Wednesday, February 28, 2007

memorandummmbop

Important Hanson update:

Subject
: Hanson

Date: 2/28/2007
Time: 10:09 AM
From: Davenport Dean's Secretary
To: "All Students- Davenport"
--------------------------------
Due to the huge demand to see the band, Hanson, all non-Branford students will be let into this event after 3:45 depending upon the capacity of the Branford Common Room. Branford students will have first preference.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

aimmmbop

Anonymous (2:49:57 PM): HANSON IS GIVING A MASTER TEA at 330 in branford, friday
minafosho (7:50:08 PM): shut up
minafosho (7:50:15 PM): I want to go
Anonymous (2:51:28 PM): of course we're going, duh
minafosho (7:51:59 PM): they're still single. no the youngest one is married
Anonymous (2:52:10 PM): zack?
Anonymous (2:52:28 PM): zach - youngest - taylor - def married - isaac oldest ??
minafosho (7:52:39 PM): wait, they're all married now.
Anonymous (2:53:37 PM): really?
Anonymous (2:53:39 PM): are you sure?
minafosho (7:53:43 PM): yeah, I just looked on wikipedia. the middle one is still cute
Anonymous (2:54:20 PM): i know. im sure he messes around
Anonymous (2:54:41 PM): he married his wife cause she was preggers already
Anonymous (2:54:50 PM): that makes for an unhappy marriage sometimes...
minafosho (7:54:45 PM): how do you know this?
minafosho (7:54:49 PM): I'm posting this conversation
Anonymous (2:56:05 PM): oh i would have made my responses better
Anonymous (2:56:30 PM): you should really have IM convos with my sister, that would be great fodder
minafosho (7:56:29 PM): oh?
Anonymous (2:56:43 PM): Anonymous's sister (4:57:18 PM): i just took a poop that made my butthole sting
minafosho (7:56:54 PM): yeah posting that

Monday, February 26, 2007

new ambition


A few days ago, I decided to abandon my goal of being a writer and pursue a new career path: cartoonistry. Not sure if that's actually a word, but who cares--cartoonists don't have to use good grammar!

Here is a sampling of my work: a self portrait. I think I look like a mixture of Mr. DeMartino, the super-angry teacher in Daria, and Rogue from the X-Men, which is pretty accurate to my personality. I wish I hadn't drawn myself smiling.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

misanthropy part deux

Random thought #1: Am I the only person in the age 18-30 demographic who thought the whole Dick in a Box thing only deserved a few seconds of polite laughter*?

Random thought #2: It's telling that there are 12 posts on this blog tagged haterade, 15 for literary theory, and 1 for sex.

Random thought #3: #1 and #2 are probably related.

*Side note: I thought Lazy Sunday was muy comico. ERC isn't totally humorless.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

paper or plastic

Ten minutes ago on the way from section to the libs, my friend Gabe and I stopped in Durfee's Convenience Shoppe to pick up some snacks (gummy worms, diet coke, vitamin water, gum). We also left with:

Durfee's Employee #1: So that boy came in again and complained.
Durfee's Employee #2: Asking for what now?
#1: He was all complaining that we don't stock magnums. Said he's been having to use plastic bags.
#2: Day-um.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

beautiful minds

I've been waiting to post a link to a fascinating New Yorker profile of a pair of married philosophers in last week's (2/12) issue, but it doesn't look like it's going to appear online. Sucks. Nevertheless, I urge you to go find a copy somewhere (where does one find hard copies of magazines without personal subscriptions these days? The library? At Yale, we students can get our delicate, unlabored little hands on The New Yorker, The New Republic, the Chronicle of Higher Ed, etc in the Hall of Graduate Studies).

Larisa MacFarquhar's article, "Two Heads," tells the story of Paul and Pat Churchland, a Canadian husband-wife team in UCSD's philosophy department who take a unique approach to the philosophy of the mind. The Churchlands, she writes, are eliminative materialists, which basically means that they want to study consciousness in concrete terms. This approach would better be conceptualized as a "philosophy of the brain" than of the mind; its intent is to ultimately discard concepts like "memory," "belief," and "emotion," in favor of the most specific, scientifically accurate terminology possible. Consider (I'm hand transcribing this, so you better read it) the Churchlands' suppression of their desire to raise their kids according to their principles:
"Then, one evening when Mark (his son) was three or four, he and Paul were sitting by the fire...and Paul was teaching him to look at the flames like a physicist. He told him how the different colors in the fire indicated different temperatures, and how the wood turned into flame and what that meant about the conversion of energy. The boy was fascinated; but then it occurred to Paul that if he were to sit in front of a fire with a friend his age, they would barely be able to talk to each other."
In the same way that this anecdote is more of a commentary on sociology than philosophy, so too are the couple's views on consciousness ostensibly outside of the discipline. Pat admits that "she hasn't gotten around to giving a paper to a philosophy department in five years," and couple is well-aware that they're not welcomed with by the field with open arms (minds?).

MacFarquhar does point out, however, that the Churchlands are concerned with "one area of traditional philosophy"--ethics. This is a natural upshot of any study of the relationship between ideological conceptions of morality and their basis in corporeality, and she touches on one of the few things that fascinated me in Cog Sci 210: Brain and Thought, which is the judgmental activity of the prefrontal cortex. In brief, people with damage to their pfc's have difficulty making value judgments (and, subsequently, fail to become morally socialized); this has obvious implications for the judiciary process, amongst other things.

Ultimately, the profile (which does a nice job of avoiding the icky sentimentality of most old-people-couple portraits) portrays the duo as quite alienated from the world of metaphysics, coloring them as thinkers who ought to be called scientists rather than philosophers. The Churchlands might argue, however, that philosophy itself--at its basest level, the study of knowledge--ought to be perceived differently, a shifting signifier that will come into focus as our thoughts are broken down into their physical components, our identities leveled by the great equalizer of science.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Happy (day after) Valentine's Day!

To boost your spirits in this wintry weather, a list of phenomena, observations, and generally horrible things that validate my misanthropy:

1. The Most E-mailed article list for the NY Times website. Now that "Shamu" has stopped bubbling to the top like a festering sore, it's gotten a little less embarrassing. But it's disheartening that Times readers--a slightly higher echelon of humanity, one would hope--consistently feel the need to share any article with "love," "sex," or "children" in the headline.

2. The Modern Library's 100 Best Novels, as picked by readers. The academic list begins with Joyce, Fitzgerald, Nabokov. The popular vote instilled four Ayn Rand books and three L. Ron Hubbard novels in the top ten. This is why we need a philosopher king, people. Or at least a philosopher's electoral college...

3. Watching Wheel of Fortune at the gym. Although it's admittedly self-affirming to watch overweight, Midwestern Americans pay for an exorbitant amount of vowels.

4. Sudoku becomes more popular than crossword puzzles. It's like the equivalent of Hugh Grant cheating on Elizabeth Hurley with a tranny hooker.


5. ERC spends another Valentine's Day as a single lady. The causal relationship between #5 and her cynicism is ambiguous, sort of like the chicken and the egg.

This is what it feels like...when doves cry.

Monday, February 12, 2007

dissonant sib-ilance

I've never dated an identical twin, but I imagine it must be pretty creepy. People always ask my brother and me if we're twins (as our features have respectively gelled and sharpened over the years, the question has decreased in frequency). It's mostly positive for us--a phenomenon that boosts our familial pride and alleviates our fears that strangers at bars think we're dating.

There's something inexplicably off-putting about meeting siblings who bear a strong resemblance to each other. It's a weird feeling that's especially amplified in the university setting, most likely due to the combination of enforced intimacy and the sudden detachment from the outside world (as in, you probably won't meet your best friend's teenage brother until graduation, unless he shows up for a weekend, in which case you should force him to binge drink and try to trick a peer into hooking up with him). It's also hard to articulate why it's so odd; we love the idea of siblings who look alike, but it's faintly alienating in practice, like a conversation with a Canadian, or dried pineapple rings.

In Violence and the Sacred, French anthropologist Rene Girard has some funny ideas about why this happens (I'm reading this book for an English course, and I can't stop giggling as I flip through it in the library; anthropology is so hilarious and silly to me). In one of the chapters, Girard attempts to apply his sacrificial theory to ancient Greek tragedy and comes to the conclusion that violence--impure violence, as opposed to the "purifying" violence of sacrifice--is an inevitable product of undifferentiation, a chaotic state that results when hierarchies collapse. In tragedy, this is often symbolized in the conflict between brothers: Consider the section he excerpts from Malinowski's The Father in Primitive Psychology.
"I was then told by my confidential informants that I had committed a breach of custom, that I had perpetrated what is called "taputaki migila," a technical expression referring only to this act, which might be translated: "to-defile-by-comparing-to-a-kinsman-his-face."
This is, in many ways, a conception of the tragedy and the breakdown of boundaries that is antithetical to Nietzsche's view of the form as a positive, productive marriage of the Apollonian and the Dionysian that enables us to overcome the real root of suffering, which is individuation (While Girard doesn't discuss Nietzche's theory, he does flippantly accuse him of being a Hellenophile).

Besides being totally hilarious, the idea of taputaki migila--the negative connotations of inter-sibling resemblance--does, in a bizarre, twisted way, begin to explain why the experience makes us uneasy. While noting intense physical similarities between people doesn't drive people to murder them or sacrifice a goat, it does draw their individuality into question. Or, in the case of twins, causes one to constantly worry if they're pulling an old school switcheroo.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

craigslist exposed

I haven't posted a craigslisting in a while (asian fetishist, where have you gone?!), so here's a savory new bit for your voyeuristic cravings:

for the tall, chubby girl who jogs on Dwight and Howe - m4w - 28


Reply to: pers-273833652@craigslist.org
Date: 2007-02-05, 2:52PM EST

Hey, saw you jogging last Saturday for the first time in a while. Every time I see you I think how different you are from, well from just about any girl I've ever dated. And I wonder if you have as much trouble with the opposite sex as I do. Maybe we could have dinner sometime and find out? Just a warning though, I'm not short, but you do have at least a couple inches on me. ;)

*******

After getting over the initial fear that this might be erc (what...I jog), I was struck by the hostile subtext of the post. I mean, this guy is seriously self-conscious, even for a Yale student. All of the "maybe's" and awkward smile-wink emoticon thingies in the world can't hide that much insecurity, buddy.

Personally, I prefer to type in lower case, excise pronouns, and sign with a single initial. Like this:
hey, if want to grab beers, am down. talk soon, m.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

phat beatz

Until recently, I forgot that I wrote this piece for FSB; it appears in the February issue as a two page spread (the layout includes lyrical excerpts from some of the more brilliant numbers).

Briefly, it's about a 23 year old Russian immigrant who wants to make a million bucks by crafting antiquated jingles (my original lead, or introduction, was structured as a knock knock joke). Anyways, the dude has converted this into more than fifty thou thus far. Check out his website--you won't regret it.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

sometimes, it's more than I can bear

From: Dean's Secretary

To: "All Students-Davenport"

Dear D'Porter's:

R*** is in search of a homemade Heavy Metal "zine" from Columbus, Ohio that was mistakenly taken this afternoon in the Dining Hall. It is called "Thunder Theft." It is just regular, photo-copied pages stapled in the middle. The cover is a montage with skeletons, dragons, etc. Although inexpensive-looking, it is difficult to replace. Please contact R** at R****@yale.edu. Thanks!