Jul 24, 2011

An Explanation of My Header

Someone pointed out to me that there's a misspelling in my header here on the blog, and it's funny, because it was the first time some pointed it out to me. So lest you all think that I can't spell, I have to explain. In the header, it says that this blog is "A Practical Guide to the Perpetually Underconstruction Neshama of the Kvetching Editor."

For those of you keeping score at home, usually it's "under-construction" or "under construction," so why exactly did I spell it as one word? Being the editor that I am?

I wrote a blog post about this philosophy on By any other name ... back in 2008, and I've noted the idea of Underconstructionist Judaism many times, most recently in my own response to The Tzniut Project. There are a lot more posts where I reference this philosophy, too.

The idea is that all Jews should be moving, flowing, questioning, and searching, never settling. Jews should be under construction, always.

Thus, in my header, it's a play on words. Capiche!?


Pura Vida said...

It is I who commented on the caption. My comment has nothing to do with the substance of the caption. It is an issue of form.

I recommend you entitle it "Underconstructionist" for the sake of clarity. It is not the "Reconstruction" Movement or "Conservation" Movement or "Orthodoxy" Movement. Pretty sure the common use is adjective + noun. Maybe you should use a hyphen somewhere.

I made the comment in an effort to help you. The play on words would be clearer because it would be consistent with standard nomenclature. This is especially true if you have non-Jewish readers reviewing your blog.

Quite frankly, if I -- someone who holds multiple degrees in Hebrew/Jewish Studies, reads medieval/modern Jewish poetry like it's going out of style, reads the Rambam in Arabic (yes, Arabic), understands Ladino, has written scores of papers on Judaism in the United States, and is confident of her ability to read Foucault in English (and poorly in French) -- thinks it's an error, do you think I'm the only one who will? And yes, I just trumpeted my achievements. It's what everyone on the Internet seems to do.

Pura Vida said...

w00t, I found a few typos in my comments above. Way to go, me! :P

shoshana (bershad) said...

I disagree with both of you (sorry, Chaviva). Pura Vida is correct that "Underconstructionist Neshama" is the correct term *IF* your meaning is that your neshama has an Underconstructionist religious philosophy (and you do say that it has that connotation as ONE of the meanings in your "play on words"). But I think your main meaning is the literal one: that your neshama is perpetually under construction (i.e., evolving). When such a two-word phrase is placed in front of a noun, most style guides would hyphenate it as a "unit modifier": "Under-Construction Neshama" (capping the "C" is optional here).

I can't match Pura Vida's illustrious credentials, but I've been an editor (redactor, copy editor, senior journal production editor) for more than 40 years. And, as you can see, I'm a kvetcher, too!

p.s. Chaviva, it's your blog and your prerogative to spell and punctuate as you wish!

Anonymous said...

your last word is misspelled it's Capisci?

Pura Vida said...

Shoshana, I'm totally down with your edits. I based my comments on understanding from the post that this was a reference to Underconstructionist Judaism.

The concept of "Underconstructionist/Under-Construction Judaism" sits well with the Rambam's observation that the gates of interpretation are always open. Props for coining the term, Chaviva!

Pura Vida said...

Hey, Anon: "Capiche" is accepted in American English.

Suburban Sweetheart said...

Leave it as is, I say! You have an explanation & a valid reason. You're no less of an editor for having a play on words in your header...!

shoshana (bershad) said...

Thanks, PV. I like your citation of Rambam. In a sense, we're all Under-Constructionists (unless we think we've already achieved perfection and complete understanding of HaShem's will).

Oh, and I agree with you on "capisce," too. It's accepted as American slang.

This grammatical debate got my editorial juices flowing today, but there'll be no more kvetching from me!

Chaviva Gordon-Bennett said...

Head explosion.

violarulz/ducksandbooks said...

I'm just commenting because your header says that you're in the Rocky Mountain State (Colorado), and you're not, which makes me sad because if you were here and I hadn't just discovered your blog today I would TOTALLY want to meet up with you for coffee and invite you up to Boulder for shabbos!

Chaviva Gordon-Bennett said...

Actually, I'm on my way to Denver ... that's a brand new header up there. You might just be the first person to have noticed it. Stay tuned for details!

violarulz/ducksandbooks said...

that explains it, I just found your blog last week and I'm hooked! I've been digging my way through your archives and finding so many gems! Thank you for sharing your life with the world on your blog, and sorry for serial commenting ;-)

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