Monday, January 31, 2005

I should be writing a lecture, but: Just clicked on a link to plagarist.com from Jordan's blog, to read a Rod Smith poem. I don't really understand this site, but I was not inclined to stick around to figure it out. Why? The advertising-sidebar is this "shoot-the-bug-and-win-a-free-iPod" thing, featuring rather realistically animated scuttling cockroaches. This is unpleasant in itself, but also takes me back to a bad patch of 6th grade. Do you recall when The Amityville Horror was out, and there was a paperback of the novel (or maybe it was a novelization?) that involved somewhat enlarged trompe l'oeil flies, as though they had landed on an otherwise unremarkable cover? I do -- that was the big reading fad in my class (that and Where the Red Fern Grows*), and seeing it always made me flinch and/or twitch. Once some of my fellow students noticed that this was the case -- or maybe I said something, always a mistake** -- it became a little game to suddenly bring it out from under their desks and flash it at me. My reaction was predictable, Pavlovian, and worsened, I suppose because of the cruelty as much as the image after a while. At one point, one classmate brought in the hardcover, which featured a single, giant fly, expressly to unnerve me. (Actually, it was less effective b/c less photorealistic; however, I don't recall being afraid of real flies.) I remember diving out of my seat to avoid the sight on a few occasions; at some point, one child told me, "My mother says you just do this to get attention." So, no, I didn't particularly care to be reminded of all this online.

*I was reading Larry Niven at the time. Dark years.

**I was already aware that explaining to another 12-year-old, the mayor's son, who enjoyed punching people in the upper arm as a friendly greeting that I would prefer that he not do so in my case, because I received regular allergy shots and was already sort of tender/bruised in that area, was a losing strategy.

O.K., back to G.E. Moore.

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