Friday, March 3, 2023

He Said, She Said, They Said, It Said

Life in the Dizzinformation Age.

Image by hakelbudel from Pixabay 

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids — the Stickies — eventual selves to advise them and haunt them after they've become grups and/or I'm deleted.  

Trigger Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in a debilitating meltdown.  


Featuring Dana: Hallucination, guest star, and charming literary device  

"Advances in automation, artificial intelligence and robotics, while increasing productivity, will also cause major upheavals to the workforce."                                                                                                     -John Hickenlooper

Dear Stickies and Gentlereaders,

Sometimes I wonder if certain Luddites of my acquaintance are on to something.

"You could look it up!" -Casey Stengel... or James Thurber... or maybe Yogi Berra.

{You should look it up.}

I tried that, Dana. I was looking for the origin of the phrase you can look it up. No joy. What I found was that there's an out-of-print book called You Could Look It Up: The Life of Casey Stengel (my emphasis).  

Mr. Stengel was apparently well-known for frequently saying you could look it up to sports writers, hence the title of the book, but if I were the King Solomon of quote attributions I'd go with James Thurber. I'll spare you and my gentlereaders the details. I find them interesting but... 

{Yeah, fascinating, although I don't know or care who Casey Stengel is. I've heard of Yogi Berra but I wouldn't know who this James Thurber dude is if I ran over him with my car.}

Not to worry, Thurber, Stengel, and Yogi Berra for that matter are no longer with us but that's not the point. My point is that even though most of us can easily and instantly "look it up" nowadays, most of us don't. 

And if we do, we often discover that the answer we seek is elusive and we give up for the same reasons we don't "look it up" in the first place: who's got the time, motivation, or attention span to follow a given rabbit hole to the end?


{Sorry, dude, I've gotta check this notification.} 

While we carry around a virtual Library of Alexandria in our pockets neither Siri or Googella are very good librarians, often offering up multiple, conflicting answers when we ask a question.

{What a coinkydink, somebody's selling a collection of Yogi Berra baseball cards on eBay. Who's Googella?}

That's the name of the woman that responds when one says, "Hey, Google."

On the trail of an idea I had for a column I next googled the question, "Do people still say you can look it up?" 

{Why didn't you just ask Googella? You've got an Android phone, right?}  

Because I'm one of those Geezers who prefers using my computer to using my phone for such things and disembodied creatures such Googella, Siri, Alexa, or whoever are not welcome at Casa de Chaos. Remember, a vampire can't enter one's home without an invitation.  

I mostly use my phone as a phone. When I leave my cave, although I do bring my phone with me in case I need directions or have a massive heart attack or the like, it's often not even turned on. And even if it is, it's only permitted to notify me of incoming texts, and that's only because I set it to make this really cool BOING sound that I never tire of hearing.  

I prefer interacting in the real world without an electronic buffer betwixt me and it, and often as not, I don't even feel compelled to take pictures or record a video. 

{Huh. Well, do people still say you can look it up?}

I don't know. 

The first hit returned was the title of an article from titled You Can Look It Up. Summary: When reading you should look up every unknown word because your best guess might be completely wrong. 

{Words to live by... or read by anyways.}

Followed by: People also search for... (dead end).

Followed by: People also ask... (dead end). 

Followed by a hilarious and accurate definition of, "look it up" as supplied by the Urban Dictionary. 

Followed by: "8 Words That Totally Reveal You Are Not a Millennial," a 7-year-old article from Inc. magazine. I gave up. 

However, I did follow a fork in the road rabbit hole and discovered that the original Luddites weren't Luddites, there was no such person as "Ned Ludd," and that we're all using the word incorrectly.  

I found an excellent article published by Smithsonian Magazine in 2011 written by Richard Conniff titled What the Luddites Really Fought Against. Long story short, "...the original Luddites were neither opposed to technology nor inept at using it. Many were highly skilled machine operators in the textile industry."

England's "seemingly endless war against Napoleon’s France" caused food shortages and rising prices and "...on March 11, 1811, in Nottingham...British troops broke up a crowd of protesters demanding more work and better wages. That night, angry workers smashed textile machinery in a nearby village." This resulted in a violent, bloody labor dispute that lasted till 1816. 

You can look it up.

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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