Somewhere drunk people are writing memes

Easter was not how you pronounced Ishtar. Ishtar is pronounced–hang on–ish-tar. Dig that crazy voiceless postalveolar fricative. When you shhhhhhh someone you are shaming them with a voiceless postalveolar fricative. Easter is a word that comes from the ancient German, where it was pronounced something like e-oster, and it contains, instead of a voiceless postalveolar fricative a fricative is any sound, a voiceless alveolar sibilant followed immediately by a voiceless retroflex stop. That’s the st sound. Add a voiceless bilabial stop–the p sound–to that  voiceless alveolar sibilant and voiceless retroflex stop and you get psssssst, though not like getting drunk pssssst. That would be pssssht, a voiceless bilabial stop-voiceless postalveolar fricative-voiceless retroflex stop, and some someone would voiceless postalverolar fricative back even louder and everything would be all fricked up. Every time I see that ridiculous Ishtar-Easter meme, I wonder how the hell anyone could think an SH was pronounced like ST, unless they were drunk. Somewhere drunk people are writing memes, and the world is believing every voiceless postalveolar fricative of them. Australian indigenes had neither voiceless alveolar sibilant (or any sibilants at all) and no voiceless postalveolar fricative, and could not have said Ishtar or Easter, let alone psssst or shhhhhh. They would not have been reading those memes. But they could say ingoorrooloorrloorroona noorroo.

(Written maybe ten years ago….)


The Darwin Awards have nothing to do with Darwin or natural selection. It’s just people doing dumb stuff. And people doing dumb stuff has nothing to do with genes, which is all that natural selection is about. The people who really deserve Darwin Awards are adults who never had children, because they selected themselves right out of evolution. Genetically speaking, I lose, and lose as bad as it is possible to Darwinianly lose. I do get the cold evolutionary comfort of having a brother who spawned four sons, meaning that some our shared genes got passed on to another generation. But the fact that he spawned no daughters limits the long term genetic possibilities. So it goes.

Memetically I haven’t done too bad. Some of my memes might last a while past me. But civilizations fall eventually and take most of their collective memes with them, certainly the ones based on language. At some point languages themselves disappear and my beautiful prose would read like the stilted translations of cuneiform poetry, the life sucked out of them. In the unlikely event that anything I ever wrote had lingered on for generations, it will vanish into the ether when English vanishes into the ether, gone forever, my written thoughts dead as my genome, and the very last proof that I ever existed will fade into nothingness, as if I had never existed at all.