Thursday, July 26, 2007

Page 23, Line 5

This exercise, admittedly, is not of my own devising. It is based on a MySpace bulletin that I was sent not too long ago.

What it asked you to do was to grab the nearest book, whatever it was, go to page 23, line 5 and relate the sentence found there. I did this and found this idea to be somewhat interesting.

We can tell a lot about a person by the books that they read (or by their motivation for doing so), and I thought that I would extend this exercise and post it here.

Why, you ask?

Well, when I first got this bulletin, the book that I quoted from was atop a stack of books next to my desk and I thought that it might be interesting to extend this notion vertically to many page 23, line 5 citations from the nearest books of one person.

Is this high Dada weirdness, a window into the intellecutal life of one person or a way to kill time in front of the computer. I suspect a bit of all three.

So, without further ado, here are the page 23, line 5 quotes for the stack of books nearest my desk. They will be presented in narrative form with ellipses connecting the quotes; the numbers at the end of each section refer to the book list at the end of the post.

O.K., really now, here we go...

Hence the primary axiom in moral disciplines which look at the subject from the point of view of the human court is held to be: a man may be held accountable for those actions which it is in his power whether they are to be done or not (1)...Internal cultural divisions between social groups ran much deeper than they do today, when the differences are as much between generations as between classes (2)...The church did not simply leave nuns to their own devices in the face of the Protestant campaign (3)...Because the visual variables match the measures portrayed, these maps are straightforward and revealing (4)...Indeed, to focus too much attention on demographically based comparisons is to miss many of the most important changes in the ways in which family and kinship function in particular societies (5)...Once a systematic grid was adopted for the earth, serious study of map projections was possible (6)...Again, God showed His opinion when he endured not only men, but all creatures
, with a natural propensity to monarchy (7)...In the 26th verse, where God declares his intention to give this dominion, it is plain that he meant that he would make a species of creatures that should have dominion over the other species of this terrestrial globe (8)...Aggression is therefore synonymous with invasion (9)...Writers in the tradition of Max Weber treat having a monopoly on the use of force in a geographical area, a monopoly incompatible with private enforcement of rights, as crucial to the existence of a state (10)...All of this enhanced to an enormous degree the power and mobility of artillery and gave the owner of such weaponry the means to reduce the strongest fortresses-as the Italian city-states found to their alarm when a French army equipped with formidable bronze guns invaded Italy in 1494 (11)...No one agreed more heartily that George III, who never wavered in supporting the rights of Parliament (12).

So, what does this fractured narrative say about me, my mind, my tastes and the fact that I took the time to do this?

Oh, the books are:

1. Samuel Pufendorf, On The Rights of Man and Citizen.
2. Lawrence Stone, Family, Sex and Marriage in England, 1500-1800.
3. Steven Ozment, When Fathers Ruled: Family Life in Renaissance Europe.
4. Mark Monmonnier, How To Lie With Maps.
5. Michael Anderson, Approaches to the History of the Western Family, 1500-1914.
6. Norman J.W. Thrower, Maps and Civilization.
7. Sir Robert Filmer, Patriarcha.
8. John Locke, The First Treatise of Government.
9. Murray N. Rothbard, For A New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto.
10. Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State and Utopia.
11. Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict, 1500-2000.
12. Pauline Maier, American Scripture: The Making of the Declaration of Independence.

Now, aren't you glad you read that?

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