In my prior meme post, I purposefully littered my post (so to speak) with cat meme references, including a cat meme image and a cat meme video. I wanted to test a theory. I recently read a blog post by a blogger/writer who said that posting cat memes and videos was essential for pulling in blog traffic, regardless of the nature of your blog. She monitored her blog traffic closely and found a significant spike in hits for each blog post that included a cat-themed meme. Her advice: stick cat memes in your blog posts, regardless of whether it ties in with anything. The results for my blog post? No significant spike in traffic. Maybe the algorithms are already aware of the gimmick.
I recently went under the knife, so to speak, for a vasectomy, rendering myself sterile, incapable of reproducing offspring. I bucked my biological drive to procreate, I resisted my natural evolutionary drive to replicate my genes. Or did I? A part of me would like to think that I resisted millions of years of evolutionary biology. In itself, that would be quite the accomplishment in life, at least as far as I’m concerned, but I know better. For all of my adult life, I’ve had a general sense that I wanted to leave behind something else, and frankly having kids would get in the way of such schemes. It’s an instinct that many writers, artists, thinkers, and other outliers have in common, and there’s a good reason for this. The reason is not in the genes, it’s in the memes.
I made a rare appearance at the theater last night, and rarer still, I purchased my favorite salty-sweet combination — popcorn and Sprite — my craving setting me back nearly fifteen bucks. (Such a purchase generally requires something along the lines of a leap of faith, i.e., that I step up to the concession and order without first checking to see what it will cost.) It was all to see Black Panther, in Columbus, Ohio, with my sister and brother-in-law. I was truly spellbound by the film, riveted by the cool inversion of the generally accepted norm that white Western capitalist culture is the superior standard and the rightful model for modernity and beyond. There’s something innovative and new here, with this film, something that is refreshing. As director Ryan Cooglar put it, “The concept of an African story, with actors of African descent at the forefront, combined with the scale of modern franchise filmmaking, is something that hasn’t really been seen before. You feel like you’re getting the opportunity of seeing something fresh, being …
Being that it’s Valentine’s Day and all, I came across an article in the Guardian by five experts on the topic of love, well, on love and modern romance. By and large I found the takes to be a bit lame, which is to say that they more-or-less fall back on romantic cliches. The nature of romance and sexuality is changing so fast, culturally, that there’s no need to be trite or traditional. The reality, of course, is that around Valentine’s Day, it’s the articles that reinforce our feel-good biases about romance that get shared around and hence get the most hits and hence generate buzz — and hence generate revenue. Even so, as I scanned through the Guardian article, a few comments caught my eye, comments from a biological anthropologist, Helen Fisher, aka “the love doctor.”
I came across this intriguing Sufi story while reading Jenny Diski’s memoir, In Gratitude. Here it is: A Mulla was searching for a lost key under a street light, slowly crawling around. A friend happened by and immediately dropped down on his hands and knees to join the search. “Do you remember where you last saw your key,” the friend asked, after a few minutes. “Of course I do,” replied the Mulla. “Over there,” he said, pointing to a distant, dark side street. “Why are you looking here?” asked the friend, perplexed. “Because there’s so much more light here by the lamp.”
Einstein was a socialist. He was also a genius. And what is more, like us, Einstein lived through difficult times, times of national and international turmoil: Einstein survived two World Wars and escaped NAZI Germany while many of his Jewish brothers and sisters were imprisoned and murdered. Most of us in the U.S. don’t have it quite so bad. Some do, but not those of us in the white middle-to-upper class. Still there’s an important point to be made: there are trends today that are strikingly similar to the ones that led to the conflicts of a hundred years before.
As a writer and a leftist, I have always found All In The Family to be an intriguing sitcom. The show crammed together very different generational perspectives under one roof, together in one family. From a storytelling perspective, the show didn’t seek to make a point so much as to lay out the different perspectives, as in this episode where Mike’s hippie friends come to visit and Archie won’t let them sleep together in his house because they aren’t married. I’m not saying that All In The Family didn’t have a particular angle or perspective, but rather that each side could identify with one or the other of the characters, while simultaneously laughing at the ones they didn’t agree with. Many artists (myself included) tend to feel compelled to take a side and make the point clear, but there’s something intriguing when a writer is able to bring together very different perspectives and put them in tension with each other.