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iPythia Says: ERADICATE AND EVOLVE!!!

February 1, 2009

What does your music library say about you? It’s an age-old question, and one that shall not soon be retired, I think.

Over on Facebook there’s a meme floating around (no! really?) that once again asks members to reveal things about themselves. This is a little different, because it reveals on two levels. The first is the most obvious: what do you have in (on? what’s the correct preposition here? this could be a post topic all it’s own…) your iPod, which may be embarassing to some or a source of pride to others. Not only does your iPod’s catalog show your musical taste, but it also shows what (and how much, by implication) you own, in whatever way one owns music these days, and via whatever way(s) one comes to possess music these days.

Pythia.jpg

But the second way is more interesting to me. This meme is a variation on the ages-old practice of bibliomancy, in which one takes a book from the shelf (traditionally, the Bible — hence the name bibliomancy, an interesting play on words as “Biblio” can refer both to books in general and to the Bible, which, traditionally, probably would have been the only book on your bookshelves), frames a question in one’s mind (or asks it aloud), closes one’s eyes, begins flipping through the pages, and eventually places one’s finger on a page. The text underneath that finger is the answer to the question asked.

Of course, the most interesting thing about bibliomancy (and horoscopes and biorhythms, and all of the other tools of arcane prognostication) is that it’s the question asker who does all of the answering work. At least in ancient Greece when one visited the Oracle at Delphi, the Pythian priestess’ gibberings were interpreted for the petitioner by the priests of the temple. But not here! You ask your trusty familial King James, “When will this acne finally go away?!” and get, in return, the wisdom of Matthew 1:9: “And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias.” The fun really starts when you have to figure out what this illuminating passage is trying to say to you.

So, here we are with a new bibliomantic oracle, the iPod iPythia. (I rather like the term “iPythia,” by the way.) Here are the instructions, as handed down generation to generation on Facebook:

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1. Put Your iTunes on Shuffle.

2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.

3. You must write down the name of the song no matter how silly it sounds!

4. Put any comments in brackets after the song name.

5. Tag at least 10 friends.

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The petitioner is then given a series of questions it is assumed (yet another Great Moment In The Passive Voice) the petitioner wants answered. Below are the questions and the answers I posted on Facebook. And yes, they were all authentic and sequential shuffle results. I didn’t cheat on this to create amusing or profound answers.

So, as you read these, what sorts of connections are you assuming between the question and answer? What else do you need to know to make sense of these? And, most interestingly, will you try it yourself?

  • What do your friends think of you?
  • “The Good Times Are Killing Me” — Modest Mouse
  • If someone says, “Is this okay?” You say?
  • “Mad Fright Night” — Lo-Down
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • “A Little Respect” — Erasure
  • What do you like in a guy/girl?
  • “Miles From Nowhere” — The Smithereens
  • How do you feel today?
  • “Shut Up” — Black Eyed Peas
  • What is your life’s purpose?
  • “Asleep” — The Smiths
  • What is your motto?
  • “Theme to the PowerPuff Girls”
  • What do you think about very often?
  • “Theme to Voltron”
  • What do you think of your best friend?
  • “All Along the Watchtower” — Bear McCreary & BT4
  • What do you think of the person you like?
  • “Nobody Does It Better” — Carly Simon
  • What is your life story?
  • Adagio (Movement 2), Piano Concerto in F — George Gershwin
  • What do you want to be when you grow up?
  • “Every Breath You Take” — The Police
  • What do you think of when you see the person you like/love?
  • “The Great Battle” — Brian Tyler
  • What will you dance to at your wedding?
  • “Revenge!” — Spoon
  • What will they play at your funeral?
  • “Twist of Fate” — Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta
  • What is your hobby/interest?
  • “Hey Pretty” (Bonus Track) — Poe with Mark Z. Danielewski
  • What is your biggest fear?
  • “Poor Leno” (Silicone Soul Hypno House Dub) — Royksopp
  • What is your biggest secret?
  • “A Whisper” — Coldplay
  • What do you think of your friends?
  • “World So Cold” — Mudvayne
  • What will you post this as?
  • “Eradicate and Evolve” — Echoes of War, Music of Blizzard Entertainment
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