Friday, April 04, 2008

In which the Meridian attempts to start the Amazon-Wish List Meme

"Confronting the deepest questions about our inner selves, with all our emotions, memories, beliefs, and decisions, [in this book] Susan Blackmore makes a case for the theory that the inner self is merely an illusion created by the memes for the sake of replication." Ponder that idea the next time you add something to the ol' Amazon Wish List, why dontcha?

Image originally found here.

Some context first:

Via my bloggy friend Belle Lettre comes, from the blog Content Analysis, this anecdotal analysis of some sociologists' Amazon Wish Lists:

From the first Wish Lists or two, I thought I might stumble onto some fascinating insight into the intellectual interests of prominent sociologists. I imagined, for example, that I’d discover that sociologists all had a hidden love for the films of Krzysztof Kieslowski or dove into a bit of Sylvia Plath at the end of a long day of multiple imputation.

Alas, the truth was so much more mundane, human, and sobering. By far, the most common category of books were self-help books of all types. Like anybody else, sociologists had listed books about repairing broken marriages, recovering from cancer, fixing bad finances, overcoming social anxiety, and becoming better at their jobs. Coming to the realization, I immediately felt like a peeping tom, peering wide-eyed into the bedroom windows of my colleagues. So I stopped. Before I did though, I was able to make one more (far less gut-wrenching) observation: sociologists really want expensive books about food.

(Personal observation here: perhaps the preponderance of self-help titles simply reflected not personal needs but research interests--wouldn't sociologists be intrigued by the social force(s) that drive that particular niche of the publishing industry and wonder about the advice such books offer?)

In her own post, Belle assesses her own list, feeling a little uneasy with what she finds, for reasons professional, personal and chronological--it apparently needs updating, according to her. But here is the crucial thing for Belle: "The problem is what publicly available wish lists say about you."

A meme is born.

Here it is--

If you have an Amazon Wish List and are so inclined, post the link. Invite readers to have a look at it, then in comments note what, if anything, they found surprising/intriguing/distressing/meriting of an encounter session/etc.

The widget for mine is over in the right gutter. Have at it.


Doc said...

Love the idea for the meme: the comment conversations should be rather eclectic and just plain weird - always a good mix.

Gonna have to pass however - anything that catches my eye; my favorite authors latest tome; a new biography, "soon to be published" novels, this that and the other, all of it goes immediately into the on-line request queue of my local library. the older i get the more disappointed with the quality of books, so much so that i'm not willing to part with cold hard cash until i've read them at least once to assure myself that a) they're worth their price, and b) i'll re-read them once a year...

do not want to rain on your parade, however, so i screenshot the books i currently have checked out from my local library here for your consideration.

my personal feeling is you will be able to ascribe NO attributes to me becasue the list is SOOO varied...

; ' )

but have fun.

R. Sherman said...

Do you mean the Wish List with the eclectic stuff, which makes me look sophisticated and smart or the secret wish list with 'B' movies filled with gratuitous bar fights and nudity?

Your answer will determine how I proceed here, thank you.


Gwynne said...

John, my first observation is that you appear to have an intense passion for people and relationships. As opposed to what Susan observed, your list is anything but mundane!

But...A Hillbilly Tribute to AC/DC?!


[which of these is not like the others?]

Gwynne said...

Re: the "passion for people and relationships" I meant in an anthropological sense, not the sense. ;-)

John B. said...

Thanks to Gwynne first of all for the clarification . . . and the kind words.

And Randall, the list you wish to share with the blogosphere is between you and your conscience. Which version of yourself (if that's what a Wish List is in some sense) do you wish to reveal, following Susan Blackamore above, as mere illusion?