Thursday, June 27, 2013

pure purity

The real McCoy.

The pure truth.

The unadulterated drink.

What would purity mean if it actually were attainable? Would it any longer be pure? Would it really be very interesting? Would fewer children go hungry and fewer adults be unfulfilled?

In Japan, a 71-year-old man is suing newscaster NHK for $14,300, claiming that the broadcast use of Americanized words causes him mental distress and implicitly degrades the purity of his culture.

I have known Buddhists who insist on the teachings that are "the real thing" and "authentic."And there are plenty of other cultures besides the sometimes-tightly-wrapped Japanese who insist on one kind of purity or another.

Isn't it true, though, that every reference to purity -- from anal-retentive to righteous to supercilious to relaxed-and-assured -- invariably relies for its purity on the impurities it sees elsewhere?

How pure could that actually be?

If you're going to be thankful for something, "impurity" strikes me as a better bet than "purity."

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