Re: virus: ostention, repression, ignition, exhaust

Tony Hindle (
Thu, 20 Mar 1997 16:43:53 +0000

In message <>,
Eva-Lise Carlstrom <> writes
>I was not familiar with the term 'ostention' (nor does it seem familiar by
>any other spelling I can think of), but I am familiar with the concept.
According to Prof. Bill Ellis of Penn. state uni. the term is
borrowed from the discipline of semiotics. However as I cannot find it
in the dictionary it may be too new or Prof Bill Ellis may be a myth
himself, perhaps I'd better explain.
My scource is a BBC. t.v. program I have on tape called W.S.H.
(wierd shit happens- an interesting show, a docu-drama about a professor
who investigates urbam legends, I can send you a copy if you want). The
introduction says it is a docu-drama and I do recognise Paul Ross
playing himself as a radio talk show host (this is credited as the end).
The final credits also describe Ellis as being played by himself as well
as a Prof. Carl Lindahl of University of Houston as being played by
himself. Still the nature of the whole program leads me to doubt the
existence of these professors and now I am beginning to doubt your
existence as well as my own.
>Thanks for the legend, I hadn't heard or read that one. I think I'll go
>bleach my toothbrush now in case someone broke in and I didn't notice.
Didnt I mention, the burglars also pissed in the bleach.

>Predictions of assassination attempts are always dicey for the same
>reason--someone may hear the prediction and act to make it true.
I predict the pope will be assasinated.

> In a
>sense, such a self-fulfilling prophecy is a performative utterance (For
>non-linguists: A performative utterance is a self-enacting speech act,
>such as "I promise...", "I hereby vow...", "I apologize", or "I declare
>war". Sometimes I suspect that "I love you" is a speech act; I'm never
>sure whether those times are my most cynical, or my least).
Most. But on another day I would have said least.
>> BTW Eva did you read my posting on repressed memories?
>> what do you think?
>Yes, and thanks for posting it. I found it interesting, but not enough to
>base my own conclusion on about the existence or nonexistence of repressed
>memories in the clinical and legal senses.
I was convinced beyond reasonable doubt after reading all the
scources in the bibliography. Even though my first reactions were "it
must exist, otherwise why would it be so widely believed?" I remember at
the time thinking to myself that faith in the construct of repressed
memories was the foundation stone of a load of psychobabble in the same
way as faith in the bible is the foundation for so much religiobabble.
> There are certainly cases in
>which someone has seemingly forgotten something and then recalled it,
I agree. But I dont accept that people can forget completely
about severely traumatic events (how the holocaust survivors must long
for such an ability.)
> and
>there are also cases in which someone has unknowingly concocted a false
>memory for themselves.
I agree
> I can think of banal personal instances of both.
Same here
>I am inclined to think that while such methods as hypnosis might possibly
>help draw out real memories that might otherwise not be accessed readily,
>they are also extremely vulnerable to suggestion and bias.
I agree. except that I dont accept that there is such a thing as
the hypnotic trance (this is another foundation on which a lot of
hypnobabble is constructed - consider past life regression, dont you
think it's a bit of a coincidence that everybody seems to have had such
glamorous past lives, nobody ever discovers that they used to be a
lavatory cleaner in Rotherham.)
Compliance, communication of expectations and role playing are
sufficient to explain all. A prof. in England called Graham Wagstaff has
written a book called "Hypnosis, compliance and belief" on which I base
my position.

Have you heard the following urban legends
Gang initiation, lights off.
Batman wardrobe
Jerbils up arse
aeroplane toilet / fat man
toothed vaginas
maniac on subway platform
ejaculating into maionaise
pets in microwave.

I had heard the dog/rabbit one before but in a slightly
mutated version. The difference essentially was that the owner of the
dead rabbit was telling the dog owner the story as some kind of
resurection mystery. "rabbit was dead in cage this morning but the
strangest thing was that it actually died two days ago and we buried it"

Have you ever tried inventing one? I invented this one
but it's never come back to me yet.
Woman washing baby, no hot water, puts metal tub on gas ring,
baths baby when water is warm, distracted by telephone in other room,
baby boils to death.
I know why its crap. Nobody would leave baby in bath to answer
phone etc. But I reckon with a lot of effort it can be done.

I am going away for 3/4 days when I get back we can see if we
can invent an urban legend that has memes that press all the right
buttons to get it propogating nicely, what do you say?

(from another of your posts)
>Hey hey hey, watch those semantic-displacement inducers.
I must admit I wondered if you'd spot it. I just love the term
semantic displacement inducers. I want to start collecting them.

I'm begining to doubt my own existence, come on,surely I must exist
........Bill Hicks (who still exists and is with us
wherever there is love laughter and truth)