Thursday, March 01, 2007

Why Do I Write a Blog?

That's a darned good question. Specifically, can I come up with five good reasons that I spend a couple of hours a night PhotoShopping pictures and writing about my small adventures. Came from my daughter, by way of being "tagged". She's written an articulate short essay on the subject, and I have to keep up so here I go.

#1. I'm a journalist. Have been all my working life. This means that I am curious (i.e., nosey), like variety, small adventures and surprises in my life. But I was never paid to write about such personal experiences; I was paid to write about business. Now that I have the time, I can write whatever I please. Currently, that is Walking Prescott.

2. When my husband died, a large hole opened up in my life. Working on the blog has helped fill that vacancy.

3. Wherever I land, I find the place or the event interesting. For the past quarter of a century, that place has been Prescott. So I write about Prescott. Mainly.

4. Vanity. I can't help spotting the quirky -- it jumps out and shouts "Look at me! Tell everybody about me!" It's plain fun to share what I see with others; in the past, that was always an intimate partner. Now that I am alone, Walking Prescott is a way to talk with friends, friendly strangers and anyone who passes this way.

5. As a magazine journalist, I almost always worked with words and pictures in telling a story. But taking my own pictures this past year has been an education and has sharpened my seeing immeasurably. It's been a ball! Now my 103 year old Mom is buying me a new camera; when it arrives, I may be able to get a good picture of this year's Courthouse raven brood.

Now to get a grump off my chest. For some strange reason, this tagging of a cluster of bloggers with some sort of question or request for a list or what have you is called a "meme". Guys, it isn't.

First, a couple of quotes starting with the American Heritage Dictionary. A meme is: "an idea, thought or piece of information that is passed from generation to generation through imitation and behavioral replication. Coined by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, memes and memetics are the cultural counterpart to the biological study of genes and genetics. Using the evolution analogy, Dawkins observed that human cultures evolve via 'contagious' communications in a manner similar to the gene pool of populations over time."

And another quote, this time from a very long Wikipedia article, via Proponents of memes suggest that memes evolve via natural selection — in a way very similar to Charles Darwin's ideas concerning biological evolution — on the premise that variation, mutation, competition, and "inheritance" influence their replicative success. For example, while one idea may become extinct, other ideas will survive, spread and mutate — for better or for worse — through modification.

Sorry if I've been too pedantic but it's a very useful idea and I hate to see it misused so casually.


Kate said...

Poof. You're being curmudgeonly. English words change usage all the time. One could, I suppose, use "Tag", but that would clash with all the other uses of "tag" on the internet.

In other words, the idea behind "meme" has...evolved...

Granny J said...

And so, I suppose, has the use of the apostrophe into a part of the letter "s" at the end's of word's. Poof back at you, dotter!

Lucy said...

I am impressed and a little chastened that I had no idea that was why it was called a meme - I simply thought it was because people all wanted a chance to have their say and, like children in a game of tag, jumped up and down shouting ' Me, me! Tag me!'.
Actually I think I quite like my explanation...

Aftersox said...

Wow - I never heard that explanation. I seem to be an outsider to this blog, but I agree with Kate on this one. :)

But I also agree with Granny - memetics set out to be a science, but it got mixed up in the public sphere. That's okay, the ivory tower is still following it, but new terms are being invented. :)

Granny J said...

I stand on the rights of an elderly widow lady to go "humph!" once in a while, although "me-me" is a nice switch on the concept, Ms. Lucy. And, Mr. Aftersox, no one is an outsider to this blog. (Well, I take that back. Periodically, the odd spammer shows up with a basket of unwanted goodies to peddle at my expense.) But I'm out here in the world, trying to cast a long shadow, like that picture. Please come back again and again! And speak up, while you're at it.

Judith said...

Granny J, nice to meet you - we were introduced by Lucy. Now, I am a Granny J too, as it happens, and an elderly widow lady, and much inclined to be pedantic in terms of the English language. So I'm jumping in here where I feel at home; and perhaps we shall explore our differences as well.

I have only recently come across the word 'meme' and you are the first to explain it to me. I agree with Kate that language is a living, changing thing, but it is sad when one valuable meaning of a word is lost through such change (e.g. 'gay', and confusing if a variety of meanings exist. If Dawkins invented the word for scientific description, it is not helpful to have it carried off into a totally different discipline, especially one which seems to have no hesitation or difficulty in inventing its own jargon.

So you can keep giving out a "humph!" from time to time, and maybe I'll join you!

herhimnbryn said...

G'day from Australia,
Here from Lucy's Blog.
Thankyou for the meme infromation, like Lucy I had no idea of it's meaning.

Granny J said...

GrannyJ #2, thank you for your firm confirmation of my grump. My impression is that you don't put up with nonsense.

And I thank Lucy for sending such nice people as Judith and Ms. Herhimnbyrn to visit Prescott with me.

Anonymous said...

I like you reasons for maintaining the blog. I need to catch up on your posts.

Granny J said...

Welcome back, Steve. I hope your vacation from Blogland was refreshing. A lot of pictures have been posted since you last visited. Enjoy!

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