Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Drawing limits to experience

Complying with the bastardisation of a concept that I used to like, the meme. Given that it now seemingly includes everything connected to language I've become more sceptical. Meme means "idea gene" and was first coined by God's enemy, Dawkins; God is a meme that has mutated and is now a protected idea species, when once it was top dog discussed by all .

Yet as the "I would never" meme was sent to me by the fantastic Yellow Duck, to add some mutations to this meme the duck suggested giving some free publicity to this book. YD is a man of very good taste and Dave Hill's blog is very enjoyable, so if you're at a loss this Christmas and a member of my family why not get the book for me.

The proposed meme is to write a list of ten things "I would never do"

I would never physically hurt anyone intentionally.
I would never support an aggressive invasion.
I would never read the Da Vinci code.
I would never fail to respect the humanity of one of my future employees or interviewees (if I am ever an employer, which is probably unlikely).
I would never leave Ana, my wife.
I would never work for the police.
I would never smuggle drugs.
I would never plagiarise.
I would never put forward an opinion that I do not believe at the time.
I would never use any of the big fast food giants, McDonalds, Burger King, etc. (Although I did until I reached about 18 when I made this vow - if that doesn't count I'll need to think of another one).

Given I know few other bloggers, anyone who reads this who fancies doing the exercise please volunteer. Anticant wasn't nominated by Yellow Duck so I nominate him.


Dave Hill said...

Toby! It's you!

zola said...

Well Toby : You have joined the expert team to evaluate aspire-rants for the Awkward Squad. ( no extra badges).
But why no advertisements on yer site?

Toby Lewis said...

It is me. Cordial greetings, Dave. Keep up the good work.

Zola -
What type of adverts do you want? I have links to a few sites, including yours down below.

Do you get money if you put up adverts? How do I negotiate them?

anticant said...

Toby - I am not a volunteer fot this, but since you have nominated me I am reporting for duty.

Kill myself
Stop reading as long as I can see and am compos mentis
Leave my partner before the Grim Reaper calls
Cease to be grateful to my family and teachers
Shake Tony Blair's hand
Vote for Ken Livingstone after he embraced the unspeakable homophobic Sheikh Qaradawi
Drink Pernod or eat baked beans [ugh]
Take blogging seriously
Do another silly quiz like this one

Szwagier said...

Now isn't everyone just so pleased that I didn't nominate anyone to continue this.

"The muck stops here!"

YellowDuck said...

But, Szwagier, isn't this meme such fun?

Toby, what did you want to know about Nordrein-Westphalen?

Apart from the fact that is the stinking armpit of Germany.

billstickers said...

Yes, yes, but why do you want Dave Hill's blog for Christmas?

Toby Lewis said...

YD, I just needed to know something. Wikipedia told me it was a land of coal and steel, so I guessed it wouldn't be that attractive. My german teacher is from there though, so I had no intention of offending a place I have never visited.

Bill - greetings again. Thanks for picking me up for my sloppy pronoun use. Yet who wouldn't want Dave Hill's blog for Christmas?

Apologies to Anticant for his feeling obliged to do the stupid meme.

billstickers said...

"I would never physically hurt anyone intentionally.

I would never leave Ana, my wife."


1. Not even if that person was about to kill Ana and you had no other recourse?

2. Not even if Ana ...

I'd never write a "never" statement that relied on the good behaviour of a third party.

Toby Lewis said...

I find it doubtful either of the two scenarios you suggest will happen. If the former does happen though I'm sure no-one will hold me to my promise. As to the latter, I like to be trusting and optimistic for the future.

billstickers said...

So those two should should read:

1. I would never .... unless ....


2. I'm extremely optimistic that my wife won't .... or .... or .... and therefore, feel I can say with 99% certainty that I would never ....

That dealt with, I find your doubtfulness that either of those two scenarios (the second, of course, involves myriad scenarios)would ever take place rather charming.

May you enjoy 100% safety and security in your married life, until death do you part.

Toby Lewis said...

Thank you, Bill. I will try to. This list of 10 I would nevers, or others, might be put in to many dubious contexts but I doubt I will break the ten promises in my list.

YellowDuck said...

Kind of being the difference between will and would here. Would referring to a hypotheticial situation, will being more of a probable/likely thing.

As an introduction to English grammar I can always recommend Michael Swann' 'Practical English Usage'.

Although what is practical about that tome I have always been at a loss to understand.

Interesting to note that when this 'meme' got passed around a number of writers exchanged 'would' for 'will'.

Or at least. I thought that was interesting.

billstickers said...

At the age of 37, he realised his recent life driving ban in France would have serious repercussions.

Toby Lewis said...

I also have Swann kicking around, such is the TEFL life.

To be fair, YD, thinking of 10 things you would never do so that they trump all counterexamples is pretty tricky.

For example, would you really never be a banker if you had the choice between watching yourself and your family starve or putting on the pin-stripes?

It was the exercise itself that was absurd.

YellowDuck said...

Which is why 'would' is used to indicate the hypothetical nature of the exercise. And not 'will'.

Of course the exercise was absurd. I only did it because Dave Hill tagged me.

I tried this exercise in class way back when I was just starting out as a teacher. It did not work, 1) because the exercise is inane, 2) you can always think of a situation that would render your intention useless, 3) the mind of an east German engineer is not equipped to deal with such flights of fancy. Which I consider a virtue to some extent.

Otherwise: I perchance came across some 'blog communities' that also got the meme and ran with it. For them it just was a great way of getting to know one another better.

anticant said...

OK, here's another:

You are reliably informed that you are going to die twelve months hence, and that for the first eleven of them you will remain strong and healthy.

What are you going to do during that time that you have long wanted to, but have been repeatedly putting off because of all the hum-drum pressures of daily living?

Toby Lewis said...

Oh, this blogging meme stuff is catching. I might put my response when I have time on the main page so more people can see it.