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October 25, 2005


There are two reasons I'm succumbing to this meme.

One is that I was memogrified by Amanda Marie Marcotte, and I've learned it's best to do as she asks.

The other is that it's an excuse to post a link to the Red Cross Asia earthquake relief fund. Yes, I know there are a number of people upset with the Rosicrucians of late, and for various good reasons. Feel free to post alternative quake charity links in comments, and if I like them I'll update this post to include them.

1. Of all the books that you have eventually finished after many starts & stops, which one took you the longest and how long did it eventually take?

There have been so many. I mean, SO many. It's hard to say, and hard to remember which of them I've actually finished. A book either grabs me to the point where I can't put it down - I had a visceral pang of regret when I realized, about five hundred miles from home, that I had left my copy of In Patagonia at home - or I put it aside with no regrets. The most recent one that I actually forced myself to finish despite not getting into it was probably Daniel Boorstin's The Discoverers. Dahgren took the better part of a cross-country bus trip. And then there's the intimidating Packrat middens: The last 40,000 years of biotic change, Betancourt, J. L., T. R. V. Devender, and P. S. Martin, editors. University of Arizona Press, Tucson, AZ, 1990: but that just took a while because of its technical nature.

2. What great band (or album or song) have you heard so often, you wouldn?t mind never hearing again even though you still think the band (or album or song) is great?

Pretty much every nation has a song that gets covered by every single band coming out of that nation. I listen to a lot of Andean music, and so I could go the rest of my life without hearing El Condor Pasa ever again - I hear it in my head, note for note, trill for trill, any time I want to. Which is seldom.

3. Which cliché or often cited quote needs to be placed in quarantine for a few decades?

There's one by Margaret Mead about "never doubt that a small band of committed ideologues can infiltrate," no, wait. Here it is: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." What an excuse for in-group clique faux-activism!

Also, anyone who ever quotes any environmental thought attributed to Chief Seattle should be forced to read everything Ward Churchill ever wrote, including meeting minutes and shopping lists. And I hold out hope that eventually, enough people will decide a certain notion about complex systems is misleading that the realization will sweep our global culture in a seeming instant, and we will thus never have to hear about "tipping points" again.

4. During the 1990s "Compassion Fatigue" received a lot of press, now the media is giddy with "Donation Fatigue". What will be the next trendy fatigue?

Media fatigue.

5. What percentage of respondents will answer "meme fatigue" to question #4?

Every last one of them, so it's a good thing the canonical questions forced us to be creative.

Well, that wasn't too hard. I'll pass this along to Rana (because there's no "favorite" asked), PZ Myers (because I think his answer to #3 will be good) and Timothy Burke (because I'm curious about his answer to #1.)

Posted by Chris Clarke at October 25, 2005 12:40 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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Excerpt: Chris Clarke did this to me. 1. Of all the books that you have eventually finished after many starts & stops, which one took you the longest and how long did it eventually take? I usually zip through books without much delay, but The Structure of E...
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Tracked: October 26, 2005 05:58 AM
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Oh, glarg. Those first two questions, in particular, just added to the total head count of grey hairs. Feh.

Posted by: Rana at October 25, 2005 02:22 PM
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I'm a fan of faux-activism since it is, at least, a kind of activism so I would pick "realities on the ground," which is used to bludgeon people who want to get active but will take any excuse - like hearing that their dreams are futile in the face of realities on the ground - to stay de-politicized.

Since I insisted on answering that one, I'll answer the rest very briefly:

1. Wuthering Heights took me being bedridden with a very bad strep throat to finish. Since then I gave up finishing books I don't want to read.

2. Eine Kleine Nachtmusik - heard it, played it a million times, can hear every part it in my head.

3. This is easy - it's going to be scandal fatique hauled out by the RW Noise Machine as a defense for ignoring the Fitzgerald investigation - and stopping the next one he reportedly wants to start. They're already laying the groundwork.

Posted by: eRobin at October 26, 2005 11:17 AM
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That Mead quote is one of my least favorite as well. I think it's actually a frightening proposition -- most of the small groups of committed citizens that I know are people I definitely do not want changing my world.

Posted by: Stentor at October 27, 2005 04:51 PM
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=v= This tipping point that you speak of ... is that before or after the Hundredth Monkey reaches critical mass?

Posted by: Jym at November 2, 2005 03:08 PM
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