Topic stack # 3

I am suffering a build-up of topics and so I am going to note a few of them here.  If someone would care to write them up into something intelligible and interesting, that would be great.

1)  Interesting vs. Interesting

One of the differences between Interesting2008 NYC and Interesting2007 London might have been that the English did a better job of giving presentation the outcome of which was unpredictable.  This really is discourse released from genre, and it was fun to listen to especially because there was a "no looking ahead" rule in place.  The presentation was, in this case, a shaggy dog story.  What the Americans did that the English did not was present from within someone else’s persona.  So we had a great visit from Bud Melman from the Mad Men mailroom.  Azita Houshian appeared as Jane Eyre. 

2) Paranormal romance. 

Someone mentioned this over drinks at Eric Nehrlich’s good-bye party as a new category in fiction.  And this is when you know women are really giving up on men, when they begin recruiting creatures from other worlds.  The new TV show that features vampires would fall into this category.  I am not sure what else is intended.  This is flat out interesting and a thesis waiting to happen for the anthropology student who is up for the challenge.

3) livery in America. 

A livery is a uniform  or other sign worn in a non-military context on a person or object to denote a relationship with a person or corporate body, often by using elements of the heraldry relating to that person or body, or a personal emblem and normally given by them. It derives from the French livrée, meaning delivered. Most often it would indicate that the person was a servant, dependent, follower or friend of the owner of the livery, or, for objects, that the object belonged to them.  (Wikipedia)

Favre’s No. 4 shirt already is the NFL’s all-time best seller and current No. 1, according to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy. so far has taken 1,250 orders for the jerseys, which cost $80 each, a one-day sales record. Revenue from licensed merchandise sales is split among the NFL’s 32 teams, with a portion going to the player.  (from the official Favre site)

4) The SDG (self dramatizing gesture)

"Oh my God!"  As uttered by a teenager, this is a little linguistic designed to seize and hold the attention of the group.  Ever so fleeting, it is a way to make the social self more vivid and present. 

This too is a thesis topic waiting to happen.  I wrote about it a bit in Transformations but I don’t think I got to the bottom of it, by any means.

One further thought.  In any hierarchical system, things trickle down from high ranking parties to low ranking ones.  And we could say that the SDG is a way that teens cut themselves in on the celebrity culture.  For that one brief second, they are the star. 

5) Being black in America

The cultural idea of who an African American is has changed with fantastic speed since the 1960s.  Youth cultures assigned African Americans special properties: a particular authenticity, an entitlement, a currency, and in some cases a thugishness.  I am thinking here of a particular kind of hip hop.  White Americans knew who Black Americans were with such certainty that it looked from time to time that racism had not so much disappeared as changed its valence.  People, black and white, were still prepared to insist on defining the African American, and too bad that someone acting in a manner that defied this definition.  For instance,  God help the kid who wanted to be a poet when everyone else thought he should be a thug.  These wobbles in our culture are acutely uncomfortable, but typically they stimulate inventiveness.  As an anthropologist, I am prepared to guess that people have risen to the occasion and cultivated a fantastic versatility, the better to take advantage of all, even the most contradictory, selves they are supposed to inhabit. 


2 thoughts on “Topic stack # 3

  1. peter spear

    on 2) The Time Traveler’s Wife is a novel that speaks astoundingly well to this.
    on 3) Under Armour has been hitting the press recently, wrapped in all the appropriate marketing strategies of our time.
    on 4) have also noticed the self-contradicting, “Yeah . . . No . . .” in response to questions?

  2. Gladys

    1) I wasn’t aware of the “no looking ahead” rule. What exactly did it consist of?

    4) “Wait. What?” is often used to have a question or statement repeated. When referenced by teens, the phrase can be meant to insinuate their aloofness.
    “I just threw up in my mouth a little bit,” has to be the most dramatic of SDGs. And unfortunately, too many writers feel the need to use it because it turned into a blog staple. I think this phrase gained popularity after it was said in “Dodgeball.”

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