Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Hearing Voices, I Can Hear Voices...

No, I am not slipping into schizophrenia.
There are certain writers, some very bad, and some very good, whom one "hears" and identifies in very few words.
Yes, yes, we all know that on those Interwebs "you can't hear tone of voice, so don't take offense/assume a joke is being made/read things too literally".... you know the drill.

But the fact is, one does come to "hear tone of voice."

Certain bloggers and regular commenters on fora, one comes to be able to recognize almost immediately, and thanks to meeting them later in IRL, (yes, you, Mr C., for instance,) one confirms that indeed, the tone and rhythms, even, strangely, the volume, are exactly as one imagined them.

This can be a great convenience on sites where the author is identified at the bottom of a post - one does not need to scroll down to know that someone's verbiage will not be worth your time to read it, his markers - hyperbole, one-sidedness, strawmen, bad grammar, unctuous passive-aggressive diction, juvenile assumption of the universality of his experience- identify him in a few words.

Or in other cases, (again, I'm talking to you, Mr. C!,) one knows it will be worth the time, but it will likely require a larger chunk of it than one has at the moment, so maybe keep it for later?

With the little articles, short devotionals, poems, excerpts from sermons, jewel-like reflections scattered throughout each Magnificat, there are some repeat contributors whom I don't yet recognize by name or nom de plume, but am consistently captured by in the first few phrases, only to nod knowingly when I see the attribution.

My "hearing" is not infallible.

I  come across a phrase, perfectly pitched, illuminating a profound truth so perfectly, so completely -- and yet so simply.

I do not recognize the voice.

I glance at the bottom of the page and am surprised to see the name of a pope  whom I admire, but never found particularly eloquent.

I shall need to rethink my assessment, and I mentally beg his pardon.

I  look up the source in the index.


Yeah, his name is indeed on said source. But it is the work of him and another pope, and it is generally acknowledged that the, um.... other guy is responsible for most of it.

So mayhaps I did recognize the voice.

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