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The Psychotronic Girl

The Psychotronic Girl


Notes on language, memory and perception
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The Launch of the Psychotronic Girl

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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“Electricité, électronique, cybernétique‥et ensuite?‥Proposons Psychotronique, utilisation de la pensée et de la volonté.” (Toute La Radio, N° 192 du 12 janvier 1955.)

Welcome to The Psychotronic Girl, a freshly-minted blog on the science and politics of language.

What does it all mean? In English, psychotronic is a word that has its origin in 1980′s B-film fandom and is a term of affection for those quirky campy counterculture offerings that somehow slip under the radar – the spaghetti westerns, survival horror and exploitation flicks of the lost years.  It’s an apt metaphor for what’s on offer here: a stew of the high-brow and the surreal.

Why the psychotronic girl? Mostly because it calls to mind Barbarella, Queen of the Galaxy. “Who can save the universe?” the billing screams. Evidently, Jane Fonda can. Evidently so can this blog.

What am I about? Autobiographical narratives invariably invite self-deception and self-flattery, so I offer instead a list of easily verifiable facts:

I measure in at the ninety-fifth percentile for height.  I register in the top tenth of a percent on tests of facial recognition.  At fairs, I always beat the carnies at balance games.  In races, I regularly beat the boys.  Only the Irish and the Russians can best me in my tolerance for stiff drink.  I have an inordinately high threshold for pain.  My look is chameleon and my features distinctly immemorable.

In short, the fact that the CIA has yet to recruit me can only be seen as a grave failing of national security.  Were I a spy, I would be world-class – grade-A -the real deal.

But alas. Here I am.

If you’re interested in my day job, you can befriend me on the poor man’s Facebook – academia.edu – in which I can be found advertising a chocolate fondue fountain and wishing for a more ecstatic truth.

Why did I start writing? To begin to chip away at the Chomskian hegemony over public discourse on language.

…What? Kidding. Though strangely, I’m not even the first person to use the term (and only apparent oxymoron) “Chomskian hegemony.”  Go ahead. Google it.

What’s next? That, dear reader, is to be determined. In the pregnant pause – between now and some as-yet-unspecified next posting date – you can further research my credentials with the following fool-proof guide:

Articles for Scientific American here.  Scientific publications here.  Representative blog post here.  Comic book action hero here.  I do warn you: subsequent googling may return embarrassing videos and/or stunning failures in investigative reporting, such as this piece on neighborhood parking enforcement.

How do I feel about the anonymous comment box? Miserable, in the main.  It’s a bit like a comic who gets some belly-laughs, a few helpful guffaws and a blitzkrieg of plump, overripe tomatoes to the nose.  Ouch.  That said, commenting – both signed and anonymous – is duly enabled for future postings.  Civil debate, corrigendums, addendums and plea bargains encouraged.  I exercise the right to editorial control over rotten tomatoes only when lobbed anonymously (and ingloriously).

melody About the Author: Melody is cloudy with a chance of meatballs. Follow on Twitter @moximer.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.



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