Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Real-Life Exchange Between Me And Another Person About Phillip Patterson, The Man Who Spent Four Years Copying The King James Bible By Hand

You can't make this stuff up:

HIM: The Bible is ON LINE. This guy is elderly and has potentially life-threatening medical problems, and in the end he is going to spend seven of his remaining years on this? Instead of, I don't know, working as an AIDS activist?

ME: Yes, how dare he write something out by hand. *eyeroll* Why are you here commenting on an HP article instead of, I don't know, working as an AIDS activist?

HIM: Nice try. I run a network for survivors of domestic violence. This guy's project was an idiotic waste of time. And what are YOU doing to make your community better? Other than snark?

ME: Well, I don't want to get into a who's-doing-more-charity-work contest. I sincerely applaud you for working with survivors of domestic violence. Sincerely. I admire that very much. Let me tell you one thing I'm not doing: I'm not judging a man who appears to be very ill for doing something, copying out the Bible, which he says gave him some comfort. He wasn't hurting anyone. A lot of people hurt others full-time: oil, coal and gas company execs, frackers, spammers, direct mailers, robocallers, union busters, to name just a few legal occupations. To me, criticizing Patterson for this is a lot like criticizing someone for spending the past four years working on a painting or a sculpture or a symphony. I might not like the resulting art at all, but I would still have respect for the attempt. As we all know, art is quite "useless" and "impractical": all it does is make life bearable. Maybe it seems weird to you to put this in the category of art, but if you look at naive, primitive and outsider art, I think this belongs.

HIM: This isn't art. It's handwriting practice. Taking seven years to produce a Bible which can be produced much more handily by a printer in minutes, or downloaded off the net. I sympathize with his plight, but he still wasted his time.

ME: Seems we have different ideas about art. That's okay, it happens. Seems we have different ideas about copiers, too. You seem to just love them. Nothing wrong with that. I'm one of those people who often has trouble operating them. I don't even have one in the house, don't want one. But I do always have a Cross pen and a Moleskine notebook on my person. (Hope that's okay with you.) Just recently I had to photocopy some documents, as I have to do once a year or so. Went to Staples. Begged a Staples employee to do it for me, but she insisted it was "easy." Easy for 99%+ of the population, maybe. Sure enough, it was very difficult for me and took a long time, and still some of the copies I made were blank because I did something wrong. Btw, 4 years, not 7. There are many references to 7 years in the Bible (Maybe you're somewhat familiar with the book yourself? Maybe what's bugging you and the other readers complaining about Patterson is the time you feel you yourselves wasted on the Bible? I'm trying to figure out where you guys are coming from. Your reactions are bizarre to me.), but Patterson took 4 years to copy it. "It's handwriting practice." And judging from the photos he got pretty good at it. (Handwriting practice! Why, it's an outrage!)

1 comment:

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