Insincerity, Internet, Rigged, Shrodinger's Asshole, Sincerity, Tim Pool, Trolling, Trolls, Twitter
This is trolling in a nutshell, a man who regards his own lack of sincerity as a poor reflection on the character of somebody else.
05 Monday Jun 2023
Posted Irritation Meditation, Minis, Politicsin
Insincerity, Internet, Rigged, Shrodinger's Asshole, Sincerity, Tim Pool, Trolling, Trolls, Twitter
This is trolling in a nutshell, a man who regards his own lack of sincerity as a poor reflection on the character of somebody else.
03 Saturday Jun 2023
Posted Uncategorized, Politicsin
Politics, Culture Wars, Sex, Gender, Identity, Women, Matt Walsh, What is a Woman, Documetary
The film “What is a Woman” begins with Matt Walsh reflecting on gender within his own family. So, it’s appropriate that the film ends on a conversation with his wife. Okay, maybe it would have been more appropriate to go the other way around, but the point is that Walsh’s family bookends the whole performance. This is particularly fitting, because it facilitates one of the central features of the film, namely the consistently personal framing of the inquiry. Walsh isn’t just exploring the topic in general; he consistently frames his questions in terms of his own identity and that of his family.
Walsh wants an objective answer to his question, but he consistently frames his questions in personal terms. He is asking these questions in response to progressive ideas about gender fluidity and the social construction of gender identity. Anyone familiar with Walsh knows that he thinks this is all nonsense, but that doesn’t stop him from framing the issues as if he was personally implicated in the possibilities. It isn’t enough to know what being a woman might mean to someone else; as he frames the issues, Walsh wants to know what it would mean to him and his own family. So, he sets out to answer the question of what is a woman? He asks this question as though his own identity were at issue.
Walsh also seems to assume the answer will be universal, and that it will be normative. He wants to have his is and ought it too. Whatever the nature of women, there is little doubt that Walsh knows what this should mean for both men and women.
One has only to see the color-coded dress of his children to know just how rigid Walsh may be in response to this issue.
Walsh spends the first half of the film interrogating progressives, many of them professionals working in medical and mental health fields, asking them what a woman is. He is never happy with their answers. To be fair, the answers he gets here really are less than impressive, but also to be fair, the answers these people actually use in their daily work are simply non-starters for Walsh. When he asks what a woman is, Walsh is looking for a firm biological answer, but he is talking to people deeply entrenched in the world of social constructivism. He knows these people are not going to give him that kind of answer, and so he skates right past the answers they actually do give him.
It’s frustrating to watch this performance. Many of these people seem to have grown so accustomed to constructivist paradigms that they have no idea how to talk to the Matt Walshes the world. He isn’t helping them, of course. His goal is to make them look foolish. They are less interview subjects than marks who have been conned into a discussion with someone who isn’t really interested in what they have to say. And so we get a battle of the just-so narratives. For Walsh’s marks, gender is a social construction, because it just is; for Walsh it certainly isn’t, because it just ain’t.
One of the themes Walsh hits rather hard in this part of the movie is the problem of circular definitions. Using a word to define itself is a problem; it really is, but that problem keeps popping up here for a reason. The social constructivists Walsh is talking to do not wish to define a woman in biological terms, so they keep talking about socially constructed roles and self-perceptions. This leads to a common refrain; they tell him a woman is someone who “identifies as a woman.” There are variations, to be sure, but all these answers lead back to the same question, what is a woman in the first place? If someone identifies as a woman, then what do they think that identity means? Walsh doesn’t get a good answer from any of those he talks to in the first half of the film, and of course he never wanted good definitions from them in the first place.
By the middle of the film, Walsh has concluded that those he has been talking to have no idea what a woman, none at all.
Much of the second half of the film is spent talking to critics of trans-gendered identity (and in particular, the medical establishment supporting various treatments and legal accommodations for trans-gendered persons. Those talking to Walsh in this part of the film get to make their own points; they get to define their own concerns and elaborate on them in concrete ways. This part of the series is interesting, at least. How many of the claims made here would hold up to scrutiny is an interesting question, but the issues discussed here are a good deal more substantive. This half of the film would have benefited from a sincere exploration of the reasons for these practices in the first place, but it was of course never Walsh’s goal to help us understand the issues. Having made the progressives look like fools in the first half of his film, the second half is spent making them look positively evil.
Walsh begins to claim some of his victories in the second half of the film. He parrots progressive themes with glee in the face of people who will have none of it, effectively setting them for a slam dunk response. Walsh relishes the chance to affirm biological differences between men and women in this half of the film, and to tell horror stories about the consequences of failure to accept these differences. All of these horrors, stem from the failure of progressives to acknowledge the underlying reality of sex, which Walsh clearly expects to be defined in biological terms.
Nothing less will count as truth to Walsh.
Somewhere near the end, Walsh asks Jordan Peterson what a woman is. Peterson tells him to marry one and find out. So, Walsh goes back home and asks his own wife what a woman is.
She tells him a woman is “an adult human female…”
And I wonder how many who watch this realize that this too is a cicular definition?
As was that of Peterson?
These are the final answer to the question Walsh has been asking throughout his film, but it is no more substantive than those answers he was given in the beginning segments. They are just as circular as the answers he rejected throughout the first half of the film! Peterson’s answer ells him to marry one to find out, which begs the question of who would he need to marry to accomplish this. His wife’s answer assumes we are talking about a female, but that isn’t far off being a woman in the first place. Neither of these answers gets Walsh any closer to a substantive understanding of the issue.
The answers given by Peterson and Walsh’s wife are satisfactory to Walsh, and to his target market, but much of that is a function of context. If the answer given by Walsh’s wife isn’t all that theoretically robust, it is clothed in the confidence of a warm kitchen where two people seem to know exactly how to behave.
In fact, the answer Walsh’s wife gives him is rather constructivist in its own right. She actually tells him that a woman is; “an adult human female, who needs help opening (a jar)”
Walsh and his fans might see in this a story about a biological female who knows who she is and a biological male who knows what he is, but social constructivists would hardly find it surprising to see a middle class American woman cooking for her husband.
…and of course letting her man to do some of the muscle work.
18 Tuesday Apr 2023
Brantly Gilbert, Budweiser, Country Music, Gender, Music, Queen, Toxic Masculinity, Transgender, Transphobia
The day will come when someone says or does something rather transphobic in the midst of celebrating one of Dylan Mulvaney’s creations.
Just give it time.
17 Friday Feb 2023
Death, DnD, Dungeons and Dragons, Friends, Games, Non Player Characters, Nostalgia, Role Playing Games, RPGs
Eleymenen, The Murder Mage, wasn’t supposed to be a recurrent NPC, let alone my go-to villain for countless D&D campaigns. He had his birth in a simple premise. a small party of first level characters would get caught between two high level spell-casters blasting away at each other in a town market. This was first edition D&D, and I made him up under the clunky old rule for dual-classed characters. As I recall, I made him an 8th level Assassin and a 5th or 6th level Magic User. Had he meant to attack the player characters, Eleymenen would have slaughtered them easily, but that wasn’t the premise. He and another spell caster went to war with each other. The players just had to get out of the way, perhaps overcoming a minion or two on the way out of the area. They managed fine.
In any event, Elemenen survived the battle.
It seemed a good move to bring him back a few games later, this time to attack the players directly. I thought he’d be a recurrent baddy for a game or two before they killed him off and moved on to the next stage of the campaign. Instead, Eleymenen became a persistent nuisance to one campaign after another, growing in time to become a virtual demigod with unimaginable powers. The last time I hauled him out, he was still an 8th-level assassin of course, but he was at least a 22nd-level Magic User. My players were so sick of him.
I definitely overdid it.
But this isn’t a post about Eleymenen.
It’s a post about my old players.
What got me thinking about them was a decision to revise Eleymenen for my current home-brew game, perhaps to put him up against a new group of players.
I suppose I should have known working on Eleymenen would bring back old memories. The thing is, most of the players who struggled against this NPC back in the day are now gone. They aren’t around to gripe when he makes another appearance on the game table. I won’t hear their jokes, or even their complaints. I won’t get to see them wallow in despair at the mere mention of his name or plot against him one more time, and I won’t get a chance to give them that final victory, the one they earned several times over, so very long ago. It seems trivial enough, but I should have given it to them, that final victory. I should have let my players kill-off this guy for good way back in the 80s.
It’s too late now.
It’s a trivial thing, the death of an NPC.
It’s not a trivial thing, the passing of old friends.
At this particular moment, I find the two themes blend rather seamlessly together.
As a high school kid, back in the 80s, I always assumed I would one day stop playing RPGs. It just seemed like it would come naturally, a regular part of growing up. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself playing D&D all through college, a little more surprised to find myself playing it on and off through grad school, and very surprised to find myself still playing RPGs in my 30s and 40s. A few of my old players were still with me. Others had dropped out of the gaming world. But there were always new players. Well into my 50s at this point, I am no longer surprised to be playing these games, or even to find others my age still attempting to slay dragons with odd shaped dice and an arsenal of bad jokes.
Hell, I expect to kill orcs in the old folks home, if I make it that far.
What I never really thought about was the sense of loss that gaming sometimes brings to mind in the absence of old friends. I suppose I might feel this less if I hadn’t kept my games to a pretty consistent setting or if I hadn’t played with some of the same people for decades. Most of our campaigns took place in one or two different worlds. Old characters made frequent appearances, and steady players often got to bring a ringer into new campaigns. At one point, I realized my old characters were old enough to vote. So were those of my long-time players. These characters and their storylines were persistent enough to leave an impression.
In any event, the absence of these old plot-points and the players behind them is a growing part of my gaming experience. I can’t help but think of my old friends while sitting down to a game these days.
I know that I will never again experience the frustration of Andy’s efforts to derail the entire premise for a game session, never see him burn down a city instead of fighting his way into a building, which was the challenge I meant to set up. I won’t hear him badger me over a frustrating call, nor will I fight with him over the best dice at the table or the last good pencil in the house. I won’t marvel at his min-maxing skills or grumble over how late he was to a game session. I won’t cringe as he accidentally kills other player characters with errant fireballs. I won’t get to taunt Chuck with threats against a custom character or curse as he and Dan both team up to betray the entire party in the middle of a close battle. I won’t even get to laugh at Dan as his fighter spends an entire game session putting on his plate armor while everyone else has the fight of their lives. These moments and many likely them are mostly gone now. With a few exceptions, I am the only one who remembers them. There are few left to reminisce about these old memories. They are trivial because they are no more than a game, and they are profound because they are links to people I’ve known and loved.
“Remember when…” mostly falls on deaf ears now.
That does feel a bit lonely.
Still, there is a certain pleasure in knowing that the Pox Hounds I will attack us with sometime next month are all descended from one of Chuck’s old characters, or that the house rule for hand-and-a-half weapons came from Andy, a simple solution to a problem we batted around for months. My new players don’t know what it means to be the Russ of the campaign, nor will anyone know that my House-rules for GM’s characters come from Will, or that Will broke those house-rules all the Goddamned time. The next player to wear a suit of Sealy Posturepedic armor will probably never know about the story of Dan’s fighter and the great battle he missed, but that player will appreciate the chance to sleep in the comfort of some fine magical armor. And I will smile every time I think about it.
It’s an odd thing. When close friends and family pass, they always take a little of us with them. Memories once shared with others become personal matters. You can share the stories with other people, of course, but they will never resonate with anyone else the way they once did with those who shared the experience.
And who but a gamer would give a damn!
This happens in real life.
It also happens in the game world.
As long-time gamer friends pass away, they take away a little bit of the worlds you’ve shared with them, pieces of the stories you once told together. You can see traces of your old gamer friends in a house-rule, a recycled challenge, or even the design of a custom magic-item that had all of you laughing at one time or another. You hear them in the silence of an inside joke nobody laughs at anymore. You smile at them as you realize how they would have responded to a new challenge.
Players who moved away or simply quit gaming are one thing. You may one day talk to them again, perhaps even about the times you once shared rolling dice. That possibility alone keeps their memories light, but those who’ve passed away leave shadows on the worlds you’ve built together. Some days you feel that with more intensity than others.
Like when you decide to resurrect an old villain, for instance.
It seems odd to think of a game as something that carries so much weight, but this is just one of many ways that the lines between the fantasy framework of a game and the social networks of real life become blurred. When friends leave, they often leave a mark. When those friends shared an imaginary world with you, they often leave a very real mark in that imaginary world.
I’ll be thinking about my old friends when I put Eleymenen back on the table to make life difficult for my new friends. They won’t know what’s up, the new group, I mean. To them, he will just be a particularly challenging boss villain, whereas he is in fact a sort of haunted character.
Just not by anything in the game rules.
20 Tuesday Dec 2022
Charles Manson, Charlie Says, Film, Hippies, Joan Didion, Manson Murders, Movies, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, The Sixties
I was born in 1966. I grew up hearing that there was something special about the decade of my birth. What that was, and whether or not it was a good thing was never all that clear. You’d hear different messages from different people, and sometimes even from the same people, but whether they were celebrating the peace and love or griping about the Goddamned hippies, everyone around me seemed back then to agree that something big had happened in the sixties.
But what was it?
And what happened to it?
To hear Hunter S. Thompson tell the story, the Sixties crashed like a wave upon the outskirts of Las Vegas and receded back toward the West Coast. For Joan Didion, or at least for the ‘many people’ she mentions in “The White Album,” the sixties ended on the night of the Manson murders. There are other candidates for the death knell of the sixties, but the issue isn’t simply a break in the pop-culture timeline or the social geography of the nation. Each of these purported breaking points become a kind of lens through which people now view the sixties. Each such post-mortem report is an invitation to see the sixties in a certain way from its beginning to its end. In such stories, the dismal end of the era is always a sour version of its beginning, a spoiled version of some initial promise. We can almost see a trace of free love in the brazen sexuality of modern pornography. The voice of Timothy Leary seems to echo in the background of contemporary drug abuse. We can hear the flaunting of social conventions in the incoherent rantings of an imprisoned Manson. Much of the modern world seems almost to appear as a betrayal of some hope that once flourished in the sixties.
For some people anyway.
Whatever that hope might have been was for older generations, for those who came of age in the midst of the decade, those of us who were literally children of the 60s generally grew up knowing that we had arrived a little too late.
But too late for what?
I was thinking about this the other day as I watched Charlie Says. What brought it to mind was…
…the final scene.
As the film ends, Leslie Van Houten, or ‘Lulu’ as Charlie dubbed her, sits in her cell reflecting her time with Manson. Having finally come to the realization that her violent crimes were all for nothing, She recalls a moment in her life, a time when a biker showed up to take her out of the Spawn Ranch, away from Manson and his control, and of course, well away from the crimes she would later commit on his behalf. As this event actually unfolded, so the movie tells us, Van Houten told the biker she wanted to stay and he rode off without her. In that final scene Van Houten imagines she’d taken him up on it; she imagines herself climbing on the back of his bike and resting her face against his back, sunlight shining down on her cheeks as he rides her off to safety and away from a life lived in the wake of a notorious crime. It’s a vision of freedom.
It was a freedom she did not have the courage to claim when she had the chance.
We watch that freedom slipping away from Van Houten throughout the movie as Manson turned free love into sexual domination, and freedom from the rules of civilization into life lived by his rules and his whims. We see her lose that freedom in stages, always drawn in further by the promise of it. The freedom from conventional culture seems to haunt the entire movie in much the same way that the entire decade haunts the popular culture today. Van Houton seemed to be chasing the ever-elusive sixties the entire time she spent with the Manson family.
…only to missed it completely.
Of course, this isn’t actually a story about the 60s; it’s a story about Lulu, a young woman who never achieved the ideals she might have hoped for, even as she dove whole-heartedly into the values and cultural motifs of the era. In the end, Van Houten is left dreaming of the freedom she once sought from within the confines a prison cell.
Leslie Van Houten is iconic figure of the era, a woman so intimately connected to the sixties, her story is bound to come up whenever people today speak of the decade, but her significance is as perverse as it is tragic. She is for ‘many people’ the death of that very era, so Didion tells us. But it’s the death of something never fully realized in the first place. The sixties rest always a little beyond the events of her life, out of reach, and receding ever further from reach the harder she and her companions tried to reach it.
We could of course think of it as a story about Leslie Van Houten and the rest of the Manson family.
It could just be that.
But it’s also a meditation on the sixties itself.
And in this story, the sixties never become real. The decade appears as a false promise in moment after moment of the story. It ends as an idle fantasy of a woman who ruined her life and that of many others in pursuit of that very fantasy.
I can’t help but to compare this fantasy sequence to that of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” If “Charlie Says” ends on a fantasy sequence, the fantasy-sequence in Tarantino’s story runs for the whole length of the film. It too indulges in an exercise of wish-fulfillment, and it too uses that exercise to say something about the sixties.
For Tarantino this is a conflict between old Hollywood and the counter-culture. His heroes have little but contempt for the hippies they encounter, and it isn’t because they know these particular hippies will become murderers. No. their contempt echoes that of so many middle Americans for whom the lifestyle of the counter-culture was sufficient to trigger all the contempt they could muster. Sure, Tarantino’s protagonists might have had some use for the free love, and they could even try a drug or two, but they were never going to embrace these things as a way of life. No, the drug of choice for conventional Americans was always liquor (and of course Mama’s Little Helper), and free love was just an opportunity to get laid. The sixties might have posed a few extra thrills, but for so much of America, it was also a genuine threat to very lifestyle in which such thrills might make sense to people. This was the response that so much of America had to the sixties; and it’s the attitude of the main characters in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Whatever ideals the hippies of this era might have pursued, they were of little or no consequence to the lives of Tarantino’s fictional Hollywood star and his stuntman sidekick. To them, hippies were a source of annoyance (if also fascination). They seemed to see the sixties through the lens of the fifties, as a possible threat to the establishment. As men whose livelihood was tied to the old Hollywood movie system, these characters were hardly going to support any revolution.
Violent or otherwise.
But of course the fantasy in this film is incredibly violent. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood invites us to imagine an answer to the real life violence of the Manson murders in the form of a classic Hollywood formula. What do you do about people like the Manson family? Well, a Hollywood stuntman beats the shit out of them, before the star comes in to finish the scene.
If Tarantino has any doubts about the authenticity of the Manson family as symbols of the sixties, he doesn’t seem to raise them, not in this film. His stars accept the Manson family as perfectly suitable representatives of the hippie-subculture. In killing them, the stars not only save the lives of Sharon Tate and other victims, they crush the hopes and dreams of the counter-culture movement and vindicate the conventional dreams of middle America.
There is something particularly fitting in the notion that a Hollywood star and his stuntman could be the answer to the real-life killing of a famous actress and her companions.
It’s a poetry of sorts.
If we can imagine what the sixties might have meant to Leslie Van Houten in Charlie Says, the question is hardly relevant to the story in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Van Houten won’t even be there at the end of the story to contemplate her mistakes.
Whatever promise the sixties might have meant to anyone, it was of little concern to the characters in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Their hopes and dreams had been framed in the 50s, at the height of the post-war boom. To them, the sixties were a threat that walked up the street and entered the wrong house for no good reason.
That threat died at the business end of DeCaprio’s flame thrower.
15 Thursday Dec 2022
Deplorables, Donald Trump, Fascism, GOP, MAGA, Marketing, Scam, Trump, Trump Cards
Donald Trump promised a major announcement today, and of course the world of MAGA was filled with speculation as to what that would be.
Apparently, it’s this.
In other words
“Drink more Ovaltine!”
12 Monday Dec 2022
Fantasy, Film, Just So Narratives, Movies, Skepticism, Stories, troll, Trolls, Voicing
The first scene in Troll opens with a father teaching his child to see trolls in the mountains. She is skeptical, but he urges her to make an effort. To see them, he reassures her, she must first believe.
And she does!
Thus, another just-so narrative is born!
Or at least, a rather common just-so cliche gets another go at audiences.
The thing is, I could almost have gone along with it, if the movie-makers in this instance had only had the confidence to invite us to live in a world where a troll can just come out of the mountains and make himself a menace to humanity. They could have simply asked us to run with that premise. That’s what Troll Hunter did, and it was brilliant. But Troll wants to talk to us about it. They want to argue with us about it.
Or at least the characters in the film want to argue about it.
I just can’t imagine why?
At least I can’t imagine a good reason.
The movie’s main character, Professor Nora Tidemann (played by Ine Marie Wilmann) spends much of the first act trash-talking science and scientists. That she is a scientist herself could be an interesting paradox, if only she and her antagonists had anything interesting to say about the matter. It would also help if the scientific establishment in Troll was anything but a willfully obtuse little whipping boy.
For their own part, Tidemann’s skeptics have little to offer but their own refusal to believe the obvious facts of the universe they live in, that is the one in which a troll really does walk out of a mountain and start killing people and breaking things. So, it’s left to Tidemann to tell them what they are seeing, and the resulting debate is a string of arguments we’ve seen in countless B-grade fantasy and horror films going as far back as I can remember.
This isn’t good story telling.
The troll himself is good storytelling. He is interesting. Hell, he was awesome! He looked cool enough, and his behavior invites us to consider a whole range of much more interesting questions. He was menacing enough, true, but the Troll also showed traces of compassion. As the storyline developed, we even began to get a sense for how he could be approached, for what might make the difference between a violent encounter and a peaceful one. What made the difference in this instance was almost interesting, and it almost mattered.
In any event, the troll in this movie was actually pretty cool.
It was the people that sucked.
The people sucked because they were using the troll to rehash an old and entirely contrived debate about the limitations of science and rationalism. Because that debate was hardly compelling as a storyline, I have to believe it wasn’t really there in the service of the story. The debate was there because someone behind the making of this movie thinks they have a point to make about the limitations of science. Someone believes that message – that you must believe in order to see – is a point worth making. So, when Tidemann’s father tells his daughter to do that in the opening scene, and when she later repeats that message to the rest of the scientists throughout the rest of the movie, that is someone behind the making of this movie speaking to the rest of us, telling us that we must believe in order to see.
If only the people telling us this had the courage of their own convictions, the story might have worked. Had they been willing to show us a world full of trolls and let the characters (along with their audience) run with it, the whole story might have worked. But they had to argue with us. They did so through the voices of their less-than-compelling human characters. The argument was never more than a childish exercise in special pleading, all quite unnecessary, because the story presents the existence of trolls as a fact. Those still reluctant to acknowledge their existence well into the second act come across, not so much as scientists or skeptics as outright fools. They do so because they are denying obvious facts, and because their denial is clearly unreasonable at that point in the story. And so we are left with the notion that a kind of blind faith has proven itself out, that it is the characters who choose to believe in order to see the troll that understood the assignment, that such faith and such faith alone was the only hope for handling the troll in this story. Science and skepticism failed in this instance because they were simply written that way. And because the movie invests so much time in the arguments between the skeptics and the believers, I do not think it unreasonable to suppose the movie-makers wanted us to take their arguments seriously.
Only these just aren’t serious arguments.
They are tiresome cliches.
The troll deserved better!
02 Friday Dec 2022
Posted Irritation Meditation, Moviesin
Arizona, Film, Irene Bedard, Las Vegas, Movies, Navajo Blues, Navajo Nation, Southwest, Yuma
Okay, this is just silly but…
I noticed that “Navajo Blues” can now be found on Youtube. This is a clunky old crime story with a Navajo cop and a Vegas cop providing the obligatory odd-ball team of police officers. It’s one of the sillier movies that Irene Bedard has made in her career, and I’m sure that I could find all manner of absurdities in this flick if I went back and watched it again. (A casino and some roadside sandpaintings come to mind.) Still, one particular thing stands out in my mind. I first saw this film when I was living in Fort Defiance, Arizona, a short drive from Window Rock, and a long drive from Las Vegas. I made the first drive every day to and from work, and the latter about once every month or two so as to visit friends and family in the Vegas area.
Point being that I was pretty familiar with the drive out I-40 from Vegas to Window Rock. Which is why I was pretty surprised to learn that one of the main protagonists of this film, a cop from Vegas, was going to fly out to Yuma so that Irene Bedard could go pick him up at the airport.
I kept thinking, is that even closer to Window Rock than Vegas?
Turns out it is.
By about 2 miles.
…which might just prove that Irene Bedard is about nicest person that ever lived. Who else would drive that far to meet someone too stupid to find a closer airport?
(You can find the reference at about the 19-minute mark.)
03 Thursday Nov 2022
Posted Alaska, Animals, Bad Photographyin
Alaska, Animals, Foxes, Lemmings, Owls, Snowy Owls, Summer, Wildlife, Wildlife Photography
This last summer seems to have been a good one for lemmings. I even caught a few decent pictures of the little guys, but more importantly, lemmings bring friends with them.
By friends, I of course mean, predators.
Which isn’t very friendly, but…
The owls mostly left a little over a month ago. I’m sure, there area few still around, but not in significant numbers, For their own part, the foxes got a little too numerous and a little too dangerous to the two-legged population around here.
Anyway, it was an interesting summer.
(Click to embiggen)
(No, really. Click to embiggen!)
01 Tuesday Nov 2022
Accents, Childhood, Colorado, Language, Perception, San Antonio, Speech, Texas, Y'all
I was four years old.
I remember, I was stringing beads at the kitchen table when Mom and Dad came to get me. They told me not to worry about the beads; just leave them there. We got in the car (an old black Volkswagen hatchback) and drove off.
Hours later, I was still thinking about the half-finished string of beads still sitting on the kitchen table back home. I kept wondering when we would get back to I could finish the string. Several more hours later, as great big snowflakes began to smack up against our windshield, I came to realize I probably wasn’t going to get to finish the string of beads after all. We eventually piled into a strange new house and promptly moved right in before going to bed. Mom said she packed the beads after all, but she wasn’t sure where they were. The next day, my older brother and sister took me out to play in the snow of our great big back yard. We made a snow man, something I’d never seen before, and then my brother took a running charge and tackled it. This small ranch in what seemed like the middle of nowhere was our new home.
I never thought about the beads again.
But I did think a lot about Texas,
Sometime later, I remember sitting around a dinner table eating fondu (it was the seventies, after all). The rest of the family was chatting away with the dinner guests, and their conversation puzzled me. They kept talking about how everyone back home in San Antonio talked in a funny way. I distinctly recall, my sister telling a story about a friend who used the word ‘y’all’ in the conversation, and of course there were the usual comments about how Mom’s speech had already come to match that of everyone else back in Texas. The laughter was all in good fun, but I simply didn’t understand. Almost all of my short life had been spent in San Antonio, Texas, and I hadn’t noticed anyone talking funny.
Eventually, we took a quick trip back to Texas for a couple days. It must have been a good year or so later. Dad sold our small vacation place on LBJ Lake and bought a Ford Pick-up before driving home. While there, I remember seeing one of my old playmates. We talked for a few minutes, but something was different. I remember one thing in particular.
He said; “So y’all goin’ back to Colorada?”
And I suddenly realized that he DID talk funny. So did everyone else! How I hadn’t noticed before would remain a mystery to me for quite some time, but he definitely did talk funny.
THAT, is how I first became aware of accents.