog. They have, I believe, cumulatively taken the form of an extended essay. If only to further buttress this premise, I cannot resist the urge to mention Michel de Montaigne. That erudite essayist had famously reminded us that the etymological root of the world essay comes in fact from his native French ‘essai’, which means ‘trial’. Given that he was after all, a Frenchman, his rather vain assertion can hardly be deemed surprising.
Two: for me, the Age of ‘Angst vor etwas’- Freud’s classical definition of anxiety, which when translated from the German, would mean ‘anxious expectations’- hasn’t quite ended. Much as I would like to believe otherwise, my future still hangs in a balance. I am still a prisoner of ‘Der prozess’, Franz Kafka’s title for his novel, which those of us conversant with the English tongue (not to mention its cinematic and Americanish variations) more commonly know of as ‘The Trial’ (with at least one version, starring Sir Anthony Hopkins).
The ‘For’ argument is apparently simpler. Following my acquittal, I am, technically speaking, no longer an Under Trial. Also, if one were to subscribe to what Harold Bloom collectively labels the School of Resentment’s views (for the record, I don’t), the writer and the writing cannot be divorced from each other, and both in turn cannot be divorced from their Socioeconomic Context, which must, under all circumstances, remain paramount: it is a sort of double-marriage made in heaven. Or hell, depending on one’s point of view.
II. From half-empty to half-full
I believe they are both, very strong arguments. To resolve this dilemma, I have sagaciously followed Buddha’s advise- and quite happily, decided on a Middle Path. Henceforth, Under Trial shall be known as 1/2 Freedoms; true to fashion, that is neither here nor there. Another way of looking at it is that the glass in no longer half-empty; it is, for better or worse, half-full. Discerning readers will no doubt see a significant difference: a veritable reincarnation of sorts.
For me, the real reason for this decision is a little less philosophical. It would certainly appeal to the pragmatist in all of us. Blogspot, Google’s website that has hosted Under Trial for over one and a half years, is, for all its merits, rather constraining: for instance, it doesn’t offer the option of podcasting. Hacking its code can only go so far, and the only real option for today’s blogger is to host his own site.
Behold, then, the birth of 1/2 Freedoms.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
I. Found in translation