Microsoft has just launched a particularly powerful advertisement (click on the link to see it) against its foe Apple – a very real presentation by a woman who – being limited to a $1000 budget, says “I’m not cool enough to be a Mac person.” Ouch, that line completely deflates the Mac pretentiousness. (Me, I run a combination of Windows, and Linux, and if I could, I want to run all Linux, the operating system I most love.)
It’s important to keep things real. Some of us take pleasure in having computers with a cool logo – and some of us take pleasure in playing a role playing something we aren’t. I’ve recently been watching someone who desperately wants to play the role of the scholar, and he has been duly generating posts on a short book in the Bible – drawing heavily from the Anchor Bible commentary and a few remarks by celebrated Harvard professor written in a Study Bible. There’s nothing at all wrong with that: but it is important to remember that typing an idea doesn’t make one the discoverer of an idea. I value most those who bring something new to the table, some originality, some creative thought. Those are my heroes.
The Apple computer is nothing short of brilliant. However, choosing to use it does not make one brilliant. Shakespeare was a brilliant author – watching one of his plays does not make us brilliant. The Bible is full of many deep truths and profoundly beautiful language – but reading it does not make us wise or eloquent. For me, it is only by fighting, fighting, fighting with the text, with ideas – but fighting honestly – not playing childish one-upsmanship games – that I can truly learn something and prepare myself to bring something new to the table.
So rather than spewing out cliches, I want to read, understand, argue, and come up with deeper insights. So much of what I see on blogs is prejudging – as if one could measure the quality of a book without reading it – and in the end, that sort of posing comes off as so much stoogery.
These Microsoft commercials will powerful because they are honest. I hope we can all be as honest. That’s the first step towards real scholarship.