“I always try to write on the principle of the iceberg. There is seven-eighths of it under water for every part that shows. Anything you know you can eliminate and it only strengthens your iceberg. It is the part that doesn’t show.” – Ernest Hemingway 1958
A few weeks ago, I met with a group of fathers, one of who pointed out that we seem to learn more from our children than what we think they learn from us. This weekend was a prime example. I was helping my daughter with her Honor’s English essay on Ernest Hemingway’s “Iceberg” writing style.
I have been wrestling with the true purpose and definition of “myths”. Of course, there is that common definition that a “myth” is a story that is not true. I have always intuited that this is an incorrect shallow definition. Joseph Campbell is famous for his works on myths. While his work has been insightful, it has not provided me with any clarity. Since I was first conscious enough to understand what I was reading, my intuition has told me that underneath myths and fairly tales lies the truth. Hemingway, known for his simplicity and minimalism, has given me the simple explanation for questions I have asked my entire life.
I was at my neighborhood Starbucks meeting for the first time a fellow academic from my local church to explore possibilities of forming a “small group”, “book club”, or whatever they are called these days on topics I raise in this blog. As I have posted in the past, I am interested in studying people’s daily use of words. Lo and behold, ordering my favorite drink “grande single shot blended with whip mocha”. Now I have learned this term from a San Francisco Starbucks almost 20 years ago, apparently this is the correct terminology from the original Seattle Pike Place Starbucks. I have used my terminology in Seattle and it worked. But I guess the barrista this morning either has not learned the mother Starbucks tongue and maybe there is a local Starbucks dialect developing in the outskirts of the Bay Area. I got a puzzled “HUH”? “Mocha frapuccino?” OK, I had to quickly shift my brain to everyday Northern Californian English to translate mother Starbucks as I learned it: “I want a large HOT mocha, with a 50/50 mix of full fat and non fat milk, only one shot of espresso instead of the default two, and whipped cream”. Suffice to say, this was a perfect segue to discuss words, meaning, language, and how we know what we know.
In my first attempt at blogging, I focused on my professional focus on “marketing and communications law”, specifically trademarks and copyrights. I guess it was just a matter of time that I posted on a brand (Disclaimer: the above famous mark is owned by Starbucks and nothing in this blog is meant to imply any association between me and the Starbucks organization). This is a perfect opportunity to post a photo I took at The Met. “Hey, I wonder if this is where Starbucks got its logo?” My fair use of the logo above is meant solely to comment on my visit today and compare with a sculpture that looks like the logo.
French Impressionist Edgar Degas is attributed to have said,
In art truth is suggested by false means.
I finished all 5 seasons of Breaking Bad last week. By Degas’ definition, Breaking Bad and my other favorite TV series, The Sopranos, is ART. There is much to say about these two series, and I did not intend to mention these except that tonight is the second time this week I read a reference to the poem Ozmandias (first, after watching Breaking Bad’s eponymous episode last week). Whether running into this poem twice in a week is by Providence or by an increased probability of running into this poem by watching or reading truth seeking works, I am encouraged to share it:
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said—“ Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that the sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings,
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
—Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ozymandias