Sunday, May 5, 2013

on topic

On the one hand, it can be infuriating to be in a conversation in which one participant refuses to remain "on topic." No one discussing the implications of the latest famine or war finds last night's basketball score useful or relevant.

On the other hand, even the most on-topic discussion has a way of slip-sliding into revised clothing. A discussion of famine or war may naturally segue into food or medical relief, augmenting armaments, or bringing nourishment to those afflicted. These are acceptable, on-topic aspects ... basketball is not.

Those who demand an on-topic relevance can become quite irritated ....

But since remaining perfectly "on-topic" is impossible as that topic passes from you to me and back again, does anyone wonder as I do ...

What, precisely, is the topic and how could anyone remain 'on' it? Isn't it sort of like herding cats or keeping dough from rising? To require something to stand still when by definition it is always in motion ....

What, precisely, is the topic? Or not?

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