K. (infinitemonkeys) wrote,

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In the film Ghost (nothing but top-notch entertainment in this LJ) there's this ghost played by the intriguing Vincent Schiavelli who lives in the subway, jumping from train to train. By turns curmudgeonly, affable, terrified and crazed, he shows Sam Wheat how to affect the physical world -- to hit a barrier, kick a can and so on.

Then towards the end his brain seems to slip off whatever ledge it was clinging to. "Who are you! What do you *want* from me?!?" he screeches before taking a running jump into the nearest subway car.

I feel much the same way sometimes when I see my "friends of" list.

Hello! Whoever you are. :::waves perkily, takes medication:::

(And I swear, if anyone tells me that should have been "whom", I will disembowel them and wear their intestines for an ear muffler. It's been that kind of week)

Apparently, Coke outsells Pepsi because Coca-Cola have altered our branes OMG!
When they do an MRI scan on the brains of people drinking coke, the parts of the brain that deal with memories also light up even though in taste tests Pepsi outperforms Coke -- showing that brand marketing really works Not that this has anything to do with anything, I just thought it was interesting in light of the fact that I currently drink about 20 cans of Diet Coke a week.

sophia_helix had a very interesting post the other day about how we use LJ, and in particular how those of us who got into this via a fandom use it. For some reason I could tolerate being on a list with people I loathed but knowing that they are about two degrees of LJ separation away from me makes my sphincter twitch. (I did try to search for a more comely way of putting it, but there really isn't a more descriptive one)

I'd like to bet that, armed with the journal start-date and a friends/friend of list, you could state with accuracy the route through which the journal owner came to LJ, even if their posts or interests lists no longer show any trace.

There's the odd exception — the people who have burned their old fandom trail and started again, bloggers who have shifted to LJ to keep up with other people, the focused defrienders — but for most of us, I think, the friends list/interest list shows clearly who we once were. The ghosts of fandoms past linger on in surprising ways.

The reading list is the biggest giveaway. Most have no trouble giving up old fandoms, but defriending the people who once shared them isn't so easy. Nor is it always desirable: the people who were fascinating when they talked about film noir in The X-Files or mechanisms of storytelling on Buffy the Vampire Slayer remain interesting when they're talking about anything from anime to how they take their coffee in the mornings.

Unless they decide to switch the discussion in their LJ to something that my brain cannot wrap itself around, all the time -- which for me, is real, living people used in stories -- they'll remain interesting. (I can't be convinced about RPF. I've read a bit of it and found some wonderful writing and very imaginative uses of the medium but it just *bothers* me and I don't want to read it any more.)

Sometimes it works another way and you will be prompted to reconsider a book, movie or TV series that you might never have come to any other way. LJ friends suggest something is good, and that prompts a closer look.

To borrow TdF terminology for a second, it's as though LJ acts as a fannish peloton, with imaginative recs and links taking you in the same direction as your friends list. You ride along in the slipstream, until you're up to speed enough with the new fandom to participate from the front for a while.

However, sometimes there's nothing left once the common language of fannish enthusiasm has gone. Without that Rosetta Stone to enable you to make sense of each other, you exist in a spirit of mutual, slothful indifference and post-skipping.

Which is to say, feel free to defriend when your interests have shifted. I'm cutting the reading list myself, for reasons of time.

These days I find I want to read more LJs of people who know about the Eurovision and Terry Wogan's awful syrup and who Chorlton and the Wheelies are and why Man United are so irritating and why Peter Mandelson should be strung up by the goolies and beaten with stale baguettes. A perspective from abroad is invaluable and fascinating but sometimes I neither know nor give a double-handed toss about people like Dave Matthews, Martha Stewart or Ryan Seacrest, none of whom could score a free drink in my local, much less raise a crowd.

(A couple of years ago, back when Dave Matthews was trying to be popular in the UK, a music magazine took him out into Leicester Square and set him to busking. Most people just walked by, save for some American students who got his autograph and piccies and were generally gobsmacked and delighted. Some things do not translate)

Speaking of things that do not translate: Barack Obama.

I read his speech and it was good but it didn't seem that much different than the usual liberal let's all hold hands and not spy on each another, "America is the greatest" stuff that you hear from every speaker at these conventions. There wasn't a single policy promise or concrete pledge to do anything, just an interesting personal story and a lot of generalisations.

It was superior to say, one of Tony Blair's speeches in that it pretty much went subject-verb-object, rather than sentence fragment- adjective-adjective-"tough choices"-adjective-coy smoochy glance at camera but I didn't get why everyone seemed so blown away by it.

In fact, it was more like the speech given by Michael Howard after his accession to the Tory leadership in which he talked about his parents' experience as refugees from Romania, to which the general response was "I don't care if your parents waterskied from Antarctica with the help of sperm whale, you're still an illiberal git who can't pronounce people. Pee-ople, dammit, not peeeeepil"

So what was it about Barack Obama? Was it that his speech touched on the story America tells its children about their possibilities or is it just the way he tells 'em? Inquiring minds wish to know.
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