Look Up

At some point a couple weeks ago random images started appearing at the top of this blog. I don’t know if WordPress changed the banner default for the theme I’m using, or if I accidentally turned it on, though I suspect the latter.  Regardless, when the images first showed up I went digging into the dashboard looking for how to shut them off, but then I thought better of it. I’ve since grown fond of them. For someone with absolutely no visual design sense, having a machine pick pictures for you is a tremendous convenience. Plus, I love the generic prettiness of these particular ones–the sunsets and forest paths that, even if you’ve never seen them before, look familiar from a thousand greeting cards. It’s like having Jack Handy do your blog header. But they feel right on a thematic level too. This is a linguistics blog, and one of that field’s deep lessons is that communication is a fundamentally communal activity. Even in your most intimate moments, speaking your most personal thoughts, you’re using someone else’s words–words that only become available as they bubble up from a vast, fluid, unplanned consensus on the difference between speech and gibberish. Letting parts of a monologue be set randomly from the outside is a form of honesty. Change is not a vampire that waits to be invited in. It flows into your deepest corners and makes your limbs move.

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