Worlds & Time

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Depth of Observation

In my email, I have three emails from myself, sent from my phone about my observations about New York City. The are, in order:

1. Today I saw a man burned so badly that he no longer had eyelids that blinked. He had a laminated cardboard sign with what appeared to be a newspaper article about his story on it. He was panhandling on the subway. I was too scared to make eye contact or give him any money. He had really good sunglasses though, and I can't say that I blame him.

2. Today, while I was walking through Brooklyn, I saw a kid in a camouflage costume. It wasn't the traditional green and brown of my childhood army or the digital prints of today's uniform. It was a ghillie suit; used by snipers to remain invisible in rough terrain by covering themselves with a thickly hairy fabric. Although it was sized for a kid and obviously made as a costume, it was impressive none the less. The only thing that spoiled the effect was its presence in a Brooklyn neighborhood of townhouses.

3. On the way our of my friend's apartment, I passed two kids, maybe thirteen or fourteen, singing "Uptown Girl" by Billy Joel. Or maybe the gayer version by Westlife. They weren't even born when the original came out, and there they were, singing away while walking down a New York City sidewalk.

That's all New York to me. Not in the specifics, I guess. You could have seen any of those things in many cities, but these kinds of things are all around you in New York. I saw them in only a few days and I'm sure that there was something even stranger going on every minute that I failed to see. It's a function of the density, and I suspect that New York may be the center of the English speaking weirdness just because of its density.

Comparatively, those observations are very shallow compared to these observations (via Making Light).

I don't know enough about the New Guinea cargo cults to do anything more than superficially agree with the observations made by Mr. Peter Klausler, but I will say that one of the subsections (There will be justice) represents one of the most hateful, virulently horrible forms of Christianity that I've ever come across.

PNH said "The outlined principles divide up alarmingly well into 'stuff I recognize as generally true about the way Americans think' and 'stuff I just now realized I think.'"

Yeah, me too. Now there's a shallow observation.


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