Sunday, July 20, 2008

Accessing the Antecedent

Some rumbling in the hinterlands that Barak or Barack has yet to acknowledge the biblical source of my name. (Yes, my name, not Barack Obama's name, which has been discussed in some depth in a previous post.) Now that I have created home the third for this poor transient blog, I will roost solidly upon the Good Book and lay forth unto the nations this egg of wisdom.

Yea, verily did Barak the son of Abinoam first set foot upon the historical stage in the Book of Judges, Chapter 5, verse 1:
Then sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam on that day, saying, Praise ye the LORD for the avenging of Israel, when the people willingly offered themselves.

Okay. Here is where my ignorance of things biblical rises to the fore and I willingly proclaim: No hermeneutics here. Wright or wrong, I'm leaving the church AND the synagogue and all related texts out of this.

Let me just add that it's lines like this, a few sentences later, that maketh me to set my teeth against the Good Book:
Awake, awake, Deborah: awake, awake, utter a song: arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam.

Why complicate things? It's the 21st Century; time now for a sleeker prose style. Something like this:
Wake up and sing, Deborah! Get up, Barak, and --

And that's where this little project of Solomonic simplification breaketh down. Because without knowing what something like "lead thy captivity captive" means, what can you say? We could try to parse this dense little quartet of words, but where would that get us? Richer? Thinner? Smarter?


Perhaps my wish to reduce the redundancies in a text so generally well-received is foolish and ill-fated. Reminds me of this unforgettable bit of comic wrong-headedness. And of course for every anti-prolixity policeperson with an itchy mouse-button you'll find 500,000 satisfied Bible customers. Twinkies are popular too.

Where was I? My name. Comes from the Bible. Means lightning. Not the same as the Democratic Presidential candidate's name. And not a day goes by now that someone doesn't have something to say about my name. In the laundry room today, my neighbor Samantha joined the club. (Nice to meet you! Gosh, you have a lot of stuff to wash!)

In the next post, I'll describe how the conversation usually goes. And then it'll be clear why I started this blog. Next up: business-card-sized flyers directing people here. Ten exciting designs, three thrilling flavors! Print them out! Trade 'em with your friends! Collect 'em all.

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