And He Begat…

The Christian Bible includes a lot of begetting. The most prolific examples of this are in Genesis 5 and Matthew 1. These chapters are truly prolific, as they are lineage lists and as such, there is much begetting.

What’s a mis-placed zero between calculations?

Just in case you’ve not been paying attention since, well forever, human history parallels this begetting phenomenon. Begetting is not limited only to new generations of the species.  All actions beget. That is, so long as you ascribe to Newton’s Third Law of Motion and more specific to the rest of this post, the economic law of unintended consequences. I suppose the definition of a Law (of the universal type), requires that it be true regardless of belief. There’s something to ponder.

And ponder, I have. I’m an analyst by nature and, as such, I think and ponder. A lot. Admittedly, pondering does not always translate to better (or any) decision.

Recently I was pondering on this blog; specifically, the tagline it dons. Quick, check it out and then come back.

The original intent of that tagline was for a purpose other than this blog; a part-time venture in the editing of web content. That idea was born out of my annoyance for the amount of unchecked, blatant errors in writing sprinkled about the web, especially in professional, business sites. That idea never made it to press. The tagline did.

Why am I writing about this? Because the law of unintended consequences is broad reaching.  It shows up in the small (blog taglines) and the not so small (Q.E. anyone?). I begat an idea, based on a need I perceived. The idea begat the action of creating a logo and accompanying tagline, but never the final result to support their being – the act of creating a space to advertise and complete the editing of written works (other than my own).

While I still think the blog’s name fits. I’m not as sure about the tagline.  If linked to a site which actually edited other site content for profit, the tagline would seem quite fitting. In this setting, however, where I write for pleasure and aggravation alleviation it takes on an entirely different connotation. The words I chose did not physically change in any way. The context did. In writing, reading and understanding, context is the equivalent of location to real estate. It’s everything.

In this new context, the same words – specifically the latter half of the tagline “…and sometimes ‘rights the write’ of other writers.” Has an entirely new, and unintended meaning. By simply applying the original tagline of a business web site which never was to a personal blog which is, I’ve created a new meaning for these words.  A potentially undesirable meaning. Who knows what it is?

Snobbery. Really, that’s it. Those same words, in this new context, reek of snobbery.

“Why does Rob “right” other “writes?”

“Who is this Rob and why does he feel the need to correct others’ writings?”

Maybe you hadn’t thought of these or similar questions when reading this site’s tagline, assuming the tagline was ever noticed, but I did.

The next question is, “Is this the ‘begat’ that I intended?”, or “Am I OK with begetting this begat?”  I don’t know.

I’ve been accused of being a tad snobbish elsewhere – places where I’m comfortable with snob status. (Beer, coffee, and wine  are three “places” that come to mind most immediately.)

Tieing it back to the law of unintended consequences, what are the actions which arise from this new information? I see two:

  1. Universally:  Recognize what you beget even (and especially) if it’s not the intended result of your action.  Recognize it for what it is and decide if it warrants new action (whether supportive or corrective).
  2. Robrights-specific:  Does the tagline fit/matter/need some editing of its own?

Recognizing and addressing the unintended consequences in the small, insignificant things should be practice for doing so in the realm of significance – the places, times, decisions where it matters to a great degree.  Details matter, but only in relation to their connection with the bigger picture.

So, what say you? Does the tagline of reek of snobbery? Do you care? Had you ever noticed that there was a tagline? Have a better, more witty and sarcastic (perhaps snobby-er) suggestion? Use the comments section, if for nothing else, to let me know that you (almost) made it through the entire post without nodding off. Just beget it. (Let that one brew a moment.)

In keeping with the randomness of this blog, WordPress included in its list of suggested tags for this post “Toyota”.  I’m struggling to make the connection, but if the marketing geniuses say it’ll bring the customers, who am I to argue?

About Rob Rob writes and sometimes "rights the write" of other writers. View all posts by Rob

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