Monday, October 9, 2017

Immersive Latin.

Anyone who knows me knows I can be a bit of a linguistic boor. I mean by that that I examine words for their accurate meaning and I try to apply those words accordingly. I try not to say one thing when I mean another.

So, often during agency life today, I find myself throwing up with some regularity in my mouth. 

It's not unusual for the offending words or phrases to reveal themselves when people discuss digital work. The word that gets me more than any other is "experience." About twice or four-times a week I hear from someone about an online experience.

Then I look at the work they're showing and more often than not, it's a webpage, or banner ad, which they refer to as an "online experience." So now "scrolling," or "swiping," or viewing a video is inflated into an experience.

Lately, I've been hearing about "immersive experiences," and I picture myself being Baptized down by the river, or I picture Whiskey romping on weekends at the sea, gamely rollicking in the surf in search of her duck decoy.

This weekend was the 17th Annual "New Yorker Festival," and my wife and I attended five events from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon. Three of them were entertaining. Two of them were as serious as a tenement fire, almost academic.

The "fun" ones were Rob Reiner hosting a showing of his new movie, "LBJ." Al Franken promoting his new book, "Al Franken Giant of the Senate by Al Franken." And Andy Borowitz being Andy Borowitz.

My two favorites were the serious ones, "All the President's reporters, with Jane Meyer, Greg Miller, Jo Becker and Carl Bernstein." And the best, an interview with America's finest historian, Robert Caro, interviewed by Colm Toibin."

There were two older women sitting next to me at the Caro talk and before the event started they began reminiscing about taking Latin in high school. Before many minutes went by, one of them said, "Omnia Gallia est divisa in partes tres," Caesar's great observation that all Gaul is divided in three parts.

"Ah," I said to myself, "this must be what they mean by an "immersive experience." People so getting into having their brains challenged by a discussion between Caro (two Pulitzers, two National Book Awards) and Toibin, that they are speaking in tongues--ancient ones at that.

Caro and Toibin, you can tell, didn't disappoint. Their 90-minute talk was carried off without a single, "um," "you know" or "like." They talked about observations of lasting importance--down to the fundamental nature of power and politics.

I wish I knew enough Latin to sling a quote about that.

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