Thursday, February 18, 2010

Poop, or Get off the Pot

So it's Thursday night, 9:00, and I haven't eaten yet. That's because I've vowed not to leave campus until I've read 100 pages of The New Media Reader. Progress is slow. There's a lot of interesting connections and so forth, though, so I'm not too upset about this development. (There's an idea percolating, from the juxtaposition of an article on The Happenings in 60s New York with Alan Turing's comment that telepathy introduces chaos into the computer imitation test, on the element of randomness in New Media processes, which'll probably prove interesting when finished.) No, the problem at hand is the very, very long conversation going on behind me between three undergraduate males. They are having a long, poignant debate on whether the tallest of the three should take a risk and ask out a certain lady friend, thus putting their current relation in jeopardy, but with the potential of greater returns in the long run. They are currently discussing the importance of being earnest. Really.

Okay, this is not a discussion I do not feel sympathy for. I myself have been in the young man's position, and I have, at various times, chosen both sides of the choice before him. And I admire his friends for rallying around them. I even approve of their vocabulary, which, for male undergraduates, is remarkably short on crude sexual innuendo and cursing. But damn it, guys, I'm trying to work here, and when the focus is Douglas Engelbart's discussion on augmenting human intellect, I don't need to hear about your five-year life plan.

I have 8 pages left. 8. And all I can think of is going over to them, and delivering my opinion. At great length. Great, horrible length. The gruesome details of my personal history (because if I know theirs, shouldn't they know mine?), the rich and varied literary references on the subject, (from Pride and Prejudice to Plato's Symposium, with maybe some de Sade thrown in, because I'm feeling nasty), and the views of posthumanism on homeostasis. (Because really, if humans were self-correcting, then there wouldn't be any problem here.) At the very least, such a spiel would probably get them to stop talking long enough to hit me, and really, even that break would be a blessing.

...Apparently, I've become a bitter old man when it comes to the slings of Cupid's Arrows. The transformation into academia is almost complete.

8 pages. 8. pages. 8 p. a. g. e. s.

Later Days.

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