Three Great Weekend Reads
In case you missed them…
What can we learn from gibberish?
Is there any point to dating right now?
What’s the meaning of “Wine Mom” memes?
Gibberish – language that cannot be understood – is not quite the same as nonsense. In nonsense writing, we read individual words but can’t parse them into any meaning that makes sense according to conventional expectations. ‘Colourless green ideas sleep furiously,’ as Noam Chomsky put it in Syntactic Structures (1957), in an example of a semantically meaningless sentence with syntax present and correct. Gibberish, on the other hand, makes indecipherable words out of the sounds and letters of language.
It’s very possible that the way we date now — more virtually and more carefully — could become part of the “new normal” that society has been clumsily crawling toward since quarantine began. While some of the side effects of the pandemic on potential relationships have been positive (as Sable Yong argues in GQ, now is the time to shoot your shot!), dating has always been hard, and for the most part, the coronavirus has only complicated coupling.
Perhaps the most urgent problem wine-mom jokes reveal, however, is that modern parenting has become a more all-consuming, and isolating, job than it used to be. Jacobson noted that wine-mom memes could be understood as a tacit rejection of the recently idealized notion of momhood, the “supermom who can do it all”—but perhaps the existence of that standard in the first place is what makes mothering more stressful.