Saturday, September 18, 2010


I had a very funny conversation just yesterday on that ubiquitous vehicle of social communication, FacePalm (well, that's what it might be called when books are dead). A certain fellow made the statement, "Apparently fatness is a worse sin than embezzlement." I replied, "...fatness is normally judged to be a minor flaw... ."

And then, the unhappy fellow decided to have an argument. He does that a lot, this young man. He told me, "Fatness is not a flaw. Of any kind."

For those of you who don't quite see the contradiction, it is one Aristotle would have spotted at once. For that old Greek used the word hamartia (ἁμαρτία) to denote a flaw. That same word was translated 'sin' in the New Testament.

Someone who says that fatness is apparently a sin of any sort must a) hold that opinion, b) believe that someone else holds that opinion, c) imagine that such an opinion exists, or d) be putting words together without reason and coming up with a line that implies one of the first three without him knowing it.

I was therefore very amused when this fellow then told me that I was equivocating or dodging his point when I justified my use of 'flaw'. He hadn't actually advanced any point except that he seemed to be upset with my use of 'flaw' with regard to his own use of 'sin'.

Sometimes, because of the way FacePalm hides earlier comments, it is genuinely possible to lose self-awareness and talk rubbish. This is a serious flaw, and I blame FacePalm and its ilk for making people like me and that poor fellow vulnerable to it.

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