"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Simple Is As Simple Does

Have you seen "Simple English Wikipedia"?  This is a companion site for "Regular English Wikipedia."

Here is the description (my emphasis):
This is the front page of the Simple English Wikipedia. Wikipedias are places where people work together to write encyclopedias in different languages. We use Simple English words and grammar here. The Simple English Wikipedia is for everyone! That includes children and adults who are learning English. There are 91,451 articles on the Simple English Wikipedia. All of the pages are free to use. They have all been published under both the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0 and the GNU Free Documentation License. You can help here! You may change these pages and make new pages. Read the help pages and other good pages to learn how to write pages here. If you need help, you may ask questions at Simple talk.
When writing articles here:
  • Use Basic English vocabulary and shorter sentences. This allows people to understand normally complex terms or phrases. 
  • Write good pages. The best encyclopedia pages have useful, well written information.
  • Use the pages to learn and teach. These pages can help people learn English. You can also use them to make a new Wikipedia to help other people.
  • Simple does not mean short. Writing in Simple English means that simple words are used. It does not mean readers want basic information. Articles do not have to be short to be simple; expand articles, add details, but use basic vocabulary.
  • Be bold! Your article does not have to be perfect, because other editors will fix it and make it better. And most importantly, do not be afraid to start and make articles better yourself.
Slavoj Zizek on the word "Imbecile." (Condensed from his book Less Than Nothing.)

There are three levels of stupidity: you have idiots, imbeciles and morons: 
IDIOT-IQ of 0-25 : I think that idiots are people who simply don’t get properly the symbolic dimension. Absolute naivete 
MORON- IQ of 51-75 Morons are those who simply rely on the Big Other. Morons are the opposite of idiots. Morons are people who fully identify with the symbolic order 
IMBECILE- IQ of 26-50: Imbeciles are the most interesting. There is a theory that becile in Roman is a stick that you need to walk with. So IMBECILE is the one without a stick to walk, and insofar as this stick that you need while walking or here talking thinking is the Big Other so it’s a very nice position (lacanian) you know there is no Big Other IM-BECILE no stick but you still know that you must somehow relate to it.

Which is more simple: Torture or Enhanced Interrogation Techniques.

Does a grasp of the "simple" lead, progress, to one seeking out the complex?  Or is the complex denigrated for not being put simply.  Laotse might have said it best: those who know don't speak; those who speak don't know.  And here we are at "the rest" via Hamlet.  (Did I do enough "Common Core" work there?  And if so, did I muck it up with unclear or complex analogies?  Likely.)

Perhaps a "jargon-free" Wikipedia devoid of the biases of "experts" would be interesting...but "simple"?


This column in The Guardian by George Monbiot crosses the Atlantic quite nicely.  It also makes understanding the way we are being managed very simple.

A few decades earlier, the role of such schools was clear: they broke boys' attachment to their families and re-attached them to the institutions – the colonial service, the government, the armed forces – through which the British ruling class projected its power. Every year they released into the world a cadre of kamikazes, young men fanatically devoted to their caste and culture. 
By the time I was eight those institutions had either collapsed (in the case of colonial service), fallen into other hands (government), or were no longer a primary means by which British power was asserted (the armed forces). Such schools remained good at breaking attachments, less good at creating them
It should be posted on Simple English Wikipedia post-haste (sorry!), I mean, more simply, as soon as possible, quickly, now.

No comments:

Post a Comment