Why ‘Magnificent Vista?’

I spent forever trying to decide on a blog name. It seemed to me that if I were to create a blog, it would have to be something with a clever title, or it just wouldn’t be worthwhile to me. I probably went about a month thinking about it and not posting, and thus a lot of ideas went by the wayside. After a lot of thinking and a lot of ideas, it came down to three choices.

1. Nothing New or Under The Sun or both.

This was my original choice for the name of my blog. It’s a reference from Ecclesiastes 1, and was my tongue-in-cheek way of saying that blogging produces nothing really new, nothing really of value. Yet, ironically, there I would be, typing away at my blog, posting my thoughts for whoever to read. The thought of this amused me, so I had planned on making this my blog name. When I told my wife, though, she thought it sounded morbid and depressing, and didn’t really think the irony was all that humorous. I didn’t plan on it being depressing, but I figured if she didn’t appreciate the humor and irony, it’s likely that others wouldn’t really either. That started this month long process. I kept the idea in the back of my mind, but after that was never really happy with it.

2. Shibboleth.

Shibboleth is also from the Old Testament, from the book of Judges. There was a war between two of the tribes of Israelites; one tribe defeated the other, and the losers fled, disguising themselves as the other tribe to pass by the guards unnoticed. The winners took to asking the losers to say “shibboleth,” because their tribe could pronounce the “sh” sound, while the other could not. When the losing tribe would say “sibboleth,” they would kill the escapees. This is the origins, but my reference would be to an episode of the West Wing of the same name. In the episode, Chinese refugees come to the U.S., claiming to be refugees due to religious persecution. The White House staff doubts this claim, so the President invites the leader of the group to the White House to determine the truth of his claim. In their exchange, the Chinese Christian gives this response to the President:

Mr. President, Christianity is not demonstrated through the recitation of facts. You are seeking evidence of faith – whole hearted acceptance of God’s promise for a better world. For we hold ‘that man is justified by faith alone,’ is what St. Paul says, faith alone! Faith is the true… uh, I’m trying to… Shibboleth! Faith is the true Shibboleth.

This is probably my favorite moment in the West Wing, a show that even though I don’t agree with it often, it’s probably my all time favorite show. I will probably take some time here in the next few days to write about that, and how the West Wing has influenced me.

Ultimately, I couldn’t pick this as my blog title, because it wasn’t available. Pretty simple.

 

3. Magnificent Vista.

This comes from another episode of the West Wing, an episode from the first season titled “Let Bartlet Be Bartlet.” It starts off with an exchange between Sam Seaborn and Toby Ziegler; they’re arguing about whether or not it will rain. The President is set to start his day with a speech to the Association of Trout Fisherman and it is to be given on the back steps of the O.E.O.B. in Washington. Sam says it won’t rain and that he checked with the Coast Guard to confirm. It immediately starts raining, and Toby tells him to change the opening line in the speech, since it refers to the outdoor locale of the meeting. Several things happen in true West Wing style, Sam forgets to change the line, and the credits begin to roll after the President, who is indoors, begins his address with “As I look out over this magnificent vista….” For some reason, this always sticks in my head as one of my favorite funny moments in the show. There’s also a bit of irony there for blogging, at least to me. I can’t quite explain it, but maybe later on I’ll be able to put it into words.

 

I went with Option #3, obviously. It may not have been my favorite, but I like it, and I think it has an element of humor to it for those that catch the reference.

Advertisements


%d bloggers like this: