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You are What You Remix — For Writing, Gimme Maureen Corrigan

March 24, 2012

The things people choose to fill their time doing usually say something about the person, though the degree and extent varies as much as the number of people that are alive (or more, theoretically). Reveals who you are. You can call it taste, style, substance: the sum all concoction of characteristics’ — in order of import and proportion — that make up a oerson’s original essence. From your favorite color, movie, music, and even the car you drive, on the simplest of levels. With age, and perhaps a bit more reflection and conscious choice bring things more mature: values, philosophy, and spirituality. An area that has gained publicity and popularity in the sociology field, of which I am a member, especially in the past decade or so, and that represents a novel, creative way to see originality/identity/etc., is the ‘remix culture.’ I’m not solely focusing on the notion in this piece, but it deserves a quick mention. Without digging into the origin and history of the term, I’ll speak to my demographic, and I was born in ’78. I first remember songs coming out as ‘remixes’ in the late ’80s and early ’90s as a re-made version of a song, usually a hit, e.g. a hit single. Implicit on the birth of a remix was a near dependence on the success or popularity of the original song, to be increase the likelihood/chance of success of the remix. Recently the term has broadened in two notable ways, the cultural medium/sphere and the bite/sample aspect. Remix culture now stands to represent multiple media, in theory anything, e.g.: film, literature, sports, and language, for instance. Seconly, and more importanly: the term has become symbolic to the notion of biting/sampling/borrowing, whereas something, however great or small, is borrowed from another source and incorporated into the given product, idea, etc. This element, seemingly ingenuous and completely averse to the idea of originality, has evolved to represent an original act based on a different perspective of the notion of originality. Thus, the choice of what things are borrowed (quantity and quality; size and form; type and form; etc.) come to represent a free-will choice, similar to using a letter in the alphabet to form an original thought, though others have long used that letter before, etc. It takes a philosophy, counterintuitive on some level, that draws on, among other things, an idea of Noam Chomsky linguistics that posits “the infinite possibilities that can come from a finite set of things.” I’ll get back to thus notion on a post all it’s own later.
This takes me, finally, to the notion that what you read says something about you. You are what you remix, to borrow (ha, ‘borrow’ as in bite/sample/remix — that’s bad) from the cliché. As for witers — and, I know that she’s technically, in the capacity that I hear her via NPR’s and WHYY’s ‘Fresh Air’ with Terry Gross, a ‘book-reviewer/critic’ — I feel like no one, that’s right no one, describes and shapes stories with words better than Maureen Corrigan. If there’s someone, or even more accurate, some ‘content’ that takes the form of writing, that reflects what I think is the most effective, highest quality, etc. of writing: it’s Corrigan. When she reads her reviews on the radio, she gets whatever the story is and describes it perfectly to my judgement. That takes us to how I define effective, highest quality, and/or perfect, right?! All in the eye of the beholder, clearly. More on Corrigan, good writing to me, and remix culture, among other things later.

Happy Saturday. Beautiful mind 80 degree spring weather here in the old pueblo (a.k.a. Tucson, Arizona).
Much more on this later.

Corrigan’s latest review, of two books (Fresh Air)


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