Sunday, August 13, 2006

All smoogles have comcom

when i took kathleen reardon's 'negotiation and persuasion' class way-back-when she had an exercise for us one day where she wrote a sentence on the blackboard (?) :
"All smoogles have comcom."
and she asked us what we thought it meant. what is a smoogle? what is comcom?

her point was that words are vessels in which we pour 'meaning' - in and of themselves, many words don't have any intrinsic meaning. the repugs have mastered the art today - whether it it michael moore or ned lamont or anti-semitic or anti-war or national security or terrorist or iran.

via email, kathleen writes:
" And then we discussed how by grammar alone we know "smoogles" is the subject that has this thing comcom. But the sentence is nonsense until I tell the story about smoogles I've seen and how the comcom is sheered each winter and it takes five sheerings to make a sweater, that smoogles aren't seen by many people because they only come out late at night, etc. It's based on an old book by Berlo called "The Process of Communication.""
it's a fascinating process as she drops hints from "All smoogles have comcom" and you begin to try to make meaning of that sentence, and then you rearrange your synapses as she adds new 'details'

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