Thursday, June 19, 2008

Passwords II

A completely inaccurate merging of several conversations between Ben and me:

“Amy and I had dinner last weekend with Brad and a couple of other guys. One of them was a Buddhist who was also Elvis Costello fan and we spent some time swapping concert stories. He’d been to Madam Wong’s and had seen the Naughty Sweeties during their heyday. On the other hand, he hates Jackson Pollack.”

“It’s always a little surprising when someone who likes the same things doesn’t like all the same things.”

“Yeah, it makes the idea of ‘shared experience’ a little dicey as a way of separating ‘us’ from ‘them.’”

“Then there’s the flip side, when people seem to like the same things, but for such completely different reasons that they might as well be from Mars.”

“Ah, sure. Welcome to my world. Except I’m the Martian.”

“Where’s the Kaboom? There was supposed to be an Earth Shattering Kaboom!”

“The Illudium Pu-36 Explosive Space Modulator! That creature has stolen the space modulator!”

“Speaking of Martians, what do you think of Tom Delay’s asking The Colbert Report for the clip of Colbert asking Robert Greenwald, ‘Who hates America more, you or Michael Moore.”

“I think Delay and some of his people may be brain-damaged. There are certain sorts of deficits that make people unable to comprehend irony. It’s like aphasia; they just don’t hear it.”

“Well, that’s charitable.”

“Yeah, I’m a philanthropist. But maybe that’s another way to run the password thing. Remember when we were doing IQ guessing?”

“Yeah, you were pretty good at it.”

“It’s not that hard. Most IQ tests load primarily onto verbal acuity. You can get that by just talking to someone for a few minutes. I do remember that a friend of mine in college asked me what I thought the IQ of his fiancé was. I thought about it a moment and realized that she was smarter than I’d have first thought, IQ around 135, which turned out to be an exact hit. But she’d laughed at the right places in our jokes, not a beat behind, like someone does who is following someone else’s laughter.”

“You think it would work for the sentry?”

“I don’t see why not. Guy comes up to the checkpoint and the guard says, ‘Halt, friend or foe?’ and the other guy says, ‘Friend.’ So the sentry says, 'A priest, a minister, and a rabbi walk into a bar…'”


black dog barking said...

A couple of weeks back BoingBoing linked an article about how brain damage can render one unable to detect sarcasm. I made notes to tell my brother, the artist, because according to MRIs the sarcasm processing area of the brain is one previously identified as a subtle part of visual processing. I took this to show how we connect synaptically and also the consequences of small misfires. He paints the world as he/we see it but often throws in elements that are visually correct but just *wrong* — zebras looking over their shoulders for predators except they're on the moon, a waning Earth in the night sky above them.

You might be able to use some kind of MRI mapping to find some cultural identifiers, separate the "they" from the "we". I'd think English exercises certain areas that Chinese doesn't get to, atrophies others. I was never able to pick up the French subjunctive from teachers and books while studying French. May have gotten it in a total French environment, we'll never know.

James Killus said...

One a different note, I just had to change the link to the Marvin the Martian image file. Some people put in all sorts of traps for hotlinking to images. I try to give credit when I can, and clicking on the images should send you to the original image, but when people do that, it makes it nearly impossible.

So I just download the image and paste it up onto the blog. If it were something that were uncommon (as many of the Women and Snakes images are) I'd have put in more identifiers. But Chuck Jones and company don't need any more publicity from me, and the folks who are too clever by half are too clever by half, a phrase that can only be understood by the sarcasm unimpaired.

black dog barking said...

A couple of years back Internet Movie Database (IMDb) would accept hotlinks from my development machine at a static IP, throw 'em back when I ran the same app on a public server. AFIK you're operating under common web practice — if they ban hot links they're asking you to use your bandwidth, ie download the image and link it on your server.

James Killus said...

Well, good. That's a load off my mind. I have no problem with using Google's bandwidth.

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