Spelling Bees and the Necessary Logic of Normative Linguistic Labyrinths

Context: Texas teen wins National Spelling Bee

The logic of a game in which celebrated personal achievement measures the successful revalidation of a literal Order within words and by extension within our selves and our world. No less than the temporary concession to incompleteness and disorder allowed (or allowable) on the sporting field, success is determined by revalidation of the rules and conventions of engagement, of the conquering of entropy through projected Euclidean or perspectival matrices or taxonomies upon and through it. These are ultimately contingent and inevitably important rules of structure and pattern without which communication (or for that matter: civilisation) dissolves; not, perhaps the only possible form of information or communication and organisational rules and regulations, but a clear example of cultural extension of psychic (as in psychological) and linguistic necessity.

The winning position in any context is, as much as it may represent a valuable personal historical milestone for the competitor, always also an underlying revalidation of the rules of the game, the broader and shared culture of communication and the sensible, sane order of subjective experience that also validates the plausibility of the concept of “individual”. The normative is always also the reproduction of the culturally self-reproductive and useful; the mundane carelessly shrouds the profound and transparently un-hidden secret of cultural, logical self-replication. The extent to which an event like this gains media weight and public interest is by virtue of its replication of the largely unacknowledged presence or manifestation of that order through which we all, no less than this particular winner, attain reflexive self-validation and from which qualitative, existential value is extracted or translated.

The logic of the game or the sport only really peripherally requires an umpire or referee; it is already in itself a self-sustaining, self-propagating confirmation of an underlying message of structure and unity. What may be more important than the replication of any particular game, game-show and sporting or otherwise sanitised tribalist conflict-as-competition is that possibility for the implicit validation of underlying order and systemic self-replication as demonstrated through any such public affirmation of logical, sensible and comprehensible continuity in this display and spectacle.

The winning word of this year’s Scripps Spelling Bee ? Koinonia: “a transliterated form of the Greek word, κοινωνία, which means communion, joint participation; the share which one has in anything, participation, a gift jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution, etc.” (from Wikipedia). It is a word utterly pregnant with connotations of Christian gathering, the interpretations and meanings in this context being there for you to derive your own conclusions. Might we assume some not so subtle political and cultural machinations in the word selection committee of the 2018 Scripps Spelling Bee ?

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“ABC, easy as 1, 2, 3.”

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