Nopockets on Trial

Although it’s not exactly my turn to post next (sorry Matt), something urgent has come up. This post is a form of Family Discipline, and it will largely be directed at you, Katie (which by the way, even though you’re not one of the authors of Consanguinity, I’ll have you know that the term consanguineous includes you just as much as it does us). This post is strategically made public so that I can guarantee that there will be accountability for you. In order to explain, I must first rewind to when it all started. It began shortly after I posted Part II of the story project. Katie commented:

Good job! So far, so good. Wish I could write like that. I only fooled those silly AP test grader people…. HAHA!

[“Exhumation (Part II)” Jan. 21: 3:26 p.m. ]

Now, this comment was generally positive, Katie, since you were trying to applaud me for the hard work I had done, but I obviously wasn’t very happy with the latter part of the comment, because of how I replied less than an hour later:

Thanks. I’m flattered, but I also happen to have read samples of your own writing, and I know that you’re an excellent writer. It’s just the case that it’s really easy to be critical of your own writing, so whenever you read something that someone else wrote, you praise the very same kinds of things that, had you written them yourself, you would have considered flaws.

[“Exhumation (Part II)” Jan. 21: 4:10 p.m.]

I wrote this, assuming that you were just cheapening your own verbal skills in order to kindly augment mine, and I didn’t expect the problem to persist. To my surprise, when Allison and I returned home last night from her parents house (they just got an awesome new piano we were checking out), I found the following comment recently posted on Consanguinity:

[…] The number is currently at 526 hits, which is quickly approaching my blog’s 1,607 when you consider that mine has been there for over a year accumulating regular hits. I personally tend to think that it is a combination primarily of 1) the fact that your topics are exponentially (as indicated by aforementioned numbers) more interesting than the things I tend to post about, and 2) that you advertised your site in a different way which warrants more often checking of the site. I also think that another thing played a part in people’s interest which was 3) the consanguineous watching of B20 and the discussions which followed. Kudos to your early success in this project. [….]

[“En Garde: Church and State” Jan. 25: 8:46 p.m.]

I greatly appreciate your support. It is true that Consanguinity has been relatively successful in its first few weeks (more than I think that either Matt or I anticipated), and it is kind of you to point out how many hits we have been getting. In fact, a few people have even strayed onto the website from Google. I have to agree with your points 2 & 3, namely that the consanguineous hype associated with B2.0 and the fact that Matt and I are corresponding publicly via Consanguinity have greatly contributed to our numeric success. I must quarrel, however–nota bene for those reading this post, that it is not stylistically acceptable (and I see a lot of people doing this these days) to begin a sentence with the subordinating conjunction “however;” instead, it should be inserting in the middle of the sentence as I have done above–with your statement that our topics are, how did you put it, “exponentially (as indicated by aforementioned numbers) more interesting” than your own. First of all, the numeric success can be primarily attributed to reasons 2 & 3, so it is not clear how much our numeric success supports the conclusion that our posts are “exponentially more interesting.” In the following section, I aim to render this claim doubtful.

My first point will be an ironic one. What you didn’t know when you posted that comment is that over the past few days I was growing almost irritable over the fact that you hadn’t posted anything on your blog. You see, before Consanguinity, I rarely even read other people’s blogs. But now, having been dragged into the blogging world, I am much more aware of what is going on in other people’s lives, and I can tell that it has already made me a little more others-focused than before, which is a good thing. The negative side-effect of this, however–see, I did it again–is that I am beginning to depend on the blogs of our family members. So, the mere fact that I couldn’t wait for you to post again undermines your argument that Consanguinity is more interesting than Musings of an Outdoor Addict. I was delighted, by the way, to see this morning that there were TWO new posts on your blog. (HOO HAH!) Also, your blog always has awesome pictures that accompany your posts, which gives it a “one-up” on Consanguinity. That candy photo looks like it came straight out of Good Housekeeping. I seriously wanted to lick my computer screen.

Secondly, after reflecting some on our recent exchange about what it means to be defined by our siblings and family members, I realized that I wouldn’t be anything like who I am today if it weren’t for you. I was thinking about this last night, and quite frankly, it started to scare me, because when I looked at Allison, I thought: “Oh my gosh, if it weren’t for Katie, I might not be married to Allison! I could be married to someone terrible.” Although this is a highly hypothetical realm of speculation, there is some truth to it. For instance, I know for a fact, that if you hadn’t started your own blog, I would never have thought about starting one with Matt. So in many ways, deferring some of the credit to B2.0, you provided a significant impetus to Consanguinity.

Thirdly, I must point out a flaw in the general flow of your logic. It can be diagrammed in the following way:

  1. Consanguinity is really amazing.
  2. Nopockets is less amazing than Consanguinity.
  3. Therefore, Nopockets isn’t really amazing (1,2).

This line of reasoning is generally valid, except for the fact that Consanguinity (as quoted above) says, more or less “Nopockets is really amazing.”

So, the argument now must be formulated:

  1. Consanguinity is really amazing.
  2. Consanguinity says that Nopockets is really amazing.
  3. If X is amazing, then what X says must be amazingly true.
  4. Therefore, it must be amazingly true that “Nopockets is really amazing” (1-3).
  5. Therefore, Nopockets is really amazing (4).

Clearly, Katie, you have tried to make the weaker argument the stronger, and although you may be guilty of sophistry, you’re definitely amazing, and I look up to you a lot. So basically, don’t forget to be awesome!

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8 Responses to Nopockets on Trial

  1. Allison says:

    I can definitely vouch for the fact that James was being super irritable about people not posting. I was minding my own business, when all of a sudden I hear him grunt “gosh…why won’t people post on their b logs”.

    I also had to wrestle with him to keep him from licking the computer screen this morning. What I really wonder, however (notice my correct usage of this word), is whether James has secretly been reading Good Housekeeping.

  2. Ann (Mom) says:

    I better get busy and write another post on my blog before James gets upset with me about not posting often enough. I’ll try to get something posted before the day is over, although I should be grading papers. Also, I have wondered when there might be some kind of update on the Ends of the Earth blog.

  3. nopockets says:

    Based on my new knowledge that people actually care about my post topics (and the attached photos), you will be happy to know that I have a long list of things I am planning on posting about. The result may be daily posts for a while, however, (correct usage) I cannot guarantee that the daily posting will continue for any definite amount of time.

    By the way, I cannot say that I realized my usage of however was incorrect. I am glad to know the correct usage of this word and it is going to require some dedication on my part to refrain from the incorrect usage because it has become a habit in my writing to use it that way. I am sure I am bound to learn more about correct grammar as time goes on, but I want you to know that I welcome any grammatical criticisms because it will only strengthen my writing, which is a good thing.

    I, too, wonder when James has been reading Good Housekeeping. I can’t say that I have ever read one, but I can imagine how the photos would look in one if they are anything like other magazines. I am glad to know that people like my photos so if you like that, there is more to come. One of my upcoming posts will not include good pictures, though I believe you will still enjoy it.

    PIANO? That sounds like a lot of fun… someone needs to take some photos of that.

  4. Carol says:

    James,
    Don’t you have any homework to do??

  5. James says:

    Well, other than writing that blog post this morning, I’ve pretty much been doing homework all day long. This semester is going to be my easiest one I’ve ever had, and that’s the only reason that I even have time for a blog. I’m very, very thankful for this fact.

  6. Matt says:

    This semester is going to be the hardest I’ve had…that’s why I have time to write…no wait a minute.

  7. Matt says:

    I feel that I should point out an error in James’s post. After all, that’s what brothers are for, right? James diagrams Katie’s comment, and then claims that her argument is “valid.” Perhaps if James had taken more Philosophy classes (poke, poke) then he would have realized his error. His following argument attacks one of the premises of Katie’s argument (or his diagramming of her argument). If an argument has false premises then it is unsound. However, additionally the argument is invalid (like how I started that sentence?). That is, the argument commits a fallacy. Specifically, it “begs the question.” There is no clear connection between premise 2, “Musings is less amazing,” and the conclusion. One would need further premises to attempt to make this connection.

    On a different note, you guys can be expecting the 3rd installment of our story relatively soon (probably within the next 24 hours).

  8. James says:

    I was at least halfway aware of my loose logic when I wrote this, which is why I qualified the word “valid” which the modifier “generally.” Although I diagrammed the argument rather formally, I was meaning to represent a rather loose kind of argumentation, that is, the general line of thinking behind Katie’s statements. I’m glad you pointed out the blaring flaw in my logic, however (used correctly). It wasn’t detrimental to the thrust of my post, though, since my ultimate conclusion was that Katie is amazing, and I had independent reasoning for that point. Also, if you had taken more grammar classes (poke, poke), you would know that philosophy isn’t capitalized and that the possessive form of my name is: James’.

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