Monday, 08 May 2006

Tales from B.W.W.W. [The inspiration. The festivities start here.] When people talk about the role of gender in the blogosphere, my mind inevitably wanders back to the testosterone-soaked days of my adultolescence. See, I would spend hours each day war dialing (known outside of Baton Rouge as "demon dialing") various bulletin boards in order to have vigorous debates with other men about important topics like "gun control" and "abortion" and "whether Ronald Reagan can be held personally responsible for the AIDS epidemic." When our collective intelligence failed to solve the problem of world hunger in less than a month, everyone would get testy and head for the war boards. "War boards?" you say. To which I reply: "War boards. Forums whose sole purpose was to cultivate the rhetorical chops of those who frequented it via furious blind invective. Often times wars would descend into festivals of insults in which everyone's mother was transmogrified into someone who was so fat that when she sat around the house, she sat around the house. Some of us tried to elevate the form. I was among them. I preferred to humiliate my opponents by taking statements they had previously made and making them look like asses for mouthing them." Here is an example—procured from an archive which includes my first foray into the World of War Boarding—of a "challenge" levelled by a chap named "Zith": Date: 4:46 pm Sat Jun 11, 1992 From: Zith To: [Scott] Subj: Re: Oh, we're just dandy, aren't Stat: Normal I read very little of the post the reference number indicates. Let ME take control of this situation as is more apropriate, me being better et all. War for access to modemland. Dr.Luv's suggestion of MA is perfect. Five other [judges of the war]? Bishop, he can appreciate it. Loki would be considered biased, Tenedos is fine. That makes three. <just to help you keep up> Laz doesn't like me, and I don't know enough about him to tell wether that would effect his judement of not. Danmietster is a stranger. No strangers. Two more...hmm...Reverend Beverage. Jack Flash. Simple. Are you getting this? If these people are willing to put up with this idiocy for the two days it will take for the decisive victory to occur than it is fine. I give you one chance to backoff before I make you miserable. Think about it. And when you finally come to and soil your shorts in fear, only then will you realize the breadth of my superiority. And who needs a fucking topic [as opposed to a pure, unadulterated Festival of Insult] anyway? Whatever you are blabbering about is unimportant. I want to war you, not debate you. Get it? Think before you even reach for the R[eply] key. Turn off your mouth and turn on your brain. If you value anything at all in your life <which can't be much out of modemland> than you will back down, apologize, and then you will be able to sleep at night. You...
Those Who Can Do, Do. Those Who Can't, Do Anyway So I've decided to write a book. This soon-to-be-dearly-missed fellow suggested it first. The credit is rightfully his. In the past couple of weeks a couple of other folks have also decided that I possess the requisite wit and insomnia to research and write a book while researching and writing a dissertation. Since they know people who know people—and since with each passing day my dreams are shoved, stopped, started, carried, routed, rerouted, diverted, guided, and conducted to avenues that lead to avenues that lead to cul-de-sacs—I think I'll take them up on their advice and spend time otherwise "invested" in re-re-re-watching some familiar film in a desperate attempt to stuff a stopper in the day's thought doing something productive instead. Like writing a book. What will this book be about? Why me of course! What else would a solipsistic fraud like me write about? I've lived a quaint life, yes, but I've lived the whole damn thing deaf. When you talk to me about your work, do you know what I hear? This: ə wə hə əw də ən m əlmo fənəsh wə də gəchə. ə thəm you wəl ləg ət. That's not accurate at all. I've basically clipped all the hard consonant sounds and schwa'd all the vowels, but since I ain't written the book yet, I haven't thought too deeply about what exactly it is I hear. I'm so accustomed to seeing the words I hear that I'm not actually sure what it is I actually here. I'm going to have spend some time transcribing with my eyes squeezed shut and my headphones nestled before I can transcribe what auditory cues I actually hear. I'll also be experimenting with ear plugs in order to figure out the exact extent to which I lip-read. In short, much like Joan Didion in her deservedly acclaimed Year of Magical Thinking, I'll be spending some time researching my own life. I'm looking forward to interviewing my parents. My wife. My friends. My doctors. The people I work with and the ones I work for. In my spare time, I will rewrite proverbial history: "Those who can, do. Those who can't, do anyway." I'll write in the genre I've taught to so many students whose prose talents, frankly, far outstrip my own. I'll increase the value of my name in this reputation economy by becoming more than "Professor Office Sex." (Which is still better than some people I'd rather not know. Better to be "Professor Office Sex" than "Adjunct Attacked a Group of Women of Color in a Parking Lot for No Reason.") What does this mean for you? Probably more self-involved posts about what it's like being deaf. I envision the finished product to be a John McPhee-esque memoir in which the personal collides with the researchical in ways which entertain and inform all. Something along these lines. If my best and brightest can appreciate the form, I have no doubt others can as well. (Those who can't do but teach...

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