Tuesday, October 24, 2006

"popular" online slang

I was pleased to see that Nathan did some work looking into the real popularity of those internet abbreviations often listed in publications on the subject. It has often been my experience that half of the slang terms, abbreviations, and emoticons listed in glossaries of the same have been terms I had never seen before reading the glossary and never saw after. I imagine some poor hapless reader of a feature on internet slang going into a chat room and looking foolish rather than savvy by reading terms from a list. I think many of these list-makers miss the important fact that internet culture is not monolithic - different slang, abbreviations and inside jokes exist in different communities. groups based on being fans of certain bands or tv-shows have slang or abbreviations for pertinent characters or albums. some straightforward symbols are common - :), lol, brb, ttyl. But most slang terms are so community-specific any purported guide to all the internets will be, well, misguiding.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

They'll Know We Are Christians By Our Teetotaling

This recent NYtimes article is troubling for many reasons besides those which appear to trouble Evangelical leaders. Evidently a poll suggests that only 4 percent of current young people will grow up to be “bible-believing christians” given a very restrictive definition. And even those Christian groups who suggest their numbers are larger present strange definitions of Christianity. (also interesting how they compare their audience to Paul McCartney’s – you know, he’s so popular with the kiddies these days…)

Apparently, these Christian teens feel the things that are keeping them from a godly life include Gilmore Girls, Ryan Seacrest, and Harry Potter. Although I understand that these things are not inherent goods, I suspect the one thing that needs to be excised from the lives of American teenagers to make them more godly is not Rory Gilmore. They express the belief that the markers of Christian living are “avoiding casual sex, risqué music and videos, Internet pornography, alcohol and drugs.”

Of course, I don’t believe that any of these ideas are bad, I’m obviously not going to encourage my 15-year-old sister (or anyone for that matter) to start doing any of those things. But is it a surprise that few people want to be part of this club? Their Christianity isn’t about love, grace, forgiveness or service. Their biblical values appear in the bible only by abstraction and certainly less than calls for social justice. If evangelical Christianity is about conservative social values, of COURSE it’s not popular among teenagers and of course they don’t want to talk about it. There’s no way to spin Puritanism as cool, no matter how much you brand it. But what really bothers me is the way they diminish the radical nature of Christianity to a set of conservative cultural values. How can “bible-believing” Christians fixate on such a small percentage of the actual biblical text?

Monday, October 09, 2006

quirk meme

I gave up my moratorium on memes to do the book one, and now I've been tagged by Shelly to talk about my quirks. Since Shelly constitutes a fair percentage of my small audience and I like talking about how quirky I am, here I go with 5 quirks:

1) I finally gave up on trying to learn to flip my pen like a debater this year after 7 years of trying intermittently.

2) I like to buy my stamps at the post office counter so that I can get the limited edition designs. Right now I have superheroes. I hope the recipients of my bills and letters notice.

3) Half of the time I'm looking at Facebook and Myspace I'm trying to figure out what other people do for hours on there.

4) I wanted to be a writer since I was 4 or 5 years old and started working on my first novel by typing on my parents' apple II. I never finished it.

5) When I was in High School my friends and I played a game called "word of the week" which was a contest to see who could use the designated word the most during the week. Some of those words showed up on the GRE, and I felt smug.

I'm sure my friends could think of quirkier things that I forgot are quirky, but there's some.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Capitalism's War?

Daniel linked to this propaganda video from world war II. I was floored by how much our wartime messages have changed in 60 years. Why are we being told the opposite now? What if we had war propaganda that said "every dollar you spend on something you don't need is a dollar helping the taliban"? What if more of us thought of the soldiers in Iraq as "our boys"?

for more on interesting wartime propoganda check out Dr Stahl's documentary.