First order of business-Angela, if I had to pick one, it would be "A Remark You Made," written by Joe Zawinul and aptly underscored by Jaco Pastorius. I don't have any fun (read: hysterical) links like Helen's tribute to Vanilla Ice and his testicles. [I tried to put a link here to an mp3, but I must not know what I'm doing. Industrious types will find it on their own, on the Heavy Weather album, by Weather Report.]
Onto Helen, who gave me plenty of food for thought-especially on a Sunday, a day when I typically waver between cranky and braindead.
I've been thinking hard about your notion that language wears us, we don't wear it, and I hope I'm close to getting it. At first, I sat puzzled (not new for me), at your idea that "online interaction gives us a (blurry?) snapshot of the way that language uses us." I started thinking about how I form my thoughts when writing. I decided that ultimately, they are formed at the keyboard, and are more or less the same, regardless of whether I'm crafting them on or offline, or for a medium that's on or offline. That's why sticking me in front a new computer renders me useless for a good three days.
So, once I have a thought in my head--and hey, let's not minimize that little success--I taper my language differently because, as we all know, words and thoughts are perceived differently when they look up at us from the paper page in any number of fonts, than they are blaring at us on 640x480 (or whatever it is) glorified light bulb.
Even within the online world, thoughts, meaning, and voice are wrapped within smartass and witty san serif fonts (fishrush and sweet fancy moses come to mind), or serious and informed serif fonts (amaon.com comes to mind). So in that way, I suppose language does wear us--the theme of control comes back into orbit--demanding of us that we conform our thoughts to based on such edicts and the supposed perceptions of others.
But still, I wasn't quite getting it--eh?
So then I went back to what I know best. Motherhood. Specifically, the art and science of creating a human life, which, after all, is the ultimate act of meme propagation. Consider that when you are pregnant, you are said to be forming this child within--but ultimately, the child takes over your form. You are said to give birth and new life to the child, but I contest that every woman is reborn through childbirth. In other words, the life you create creates you, and re-creates you. So, somehow I am getting closer to getting it, by relating this notion of "who wears whom" to what I know best.
So taken this way, yes, we are created by language at least as much as we create it. Right? I like to think that language is under my control to craft and play with any way I want. But then…. Yes, I can accept the possibility that maybe I am more or less under its spell.
Thanks for "making those little hamsters in my head run faster," as one of Chris's readers said recently.