Monday, March 31, 2008

DaDa Put It Together

This is v.2 of the slideshow/audio of Alex's lecture from 01/19/08 in the DaDa Workshop taught at UVSC (Spring 2008). The lecture is on DaDa photomontage, collage, and assemblage. This is very interesting and powerful use of language. It is pretty intense so be forewarned.

DaDa Put It Together from Travis Low on Vimeo.

Here is the link straight to the video on the Vimeo website:
Let me know what you think!

Monday, March 17, 2008

What the world needs now, is language, sweet language

I just got done posting on my blog the five things UVSC needs to do in order to be taken seriously as a university. You can check it out in full here:

The 5 things UVSC should do to really become a university

One of the suggestions I put out there was the need for a greater focus on foreign language study:

With such a high percentage of returned LDS missionaries, UVU has one of the most bilingual college populations in the country. UVU should capitalize on this advantage by making foreign languages part of the core curriculum. Every student graduating from UVU should be encouraged to be proficient in another language.

But how do you get students to enroll in these time intensive classes? At BYU students can use language credits to satisfy math requirements. Imagine how many students would take 12 credits of a language in order to avoid passing Math 1050.

Tell me what you think of my ideas...and No Torben, this will not take effect before the fall.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Go Back to Black


Published: February 27, 2008


I’M black again. I was black in Mississippi in the 1970s but sometime in the 1980s I became African-American, with a brief pause at Afro-American. Someone, I think it was Jesse Jackson, in the days when he had that kind of clout, managed to convince America that I preferred being African-American. I don’t.

Now I live in Britain where I’m black again. Blacks in Britain come from all over, although many are from the former colonies. According to the last census, about half of the British people who identify as black say they are black Caribbean, about 40 percent consider themselves black African, and the rest just feel plain old black. Black Brits are further divided by ancestral country of origin, yet they are united under the term black British — often expanded to include British Asians from the Indian subcontinent.

The term African-American was contrived to give black Americans a sense of having a historical link to Africa, since one of slavery’s many unhappy legacies is that most black Americans don’t know particulars about their origins. Black Americans whose ancestors arrived after slavery and who can pinpoint their country of origin are excluded from the definition — which is why, early in his campaign, people said Barack Obama wasn’t really African-American. Yet, since he has one parent from the African continent and one from the American continent, he is explicitly African-American.


Sunday, March 2, 2008


Idiom Shortage Leaves Nation All Sewed Up In Horse Pies

February 29, 2008 | Issue 44•09

WASHINGTON—A crippling idiom shortage that has left millions of Americans struggling to express themselves spread like tugboat hens throughout the U.S. mainland Tuesday in an unparalleled lingual crisis that now has the entire country six winks short of an icicle.

Since beginning two weeks ago, the deficit in these vernacular phrases has affected nearly every English speaker on the continent, making it virtually impossible to communicate symbolic ideas through a series of words that do not individually share the same meaning as the group of words as a whole. In what many are calling a cast-iron piano tune unlike any on record, idiomatic expression has been devastated nationwide.

more at:

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Antithetical Meaning of Primal Words

The title of this blog post is actually the title of an essay written by Sigmund Freud. The following text is an excerpt from a reading response that I wrote in a philosophy class that I'm taking right now at UVU called "Freud and Philosophy" (taught by Shannon Mussett). This writing is in response to a reading that we were doing from a section in Freud's book "Totem and Taboo". The section had a few parts that reminded me of Freud's essay "The Antithetical Meaning of Primal Words". It is a very interesting essay that I recommend checking out, it's a bit difficult to find though. I thought this would be appropriate on this blog.

An excerpt from my (Travis Low) reading response paper:

"...Taboo is something that interests me very much. The concept of taboo is mind boggling in that it alludes to something or someone that is unapproachable, forbidden, holy, unclean, sacred, dangerous, etc. This antithetical description or definition of the word ‘taboo’ made me think of one of Freud’s essays that I recently read called “The Antithetical Meaning of Primal Words,” wherein Freud examines ancient Egyptian words that have two different meanings which are opposed to one another. That is, single words that refer to two different states that are at odds with each other. For example, the Egyptian word for ‘light’ is the same as the Egyptian word for ‘dark’, the same goes for inside/outside, strong/weak, old/young, far/near, and so on. The single word refers to both states, or at least the presence of one state and the absence of its contrary state. Instead of having two words for each manifestation, one word describes the contradictory phenomena. If the concept is abstract, the specific manifestations can be shown in several ways; if written, a simple symbol or picture at the beginning or end of the word can distinguish between the two meanings, if spoken, special emphasis can be placed on the pronunciation of the word in a number of ways, illustrating the nature of the manifestation being referred to. (For example, the word standing for both ‘strong’ and ‘weak’ would be pronounced very powerfully and deeply if referring to ‘strong’, but would be pronounced very softly and delicately if referring to ‘weak’.) This is also true in many other languages. In Latin, for instance, the word ‘sacer’ means both ‘sacred’ and ‘accursed’, and ‘altus’ means both ‘high’ and ‘deep’. (This is all paraphrased from Freud’s essay “The Antithetical Meaning of Primal Words”) So, I would think that the word taboo, also having an antithetical meaning and essence to it, must have been developed in a similar way, where one word was placed upon the presence of two antithetical states, desires or impulses. Freud also points out early on in the reading that the word ‘taboo’ is an ancient/primal polynesian word.

Taboo is especially interesting being a phenomena that comes upon objects or people for social/cultural reasons and that the phenomena is charged with contradictory forces. Objects of taboo, as said above, are both holy and unclean, both sacred and forbidden, etc. If something is taboo it means that the thing or person of taboo has some kind of prohibition placed upon it, it is warned against, unapproachable. It is both desired and unwanted, it could bring both delight and sorrow.

This brings to mind Frued’s conception of fetish. I wonder how Freud would tie taboo into his understanding of fetishes. It seems like objects that we fetishize are at the same time objects of taboo. To fetishize something is to consider the it to be worthy of worshiping or desiring to no end, but the very fact that we define it as ‘fetish’ implies that it is some kind of unhealthy, or (to use Freud’s language) ‘deviant’ obsession or need. (Maybe even an addiction?!)..."

The spice up this post here is a photo. Yes, that is a Sigmund Freud action figure.