Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Language is a Virus, and Other Thoughts
Somewhere in time, a woman named Laurie Anderson dredged up from the depths of her soul, ideas of her friend, William Seward Burroughs, and the scientist/philosopher, Richard Dawkins when she created what would be he only mainstream hit of the 1980's. Her creation came forth bas a single 45 record. That single was called “Language is a Virus.” William Burroughs had already written his own essays on the concept, and Dawkins went so far as to create a name for this idea. He called it a meme.
With the collection of Laurie Anderson's performance art available on Youtube, I have found the concept of the meme gels for me. I see how ideas infect, and I am certain that this is inescapable. I can only laugh when I think how the insanity of entire nations falling into preoccupations over anti-bacterial handwashes, counter cleaners, and towelettes to clean off shopping cart handles (just one example).
No sooner do I write about these things that I brace myself to field the objections to my thinking. Language is a medium to infect entire populations with bizarre thoughts, and now, the meme, has infected me again.... I was tagged by a blogger, my friend Annie. So, herein I will disclose the nature of this meme:
Link to the person who tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself.
Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
Let people know they've been tagged by leaving comments on their blogs.
Okay, here goes.
1.I am in love with other cultures. I have lived thirty-five years in San Jose, California. I love to travel, and only made that discovery in the past five years. My passport is five years old, and marks off four treks across the globe. I have already planned my next trip, and it coincides with my plans to teach overseas.
2.I believe the truths in consular travel warnings ignore the general goodness of the universe. I believe humanity with all its faults is inclined to do good. I am certain that my great comfort came in part from reading the Bible. Still, after having read news articles, and consular travel pages -about various places I have traveled, and plan to travel- that much of my comfort also comes from the vision in John Allen Paulos' A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper. In his book he shares his insights to the numbers, the scare tactics, the butchery of logic found in newspaper writing.
3.I believe that the most controversial place a man can be is in the middle of any confrontation. I believe it amazing how people want to claim virtue in their willingness to pick sides in an argument, when clearly little information would ever surface to make true clarity possible. I jokingly call myself a passionate fence-sitter, and I welcome any attacks.
4.One of my favorite books of my teen-age years is Sheldon Kopp's Rock, Paper, Scissors. The book revolves around a quest to find one's place in the world. In his book, Kopp talks about how we are always comparing ourselves with others. The comparisons always ignore the enormous amount of people more successful/ less successful , happier/angrier than we are.
5.My bodyha always been my fallback when I never developed myself to find a job in the world of knowledge. Now I am in school as a direct result of physical disability which made working in the service world ridiculous.
6.I used to listen to comedy tapes more than other people listened to music. I was a child obsessed with comedy. I am grateful that I am able to adapt to regular socialization after craving all the attention that came from making other people laugh. I took time to get quiet and reflect when my mother notified me of George Carlin's death. Afterf a moment of silence I said all the seven words you cannot say on television.
7. With each day that passes, I get more excited about the choices I am making in life. I am staying positive. I see the joy of sharing classrooms with people old as my parents, and those young enough to be my children (of which I have none).
I will tag the following people:
(Who is the kid below with the striped shirt and glasses?)
(dated May, 1977 at Aloha Roller Palace)