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Ghost Capture – there’s an app for that

March 4, 2010 Leave a comment

Daily Mail Online

Does this spooky image show ghost boy watching builders demolish his old school?

The ghostly image of a young boy was captured on camera as builders demolished an old school building.

The Sun

Builder snaps ‘ghost’ boy

A BUILDER demolishing an old school discovered this eerie image of a young boy in a mobile phone picture taken of the site.

Ghosts Don’t Exist

After 170 responses to the Daily Mail article, the site finally disabled additional comments when an apt viewer alerted them to the truth: that this was obviously the result of the Ghost Capture iPhone app.

Obviously, this kind of thing has been going on since, well… since always. From a HEAR perspective, this is just of interest to demonstrate how cheap software and easy to obtain technology help to enable the layperson to inject their fictions into the mediasphere.

four significant traits of the trickster

January 21, 2010 Leave a comment

from “Why So Serious?” by F. Daniel Harbecke

There are four significant traits of the trickster:
1. They are “go-betweens.” Tricksters are able to move with relative ease among contrasting regions or levels of being. They have the power to escape order, crossing the threshold into another version of it. Hermes was the only god able to enter the underworld regularly and without difficulty.
2. They embody inconsistency. Rather than enforcing one view of reality, tricksters support the paradox of multiple views. They follow the guiding principle of improvisational theater: you never deny another person’s reality, you only build upon it. Sun Wukong, the Chinese monkey god, could change each hair on his body into a double of himself.
3. They have “smart luck.” Tricksters are always prepared for the unprepared because they hold their ideas lightly. There really are no accidents in the liminal perspective, only opportunities for discovery and insight: you simply play through. When Loki bet his head in a wager – and lost – he agreed to let the winners take his head as long as they don’t harm his neck.
4. They have no home. The trickster is closely associated with the road or constant motion. Hermes is the god of roads and escort of travelers. The Nigerian trickster god Edshu walked down the road in a hat colored blue on one side, red on the other. Half the farmers would say, “Did you see that god with the blue hat?” while the others argued it was red. Edshu would further complicate matters by walking the other way with his hat on backwards!

Categories: trickster

Signifyin’

January 19, 2010 Leave a comment

from Wikipedia “The trickster’s literary role”

Modern African American literary criticism has turned the trickster figure into one example of how it is possible to overcome a system of oppression from within. For years, African American literature was discounted by the greater community of American literary criticism while its authors were still obligated to use the language and the rhetoric of the very system that relegated African Americans and other minorities to the ostracized position of the cultural “other.” The central question became one of how to overcome this system when the only words available were created and defined by the oppressors. As Audre Lorde explained, the problem was that “the master’s tools [would] never dismantle the master’s house.”

In his writings of the late 1980s, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. presents the concept of Signifyin(g). Wound up in this theory is the idea that the “master’s house” can be “dismantled” using his “tools” if the tools are used in a new or unconventional way. To demonstrate this process, Gates cites the interactions found in African American narrative poetry between the trickster, the Signifying Monkey, and his oppressor, the Lion. {…} the Monkey is able to outwit the Lion continually in these narratives through his usage of figurative language. According to Gates, “[T]he Signifying Monkey is able to signify upon the Lion because the Lion does not understand the Monkey’s discourse…The monkey speaks figuratively, in a symbolic code; the lion interprets or reads literally and suffers the consequences of his folly…” In this way, the Monkey uses the same language as the Lion, but he uses it on a level that the Lion cannot comprehend.

{…} Brer Rabbit is the hero with a “fragile body but a deceptively strong mind” that allows him to “create [his] own symbols in defiance of the perverted logic of the oppressor.” By twisting language to create these symbols, Brer Rabbit not only was the “personification of the ethic of self-preservation” for the slave community, but also “an alternative response to their oppressor’s false doctrine of anthropology.”

from “Signifyin'”

Signifyin(g) (vernacular) is a practice in African American culture, involving a verbal strategy of indirection that exploits the gap between the denotative and figurative meanings of words.

Categories: metaphor, trickster

erik davis on the trickster god

January 11, 2010 Leave a comment

from Erik Davis (being interviewed by RU Sirius at Salon):

But in my view, technology is more like a trickster: It scrambles established codes, overturns truths and constantly hoodwinks us with unintended consequences. And that’s especially true of communication technology. Remember, Hermes, the Greek god of messages, is both a trickster and a magician.

Categories: trickster