Get (a life/out more/laid/real/outta town)

Damien Broderick (
Sat, 25 Oct 1997 12:31:07 +0000

[I'm being blocked by some Machine Mind from getting my posts on the net
right now, so this will presumably arrive a little late on the list]

At 09:36 AM 10/23/97 -0600, Kennita wrote of the small flurry over:

>>> >You need to get out more.

>>> Curious. I've always regarded that as the mating cry of the braindead.

>>That phrase [...] is used by those who regard social
>> interaction more highly than private intellectual pursuits

>I beg to differ [...] When I say it, I mean
>that the person I'm saying it to has lost sight of the importance of balance
>in life. [...] I may mean just to go take a walk on the beach; breathe
>some fresh air; get some exercise; look at some flowers or rainbows or art or
>architecture; or (gasp) touch somebody

Hey, let's not forget the original context, people!

My jab at Wax was in a precisely framed context, namely his use of the
phrase as a stick to beat Mitchell Porter for his imaginative posting,
something that had obviously taken Mitch some minutes to think through and
write when he *could have been out* (Wax implied) doing something more
valuable, or more fun, or less geeky.

This is the same Mitch, as list regulars will know, who has just returned
halfway around the world after several weeks of travel up and down the USA,
meeting more interesting people in more diverse places than many people on
this list will encounter in the next year. *Get out more?* Wrong target
for (what I read, in context, as) a tiresome jeer. So when I wrote `I've
always regarded that as...' I meant to imply `in this rhetorical context'.

Kennita's generic hint that some of us would be well advised to touch each
other more often and smell the roses (mine have just come into bloom, big
and yellow) instead of cowering in front of computer monitors (I've just
got home from a long sunny walk by the creek) is not necessarily insulting.
It could even be a salutory reminder that there's a complex world beyond
the screen. But it does skid past the mistaken and rather silly context of
the initial remark.

(Do I personally - for what such reflections are worth - *get out more*?
Do I myself have a life? A rather more stifled life than I'd wish,
certainly, more constricted than I'd like it to be. I live alone these
days, but I'm not persuaded that reading a lot and writing books and
talking with you cyberspace folks, sharing my conjectures and reading and
puns, is an *alternative* to reality. It's part of reality, perhaps a
redemptive and expansive part. I don't find many compatible people out
there in the street, or even in the university when I occasionally pedal
over to the campus. But doesn't the literal narrowness of the e-channel,
its asynchronous theatricality, factor into the appeal of living part of my
life on-line? Of course. Does this mean my original reaction to Wax's
cliched jibe was transparently self-defensive? Gosh, I *never thought of
that*. [Get a life, Sigmund.])

Damien Broderick