Lost in the Stacks 4: Writers and Readers (via The Labyrinth Library)


Public Domain

Some days, I do not want to write. I want to do anything but write. My mind says, “Please James, let’s watch a movie, go shopping, have a nap, anything that isn’t typing into that machine.”

I still drag myself to that online beast and write once again. You cannot not post. Your readers will leave, not all of them, but some. And I prize every reader I have. They are like gold coins to a miser. I remember all too well getting 35 hits for the entire month I began posting.

My readers are supportive and kind. Their comments enrich my thought and change how and what I write about.

I am greedy for more readers but I don’t want as much encouragement as the picture and caption indicate!

James Pilant

Lost in the Stacks 4: Writers and Readers With the debut of HBO’s “A Game of Thrones” miniseries and a new article in The New Yorker, the strange story of George R. R. Martin and his fans has been on my mind. So, in this episode of Lost in the Stacks, we examine the weird, often dangerously codependent relationship between the Writer and the Readers. What does the writer owe to his or her readers, if anything? What can the readers honestly expect of their writer? What promises, implicit … Read More

via The Labyrinth Library

Possibly bogus prediction contest (via Gas station without pumps)


I liked the attitude here, a little anger, a lot of indignation and a skeptical attitude, all the things this country needs more of.

I’d give it a read if I were you.

James Pilant

The Heritage Provider Network (whoever they are) has announced a $3 million prize “to develop a breakthrough algorithm that uses available patient data, including health records and claims data, to predict and prevent unnecessary hospitalizations.”  They claim that they want this to benefit individual patients, but it seems to me that the most obvious use is to deny insurance or charge very high prices to those most at risk of hospitalization. I … Read More

via Gas station without pumps

ethics (via prof write @ usc)


This is a post in an ongoing class about teaching writing. The ethical problems discussed here are not too far from the problems of teaching business ethics. I know I have more than a few college students reading my posts. I think those students will take particular pleasure in this essay.

How do you teach ethics? If I have any advice to offer, it would be this: never teach ethics as if choices were a matter of point of view – teach ethics as if the choices were a matter of validity. If you teach ethics while mentioning different philosophies, students tend to take away the idea that morality is a matter of opinion.  I recommend ( and do) teach ethics as to which moral system is most appropriate while discussing the moral reasoning behind that ethical code. The idea is that a student will take from the class the idea that different ethical choices are based on human reason.

If morals are a matter of opinion, money ranks as a rationale with God, honor and country. If morals are a matter of validity or a matter of reason, rationales are weighed and considered.

James Pilant

After reading Katz and Ornatowski, and after our discussion in class on Tuesday, I’ve been struggling to figure out what it means to teach ethics—in writing classes in general and in professional writing classes in particular. Flipping through Locker’s textbook, I see the hard-core instrumentalist approach (basically, don’t lie on your resume or CV). “Ethics” doesn’t even appear in the index. I’m still waiting on my copy of Peeples, so I haven’ … Read More

via prof write @ usc

The Internet and Social (Network) Conflict (via Only a Northern Song)


This is a fascinating post about how we treat internet posts differently than traditional writing. I enjoyed it. I hope you do too.

James Pilant

The Egyptians worshiped the open eye because they knew attention was redemptive – if you pay attention to things you can understand them and make things better. This resonates with us – we generally believe that paying conscious attention to things is the best way of achieving an objective grasp, a full understanding of what a thing is from itself, rather than simply from our perspective. We improve on this by establishing perspectives which are, … Read More

via Only a Northern Song

An Invitation To Write


I am not the fount of all wisdom. I am well aware of my limitations and there are a lot of them.

I invite you to submit articles or essays or columns that deal with business ethics. I can’t promise to print all of them. Whether I disagree with them or not is not a factor. I will not put up poorly written, or poorly thought out material. I need to maintain a reputation for a certain level of writing. (You might think reading my work that it isn’t very high!) And of course no obscenities and no use of things like the N word, etc.

If you are interested, send an essay or article or write to just ask if a certain topic would be good choice.

southwerk@yahoo.com

By the way, here are the rules, if I print it, your name in full goes in the title at the top of the page. I will write a brief introduction and say nice things about you, then your words. Your words will be highlighted in darkened lettering so people who read the article will be easily able to discern your thoughts as your thoughts and not mine.

Let me repeat, you can disagree with me. That’s not a factor. Writing quality and offensive content is.

James Pilant