Devised Theater: A Venn Diagram

Devised Theater: A Venn Diagram
This diagram was created by the co-producing artistic directors of Rude Mechs to depict the complexity of creating and crediting collaboratively devised work for theatrical performance.

Monday, March 16, 2015

This I Believe essay #8

Post before class on Tuesday, March 17. If, by chance, you feel you are running out of things to believe in, spend some time reading the essays everyone has been posting. There are some great ideas in our collection already.


  1. I believe in hate. Growing up I would always get reprimanded for even considering that I hated someone. It was not an option in my family; we always had to be the better people, the ones who let the other ignorant and mean humans in the world off the hook. We always just had to take it, and know that hate was only a waste of our own energy. When I was in second grade, I remember hating a lot of people. Second grade was a pretty depressing year for my eight year old self. I had a teacher tell my parents she was worried I would turn into a lesbian because I had too many boys who were friends, a little girl actually called me a lesbian, and I broke my elbow. I did not understand these things at that age, I just knew that the other people were wrong and that the playground was stupid because I fell off of it. I felt like expressing these negative feelings to other people would get me in trouble. Like it was wrong for me to be pissed that an adult was calling me, an eight year old who clearly had a crush on the boys I so closely hung out with, actually was going to like girls one day and thought she could “save” me from it by telling my parents. I thought it would have been wrong for me to call that little girl a bitch who called me a lesbian, when really she was a bitch and still is 12 years later. I understand where my parents are coming from when they say that hate is a waste of time, because those shitty people in the end don’t even deserve that attention and are still going to be shitty people in the end. But really for me, suppressing these angry feelings just pisses me off more than just talking and venting about how much I hate people. I deserve to express my hate just as much as those people get to express their stupidity.

    1. I think that it's impossible not to hate if you love anything at all. Because there will always be people that hate what you love, and that's infuriating. We talked about how it was nothing short of debilitating that the world will always be full of horrible people, and I wonder if willpower really is a physical response that differs for each person...because I can't imagine ever keeping myself from feeling so strongly about people who hurt others so deeply. I could never have that much control.

  2. I believe in believing tentatively firmly.

    This phrase - which means that you believe your beliefs firmly at the time you believe them but are very willing to have your beliefs changed (TM Gary Deaton) - began a product of the learnings I'd gained from professors Gary Deaton and Kenny Moorman, both of whom were present from the very beginning of my college journey. Transy has a lot of great professors, and Gary is one of them, but Dr. Moorman's class in particular was where I first learned about a great many things essential to the growth of my current thinking...
    In this first-year seminar class, Stuff of Thought, we discussed the reciprocal relationship between thought and language. And like I said, mostly everything we talked about in there had a huge affect on me, but one particular reading, an article on taboo and close-mindedness by Paul Graham, struck me particularly hard. It's one of the only times I've actually felt my brain and my beliefs changing right as I read the words on the screen, and explores the idea that "in every period, people believed things that were just ridiculous, and believed them so strongly that you would have gotten in terrible trouble for saying otherwise." It discusses the importance of frequently stretching your mind to places you find "outrageous" in order to deal more reasonably with reality, points out how when you say you're open-minded but draw the line at things which are truly bad, you're not being open-minded at all, and how many of us, though we'd like to say we think independently of society and make our own decisions, probably aren't doing that very much at all. It discusses heresy, and the punishment of, and questions the usage of -ist and -ic words throughout history. At its core, it talks about the idea that people react very violently when others don't believe what they, the majority, believe, and why that might be.

    "Of course, we're not just looking for things we can't say. We're looking for things we can't say that are true, or at least have enough chance of being true that the question should remain open. But many of the things people get in trouble for saying probably do make it over this second, lower threshold. No one gets in trouble for saying that 2 + 2 is 5, or that people in Pittsburgh are ten feet tall. Such obviously false statements might be treated as jokes, or at worst as evidence of insanity, but they are not likely to make anyone mad. The statements that make people mad are the ones they worry might be believed. I suspect the statements that make people maddest are those they worry might be true."

    I myself use tons of labels for things I find unjust and disgusting all the time, and if there's one thing I learned from this article, it's that you need to be overly-critical and suspicious with yourself, especially if you have those types of feelings. This is not to say that these labels are never true - because certainly I can call some things racist or sexist and it will most definitely be true. But the important thing is to always be skeptical and thoughtful regarding yourself, and regarding others. "It's not just the mob you need to learn to watch from a distance. You need to be able to watch your own thoughts from a distance. That's not a radical idea, by the way; it's the main difference between children and adults. When a child gets angry because he's tired, he doesn't know what's happening. An adult can distance himself enough from the situation to say "never mind, I'm just tired." I don't see why one couldn't, by a similar process, learn to recognize and discount the effects of moral fashions."

    so plz read ok

    1. Being suspicious of oneself--such an important skill to have, such a difficult thing to learn to practice (or so I feel)

  3. I believe in barricading yourself in your former bedroom.

    My little sister and I didn’t use to be close. She always saw me as controlling, boring, and condescending (she was right). I always saw her as bratty, immature, and in want of too much attention (I was right as well). We couldn’t get close to each other because I never liked children and she never liked children who pretended to be adults. She hated that we shared a bedroom, and our constant bickering led us to avoid the room whenever the other was there.

    Sometime while I was in high school and she was in middle school, we both started to grow up some. I tried not to be as bossy and she lost her brattiness. We started hanging out together in our room, sharing stories and thoughts instead of criticizing each other. I realized how intelligent my sister was and much more mature than I had ever given her credit for.

    When I went to college and completely moved out of the bedroom we had shared for thirteen years, we got even closer. When I called home, I would call to speak with her. She began writing me letters asking for advice from me before asking anyone else in the family. I returned the trust by confiding in her more than anyone else from home.

    When I go back to Tennessee, I’m always afraid that my sister and I will fall back into our old habits. But instead of fighting about sharing a room, we end up hardly leaving the room. We hang out like I had always imagined us when we were younger but too headstrong to admit that the other might be worth getting to know.

  4. I believe in Pat, but not because today is St. Patrick’s Day.

    If you like my striped over-the-knee wool socks, I should tell you that Pat is why I wear them. Years ago, when my daughter was a three-year-old determined to mix unmatchable colors, we went to Third Street Stuff for a treat. My daughter sported striped tights in what she called “rainbow color.” It must have been early in the day because Pat walked by, carrying a tray of dirty dishes to the back. As Pat does, she stopped to chat and to compliment my daughter on her fashion. I remember saying, “I wish I could wear tights like hers,” convinced about the inverse correlation between my age and rainbow-color tights. It took Pat a single gesture to undo my conviction: she pointed at her own mismatched garments, laughing away my concern about age-appropriate attire. I purchased my first over-the-knee socks at Third Street Stuff two weeks later.

    Five years later, I’ve come to depend on Pat for much more than fashion. I know when she sees me, she’ll give me a hug and ask what I’m working on. When she decides I am not keeping busy, she sends me text messages with images of street art and multiple heart explosions. It’s her way of saying, “You could be working harder instead of drinking coffee over there at your computer! Wake up!!!”

    Speaking of coffee, Pat’s coffee is the best. When I travel, I look for a cup of latte that might approximate the Third Street Coffee blend of espresso and steamed milk. I rarely find anything as flavorful. And I have looked. I have ordered cups of latte around the country—in New Orleans cafés with European flavor, in Portland’s dime-a-dozen coffee houses, in Seattle’s caffeine-soaked downtown, in Brooklyn’s hip roaster companies. I miss the espresso of Third Street Coffee everywhere I go. When I ask Pat what makes her coffee special, she tells me it’s the mix of beans, the temperature of the coffee maker, and a million other things I can’t remember. I always wonder how much her own personality infuses those flavorful cups of coffee.

    Pat is also the person you want to celebrate major holidays with. She’ll either give you a gift or accept one from you with the enthusiasm of a three-year-old encountering Santa. Who doesn’t like feeling like they’ve just brought Santa home? Although Pat’s hair is bright blue today, it’s St. Patrick’s Day. I know Pat is celebrating, a leprechaun hiding in her vest pocket.

    1. I love the thought of a personality infusing into a cup of coffee. I wonder how far this extends and applies to other parts of life. What makes an experience, the quality of the objects/products or the minute details of personality, environment, creativity, and comfort?

    2. There is some evidence that suggests that environments can change the tasting notes of a drink (for this study, it was whiskey:

      Just shows that for any beverage, fermented or not, it is who you are sharing with that matters .

    3. Wow, thank you for sharing, Devin. I like that there is evidence for what we can intuit. Claire, thanks for asking great questions.

  5. I have no idea if everything happens for a reason or for the best or to teach us lessons. Many times in my life people have tried to console me with these things, but they have never truly quieted the suffering that invoked them to be spoken. I still do not know who God is to me though I am trying to figure that out. I do know that no book or spiritual guide has been able to stop me from thinking that bad things might happen just because they do.
    It is common knowledge in psychology that depressed people have a more accurate self view than people who are neurotypical. People who are healthy tend to see themselves as more infallible, intelligent and special than they actually are. This fact has always deeply unsettled me and the way I view human nature. It all hinges on perspective. We as conscious beings only flirt with reality, but never truly can experience it. This being said, if the saddest among us are those who are seeing the world the most accurately, then reality is terrifying and sometimes I do not want to be a part of it.
    This is why I doubt that everything happens for a reason or to help us grow; realizing that suffering just happens and that we just hurt because somewhere along the way it was evolutionarily advantageous for us to feel emotions would cause anyone to feel hopeless and hurt.
    I wish that I could see everything as happening for the best or at least not be so effected by all the bad things, but that has not happened yet. I hope that you believe that pain is here to help us grow, but I don’t know if I can.

    1. I love the line "It all hinges on perspective." My perspective lies in that idea. Any situation, person or object is seen and understood in so many different contexts and mindsets. Something troublesome and something else uplifting can interchange depending on the eyes, mind and context.

    2. Sadly, I comment not to say "everything's totally for the best," but instead that I feel "the world really is that bad." I find myself each day not wanting to get out of bed because I don't want to get up and have to exist as part of the same humankind who hurt, hate, torture, and kill each other every day for idiotic and self-centered reasons. I never want to be part of such a disgusting reality where we just have to try and live our lives the best we can through corrupt systems with little encouragement to help others, where even the idea that so many people are oppressed by those in power has to exist to BE dealt with...but unfortunately there's only one way to get out of this world and I don't really feel ready to explore that yet. I haven't yet found my answer to "why are humans so violent and awful?" and I don't understand how any person aware of any of these things couldn't be depressed all their lives. I'm going to be.

  6. I went to spring break with the tennis team in Gulf Shores. When people thing of spring break the a-typical movie scene pops into their head where people are suppose to drinking and going wild or else they are not actually participating in the break. To me, this spring break was for catching up on assignments, studying for future ones and taking time to be as lazy as possible. I was lazy and I did catch up on assignments. I did not want to go to the parties at night with my team, instead I wanted to take a bath, watch modern family, and eat leftover, plain, whole-wheat pasta. I also, for some reason or another, got very anxious over spring break. I was worried about a handful of things and tried everything possible to calm down: running on the beach, sleeping in, sitting in the sauna, and taking long baths. You would think that would have helped, right?
    I had just gotten back when my best friend from highschool texted me asking to go on a long drive. At first I complained, not wanting to be around more people. I went anyways and soon figured out the free, unintended therapy session taking place. I had someone next to me who knew me: my past, my worries, my unconscious actions, and my expectations. I wasn’t around my tennis team, whom I love but struggle to be authentic with, but I was with a real, attached-by-heart, friend. She asked me about my trip, my worries, and what was keeping me up at night. She sympathized and could relate to my internal worries. She listened, I mean really listened to my emotional discourse. It is difficult to put into words what a good, raw conversation can to the soul, but I believe in times, and people, that allow me to take off facades and reveal the thoughts that lie behind my eye, remaining unseen.

    1. It is amazing that you are still this close to high-school friends. Or maybe it is only amazing to me, having left my high schools many thousands of miles behind.

      It is great that you have such good friends.

  7. I believe in the philosophy depicted in the motion picture Yes Man, starring Jim Carrey. If you did not choose to watch this hilarious and relatable film, then I encourage to do so with a hefty bag of popcorn because you are in for the long haul. The main idea that drove Yes Man into my heart is simply saying yes instead of no. In the movie Jim Carrey’s character believes that a curse has been put on him for life to go wrong if he says no and for life to repair itself by saying yes to opportunities. This movie ends with hilarity, tears, and overall misunderstanding, but most importantly it leaves us with a comedic commentary on real life. How many times did you say “No” today? How many times did you say “I’m too busy” this week? How many ideas have you shut down over the years for no particular reason?

    I used to be rather negative and I still sometimes give off a negative vibe unfortunately. However, I have been working on saying yes over no. I don’t really have one story or anecdote that goes with this. I think learning to say yes to opportunities is just a part of growing up because saying no is so much easier and safer. I challenge each of you that reads this short essay to say yes to something that you would normally say no. Be it a late night food run, or playing games with friends, or just saying yes to studying. You can and will notice a difference when yes becomes the dominate one.

  8. This I believe…a smile is more powerful than words

    Today, while avoiding some fairly important homework, I decided to procrastinate with a little internet search roulette. Right off the bat I stumbled upon an article about the health benefits of smiling. I assumed since the article came from a fairly reputable multi-award winning source, the facts listed must be fairly accurate if not at least reasonable to assume. The listed benefits ranged pretty widely. But the thesis was pretty clear that smiles are nature’s little “spoon full of sugar” to help the medicine go down.
    This article isn't the first of its kind. We all know that smiling apparently has a positive effect on not only your mood but productivity, trust between groups and individuals, the immune system, promoting general health, and even good looks. It seems that “people who smile more often live longer too, around 7 years longer” and each smile lifts the human face to enough to make a smiling person on average look roughly three years younger than their age.
    Basically it is hard to say anything wrong with a little smiling. If it is good for you and good for everyone else too, than why don’t folks smile more? This is a real question!
    I am sure most of you know I smile a lot, freakishly so. I smile at friends. I smile at strangers. I smile at dogs barking and walls I almost run into. I mostly just have a smiling and giggling problem. I am sure it makes me look significantly crazier than I actually am. But you know when I am not smiling, it is for a reason. It is usually is related to stress or a moment that calls for solitude. The irony is that these are the very moments that need a smile most, a little levity, if you will, to make life less hard. Not to sound too cliché but smiling is actually the best therapy or remedy for moments like this.
    For example, if a friend or family member looks overwhelmed or particularly upset about something that in the greater scheme can be overcome, the best thing to do is look them in the eyes and say “smile!” When I am at my most stressed, this actually really pisses me off. But, it always helps, even when my friend Kate goes over the top and sings a little rhyme about being a guppy in the sea to make me smile.
    The point is there is no reason not to smile all the time. If you meet someone new, the first thing they should see is your stunning smile. If I meet you and you don’t smile, I literally don’t get you. A smile is an open sign of warmth and openness to new people and lowers you blood pressure so your heart isn't racing when you shake a new hand. Not to mention a smile could make the difference between if a person has a bad day or just an okay day; it is that simple.
    To be honest I feel I shouldn't have to harp about this as much as I do. Maybe is it was how I was raised but smiling often should be given! It makes your life seem happier even if it definitely isn't. Everyone should be smiling as much as possible but some people just don’t! So for this week I will keep from ranting much longer and just leave the class with this, my belief:
    I get that sometimes it can be hard to smile, may it be a physical or mental burden that holds you back. But think about all the health and social benefits that come with smiling and all the good you can do with one smile. Realize that a smile can transcend cultures and emotions, that a smile is more powerful than words or manufactured medicine. Basically next time you see me smile, think about that. And for heaven’s sake, never, ever, ask me why I smile all the time!

    Article referenced: “15 of the Best and Free Health Benefits of Smiling” by Charlie Pulsipher; published on

    1. Like you, I feel uncomfortable if I meet someone and they don't smile, as that small act seems to me the least anyone could do to offer the idea of warmth and openness. It's a little unfortunate that we rely so much on each other's reactions to increase our mood, because of course not getting a smile can feel terrible in certain situations. But it's always good when these things work out.

  9. I believe in Time Travel

    Kentucky is often known for Horses,Bourbon, and caves but it is often overlooked for one thing that I personally think is remarkable: time travel. No, this is not the works of Wells but I am talking about real deal travel on the clock. In fairness, this machine can only take one an hour forward or backward But still, a 60 minute difference is nothing to be trifled with! Now, from where I'm from, I live smack dab on this damn time machine! I'll go up the road and WHAM! 3PM turns to 4PM, go reverse, and we are back in 3PM! Now, this machine is nothing fancy, there are no flux capacitors or whirrly gadgets but a simple green sign that states "ENTERING CENTRAL TIME ZONE" or "ENTERING EASTERN TIME ZONE", depending on your perspective.

    Living in an area where time is distorted, people have to adapt. Phones need to be freed from indecisive satellite time, time is labeled 'fast time' or 'slow time', and clocks need to be set at different intervals in different rooms just because of location! Temporarily living in Lexington, it feels weird being stuck on fast time all the time, especially when I go back to slow time. What's worse is when daylight saving time kicks where slow time turns into fast time and fast time turns into SUPER fast time. Being back on campus after an eternal winter, I do not know how to feel; the clock says 3 but my biological clock says 2. Even though it is somewhat arbitrary, I believe in the Time Machine of Kentucky.

    1. Love it--fast time and slow time and none of it is even made up!

      And how crazy to live where you live, where time is always changing.

  10. A Brief History of My Father’s Hobbies:

    Bird Watching, or Hanna doesn’t know it’s not normal to pack binoculars and a Sibley bird book along for Spring Break her senior year of college (1963 - present)

    Tennis – studies Djokovic’s backhand, plays the best game of his life last weekend at the age of 53 (1975 – present)

    Fantasy Baseball – Todd befriends high powered KY attorneys in law school, helps form what might be the longest continuously running fantasy baseball league, and consistently looses the championship to Ben Chandler (1986 – present)

    Marathoning, when Todd trained for and medalled in the NYC Marathon and none of his children knew how proud they should have been and complained about the souvenirs he brought back from Chinatown (1996 - 2002)

    Frisbee – a love of hippy sport that gets Todd through college at UC Boulder and shows his daughter’s male friends who’s boss (1980 – 2011)

    Chickens, or when I told my friends that when most of our dads were getting new cars, mine got poultry (2006 - present)

    MLS aka Todd builds his arsenal of Arsenal apparel (2008 - 2014)

    Julia Child – her food, movie, and fictionalized husband, Stanley Tucci aka Todd makes boeuf bourguignon three times in one month (2009 - 2010)

    Fantasy Football Podcasts, but also Serial (2013 – present)

    DIY Long Term Kitchen Feats – if it takes more than 6 months to eat/drink, you’re getting it from Todd for (Christmas 2014)

    My father is a talented man. His many interests and skills, manifesting at different points over the years, have been a source of friendly anecdotes, useful lessons, and truly wonderful food. I’m happy to have a mostly normal and charming family, to have an accessible and engaging father figure who made it possible to have a rebellious phase characterized almost entirely by a messy room and late night phone calls. I like that my interests are as numerous and outwardly boring as my dad’s, that we both believe in knowing about things and how to be better at them.

    1. This is wonderfully hilarious and endearing and full of revelations!

  11. I believe in the Spring.

    I am no enemy of winter. In fact, there are times when I quite enjoy it. I find my city looks beautiful dressed in white drifts. I swim in the bottomless silence of a heavy snowfall. Winter makes simple pleasures like a hot cup of coffee feel like splendid treasures. The cold air recalls a time when the elements were a test to be passed every year. The winter makes you patient, makes you slow down and do less. But winter is infectious. The constant darkness slowly moves from sacred to somber. Winter has the terrible ability to wrap itself around the soul, leaving it cold and shivering.

    So I believe in the Spring. The Sun and blue sky return like family members not seen for years. They tell the same stories they have always told. They linger longer into the day, but their company is always welcome. Birds sing with no need for rhyme, key, or scales. The wind smells sweet and tastes even sweeter. The grass feels like silk and longs for bare feet and picnic blankets. Springtime rainfall has a steady rhythm that sets a calm tempo for the heart and the mind to follow. Leaves return as they do every year, joyfully ignorant of the fall on the horizon. For now, they are content to provide shade that I gladly enjoy.

    1. I believe that I need the spring. Though I enjoy parts of winter, I find that weather affects my mood more than any other external factor. Winter is calm and quiet, but every year it always outstays its welcome by a week or two. I tend to get really negative about everything towards the end of the winter. My motivation for just about everything gets low, and I get more and more content sitting around doing nothing. This year was no different. Spring, therefore, has the opposite effect. Just as the trees bud and bloom, I find a similar reawakening happening within me. I walk a little lighter. Though Spring has only been here for a couple of days now, I can feel it happening again. And that’s exciting.

  12. I believe that people complain too much about technology, that we are too reliant on it. Everyone complains about technology in some way, shape, or form, whether it is, as I am, about how we are too reliant, or some aspect that makes it less effective than we desire it to be.
    "The battery doesn't last long enough"
    "Why won't this button work"
    "People are too dependent on technology"
    "Why doesn't this work faster?"
    Technological progression is something that we complain about, but also something we want. Technology is what could eventually cure cancer, world hunger, any other diseases or problems. Technology has been developed to solve problems that we as humans face. Cell phones were invented because there was a perceived communication problem, facebook was created to help people meet one another, if you name any technology that someone complains about, it was created to solve a problem. We need to stop complaining about technology not working how we want it too, because it changes as we decide what we want. New technology is always being made, and we need to be aware of the ways it affects us as people, and the ways it affects our relationships and lives.

    Personally, my cell phone battery doesn't last long enough. My phone is older, so it dies relatively quickly. This can be a problem, if I am trying to drive somewhere in the winter, or if I am talking to someone and it dies, but it also means that I won't use it as much. We develop technology because of necessity, but I also began to lessen my reliance on it, because of necessity. I do think that people are too reliant on technology, but that includes myself. I pay bills online, always have my computer open, freak out if my wifi stops working momentarily. It is something that is so ingrained in all of our lives, that I do think we need it, in many ways. One thing that I do not need, is my phone sitting next to me every minute of every day. When I am at work, I see other servers hiding their phones behind computers, checking them every time they put an order into the computer. I see guest sitting at tables not talking to each other, instead checking facebook, or texting. Children being handed technology instead of the crayons right in front of them, because the parents don't want to play tic tac toe, they want to be on their own devices. This is a problem, and this is why I turn my phone off at work. It started with the battery always dying, but now it is nice to not feel the need to check it every two minutes. I can watch whats around me, and pay attention to other things. I talk to more people, face to face, when I turn off my phone. It starts with urning it off for an hour or two at work, then you suddelny don't miss is between classes, or when it is dead at dinner, you actually talk to someone, instead of just sitting at the table staring blankly at a screen, scrolling past other's lives. I believe in turning my phone off, and taking in what is around me. I know I rely on it, but I believe everyone needs a break from technology.

  13. I believe in snail mail. I am not using a retronym born in response to the internet; rather I am stating a general belief in using animals as messengers: snails in particular.

    Dolphins protect submarine bases—in Bangor, Maine and Kings Bay, Georgia—from curious snorkelers. Nuclear weapon stockpiles are guarded against suspicious swimmers by Bottlenoses armed with buoyant beacons of light.

    Pigeons were trained in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, at the U.S. Army Pigeon Breeding and Training Center, from 1917 until 1957. Over 200,000 pigeons were employed for surveillance during World War I and World War II. An undetectable method of communication, they carried messages to the front in small capsules tied to their legs. With an average speed of one mile a minute and the ability to fly hundreds of miles in a single day, pigeons became decorated war heroes for ferrying notes, maps, photographs, and cameras. Over 90% of all messages sent by Army-trained pigeons were received.

    The Pony Express began on a Tuesday: the third day of April, 1860. Closure was announced on a Saturday: the twenty-sixth day of October, 1861, two days after the Transcontinental Telegraph reached Salt Lake City. The Pony Express existed for 18 months and employed fewer than 500 horses. If Gene Autry, John Wayne, and Charlton Heston could swagger alongside saddled pigeons, we may have known nothing of the short-lived Pony Express.

    Snails send messages through sympathetic vibrations of flesh. I believe in snail mail because I am a Transylvanian, because Transylvania’s Dr. Robert Peter presented his treatise on the application of Galvanic Electricity to Medicine on December 2nd, 1836, and because Samuel Morse’s original patents expired in 1863. The states exploded with experimental forms of communication: designed to take advantage of the Morse system of dots and dashes. In these years, Transylvania students and faculty, all respected scientific minds, worked to harness mesmerism and the sympathetic vibrations between pairs of mated snails. They were perfecting a wireless, animal-powered telegraph using water chambers to carry low-level electrical impulses: vibrating snails passed messages across large rooms and through walls. Although beautifully conceived, this Mesmer-based telegraph became immediately obsolete with the installation of submarine telegraph cables in 1866. Wireless communication would have to wait another thirty-one years—for Guglielmo Marconi.

    The rich field of Mesmerism—explored at Transylvania by Dr. Robert Peter and used in the Soviet Union to reanimate the decapitated heads of dead dogs—was destroyed by the antics of a French pudding-head huckster named Jacques Toussaint Benoit. His pasilalinic telegraph also used sympathetic vibrations of mated snail pairs but his approach required too much interpretation. Covered by the New York Times, Benoit’s experiments were the source of great hope for transcontinental messaging. This hope was quickly replaced by greater disdain when the telegraph proved to be an elaborate hoax. Unlike Dr. Robert Peter, Benoit crafted a lie on slim foundations of scientific research and evidence. Finally, no one believed him.

    I still believe in snail mail, mesmerism, and the sympathetic vibrations of mated pairs.

  14. Completely slipped my mind, will post one after class.