|This is a Weekly Coffee Share Essay.
I’m part of a small group of bloggers who stay in touch and chat about blogging, writing, or just about anything else that might be of interest.
Here’s mine for the week ending April 4, 2020.
|Link to This week’s full list|
|Link to my Story Blog. Come share a laugh with me.|
Unless uttered in silence, only to ourselves,
each spoken or written word has an impact,
leaving an idea, an opinion, a mark;
lifting, entertaining, or injuring;
a taste of our words on their soul;
growing from our grace or healing from our judgment,
noting how the words were delivered;
what they meant and how honest they were.
Then there are those times, those same words;
circle back to the launcher,
proclaiming their owner guilty of
their own condemnations.
Good morning. Is C-19 leaving you as thoughtful as it is me? It’s almost as if I had more time (I don’t) to mentally wander and digest thoughts more thoroughly, pursue their deeper meanings and (best of all) how to use them in my writing to greater impact and value.
If we are not all writers, we are certainly talkers or hearers and maybe even readers where words are the unit of exchange; the products we both produce and consume.
How often have you heard warnings about our words becoming accidental tools for attack or injury? Often; I would guess as it is a common observation–so this is not what I want to call out today.
Today, I found myself trying to finish a thought-provoking magazine but making terrible progress because so many of the words used distracted me off to barely related sub-topics and how the tools of our trade are created, used and interpreted.
First off, we give no second thought to the creation of new words or mangling the meaning or even the typing of existing words. The appeal is easy to understand as some transformations are so much fun.
Consider how a character in one episode of, Stargate SG1 verbified (yes, that was deliberate and is easier on the mind than verbinated) a character’s name. The vandalized character was from a different TV series so it was a full break of the Stargate story line, but it was so entertaining when actress, Amanda Tapping, back-referenced Richard Dean Anderson’s character’s name when she answered how she would “MacGyver something together…” as in “jury rig” a clever solution.
If you don’t know or recall, Mr. Anderson played both the 1985 star of the TV series, “MacGyver” in which jury-rigging was a constant theme, as well as the 1997 co-star of Stargate SG1 along side of Ms. Tapping. I still frequently hear and grin each time I hear “MacGyver” used as a verb.
But this affect can become a blade that cuts both ways. I doubt any of us envy those who share the last name of “Lewinsky”. The fault for this pronoun now being a recognized noun is the sole responsibility of the eponym named, Monica . . . Thus our culture has weaponized some words, even names, that previously were benign.
You may recall a few weeks back, I took the liberty of throwing some cheap shots at the new cultural use of “memes”. This morning, I got curious. Perhaps, this word meant something before our culture re-tasked it to how we now see it used and that I should not be including it in my derisive comments.
Oh no! Gulp! it does.
According to the online Merriam-Webster, I found; “[Meme, noun] is an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.” No mention of the internet but we certainly now live within a culture that communicates widely via the internet so the definition still fits.
It also offered this quote; “Memes (discrete units of knowledge, gossip, jokes and so on) are to culture what genes are to life. Just as biological evolution is driven by the survival of the fittest genes in the gene pool, cultural evolution may be driven by the most successful memes” .— Richard Dawkins
Now worried that I may have “stepped in it,” I also queried a renown expert on the modern usage of memes, my 25-year old daughter, who told me that memes are commonly recognized as online popular words and images that are often repurposed with new words that create new and often ironic or humorous messages. Okay, this is different than what I thought the modern meme was. I was was labeling them as: superficial, screen-shot nuggets of images and words; single thoughts that attempted to capture something amusing and only possibly serious, but the device is simply incapable of presenting a detailed thought of anything.
Okay, got it. At best, I was close but not correct. Still, I think this popular device is emblematic of the limited attention span app user who wants the world presented to them only via short snapshots that cannot satisfy serious or detailed topics or thought. On this, I stand firm.
But the morning was fading and it was time to move on.
As I progressed my reading, I came to a neat article about the technology and development of the “lithium battery “. As it turns out, this is an amazing topic of technology development. If we did not have it at its current state, our mobile phones would be 2-3 times as big to contain the battery needed to get the service and life of our current devices. Our Tesla electric vehicles would be at least twice as large due to the battery needed to get 300 miles from one charge.
This was pretty cool, but I had a question about how a lithium battery worked, so, thinking I had a decent idea of the answer, I began a web search for the authoritative answer – which took me to too many articles that only confused my understanding and chewed up more time than I had for the question. I quickly grew grumpy and annoyed because my question was reasonable, but all these articles only made it necessary for me to do more research than I was interested in to get my answer. I finally gave up and turned to the creation of this essay.
Which is when I realized that I was guilty of my own accusation against modern memes. I might want to blame Facebook or other mobile phone-based apps for my own limited attention span, but regardless, I own it and now felt like I should back off on my caustic remarks about memes. It was an easy mindset to fall into. Nuts!
Be careful oh writer, oh speaker;
for by the measure you love or judge,
you shall be judged,
and beyond the judgment of any other,
conviction by your own words,
will leave the most bitter of taste.
But I’m going to blame C-19 for this ingrown direction of thought. I think I’ll go self-medicate it with lunch. I’ll be back to normal shortly.
I always appreciate your time reading my posts and will be around soon to check yours out (if you posted one). Thanks for stopping by. Your feedback is always welcome.