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I remember Louis Forsdale (1922-99)

How about: Active remembering? (Remember!)

Rightly or wrongly, I (BMcC[18-11-46-503]) believe Professor Forsdale's death was a result of negilgence aka: malpractice by The University of New Mexico Hospital (Albuquerque).

He was brought there in the night by ambulance after having suffered an apparently mild to moderate heart attack in Santa Fe. "They" decided to wait until the next morning to do a cardiac cathaterization. I think he was probably too humble to tell them to get their act together, and he just "ate it". By the morning he was dead. (He had previously been too humble to appropriately make himself known to The Santa Fe Institute.)

In his last years, Professor Forsdale was still in weekly(?) communication with his Teachers College mentor, a Professor Gray, I seem to recall, who was in his 90's, and, as he [Forsdale] said to me: castrated from prostate cancer surgery. If Gray could live into his 90's, why not Forsdale into at least his 80's? I had long telephone calls with Professor Forsdale each Sunday morning [those were still the days of "land lines"], in which I often bitched about things, but I missed his last 3 weeks due to having vacationed. Sophocles: "All understood, too late."

Forsdale's first principle

Always ask: What is this [whatever] an instance of?

Professor Forsdale liked micro-communication observations.

I'm watching a movie on YouTube about something to do with Joseph Stalin's family. It's in Russian. I understand zero of Russian language. The sound on my computer is for some reason turned off (the cat did it). I have the subtitles on and I can read them, clearly. But the subtitles are hard to follow without the voices [of which, as said, I understand not a word!].

I figure out how to turn the sound back on. Now the movie works better. The secondary communication channel of the inflection of the voices makes the subtitles manageable to follow for me. Curiously, might one call it a "nonverbal" channel of communication? Hi, Lou!

Examples micro-communication observation

Please see my: Self and other section for what I (BMcC[18-11-46-503]) think is a good example of a Forsdale communication micro-observation.

Click here for a story Prof. Forsdale told.[1]

Another communication micro-observation

I go to the dentist for my semi-annual teeth cleaning. When I was younger I was terrified of going to the dentist because he used tharp metal instruments to scrape the calculus/tartar off my teeth and I am a sensitive person. Then a psychotherapist told me that I could ask for nitrous oxide anesthetic to make it less stressful. That worked. (I was childreared in a social surround that did not effectively care about my sensitivities or how to address them.)

So, ever since that breakthru in civilized living, I increasingly partly look forward to going to the dentist. (I am blessed with very good teeth, so my fears of having to get actual dental "work" done on my mouth as the price of getting my teeth cleaned have proven largely unfounded.)

Here's the communication micro-observation: I don't know if they are trying to trick me with the nitrous, but it seems to help and whili the dentist [now: hygienist because the DDS costs more and does not normally clean teeth any longer] is busy cleaning my teeth, I try to remember things from my past and imaginatively elaborate them. There is one woman I met once 35 years ago whom I remember (she promised to be playful but had showstopper problems like SES differential and manic mental illness, etc.). When I notice the "floaters" in my closed eyes, I think they are a kind of abstract painting I am seeing .I find the situation really great for imagining things, and i've got to the point where, once I think I'm going to get a pass for the drill, I really am disappointed when the teeth cleaning session has to end. Imagination is part of communication, wouldn't Professor Forsdale agree?

Yet another communication micro-observation

If you are a consumer, you consume the thing and that's the end of it, more or less. I see some pictures of a house that interestes me. How long could I occupy myself looking at the plctures? Now let's compare with what happened in my creatively appropriating the pictures. I saw them as showing a building that I could icorporate into a story Iwrote elsewhere. So I take time to integrate the pictures into that story. And more time getting th HTML to look as I want it, so I take more time with that. By incorporating the given consumables into imaginative elaborations I extend to time the consumable can occuy my interest. In pther words, if you are creative you do not need to consume as much because each bit of inpu goes further.

Military discipline

During World War II, like many other young males, Forsdale was in the U.S. Army. Here's a story you may not know? He was stationed as the Army War College, Fort Leavenworth Kansas, as the audio visual aids specialist. He said that when he arrived there he was the lowest ranking person in the place. The General who was in command held a meeting and introduced everybody to "Lieutenant Forsdale" and he instructed everybody to treat everything the lieutenant said as if he himself said it. (I propose this as a model for military discipline and for how all managers should treat their employees.)

A Marshall McLuhan story

Professor Forsdale apparently was a close friend of Marshall McLuhan. A McLuhan communication micro-observation:

"Every joke expresses a grivance. The funny man is a man with a grudge."

A joke McLuhan told about th French Canadians, who chronically feel they have been short-changed by th English speaking majority: There was a house eith a mouse and a pet cat and a pet dog. The mouse hears meowing and jumps down to safety in his mousehole. Some time later the mouse hears loud barking. Dogs do not eat me and do not like cats. So the mouse figured it was safe to come back out. On his way down into the at's stomach, the mouse hears the cat say: "Ther are advantages to being bi-lingual."

Anent: Offending people

Professor Forsdale! I find that the more truth I tell people the more they get offended and they reprimand me for embarrassing them (because how are they going to explain my behavior to their friends?).

If you were still around, how much truth would you tolerate? I think you might say something like: "Let's hear it." Am I wrong here?

Let's unroll the film!

Professor Forsdale loved photography. He had an old Olympus OM-1 camera with which he took great, or at least scholarly, pictures. (I had two OM-4t's and didn't take many pictures of any value; the camera ownerships should have been reversed; I did give him an F1.2 50mm lens, if I remember correctly, although I can't remember how I would have sent it to him.)

Professor Forsdale spent some time in pre-Khomenei Iran. The Shah had his irregular police, too. Once when Forsdale was departing from Iran to come back to The States, he had several rolls of exposed 35mm film. How to get them past the customs agents?

When he was examined, he very ostentatiously took a roll of 35mm film and unspooled all of it out of its protective cannister, thus, obviously, destroying all the pictures. Apparently the customs agents were very happy to see such honorable commitment to national security and sincere repentance in action. Forsdale flew out with all his pictures intact. The film had been an unexposed roll; a sop to Cerebrus.

Aside: The Smithsonian Channel docudrama about the capture of Adolf Eichmann by the Mossad has a lovely vignette where, on the special diplomatic ElAl plane, on which they smuggled Eichmann out by drugging him and telling the customs officers he was a steward who had had too much to drink [customs officers knew all about minor debauchery among flight crews in Buenos Aires...] -- anyway, a few minutes into the flight, the Captain announced over the PA system: "We have exited Argentinean airspace." Interception by the Argentine Air Force was no longer a concern. I think "Lou" Forsdale might have "related" to that story.

A curious state of consciousness

After waking up this morning, I had a waking dreamlet [still safely in bed] of falling down a step.

Ever since my problem with edema in my ankles this past summer (it's not nearly so bad now, but not back to my status quo ante), I am afraid of falling into nonexistent holes when I walk, and I take care to avoid them because I do not want to break a bone and end up in the hospital or with a cast which would make my daily life almost impossible (e.g.: taking a shower).

Everybody called him "Lou"

Do I (BMcC[18-11-46-503]) misremember, or did Professor Forsdale want everybody to call him: "Lou"? In my experience, he was such a humble man that he would, metaphorically, let people tread over him. He did not consider himself to be as great as he was. As I have written above, I could not convince him to introduce himself properly to The Santa Fe Institute when he had retired to Santa Fe.

I rarely called Professor Forsdale by any name if I could avoid it. Why? I found and still find it difficult to call almost anybody by any name because, as a teenager, I had been required to call prig teaches "Mr. [whatsyourname?]": they were my: "masters" but I was not legally a slave. I never got over having to honor persons who did not earn my respect and did not honor me. They were like the God of Babel: they confused my tongue. Also, the label that was affixed to my body at birth, which body they, in loco parentis, and my parents denied me, means: Broad river crossing for everybody to tread on in making their way forward (or retreating) in their living.[2] Any wonder I do not like to see a decent person being humble?

"Lou", I remember you.

A book not owned by BMcC[18-11-46-503]

After Professor Forsdale died, I got a call from his Daughter, Lynn, saying her father had asked that I receive a book from him. She asked me what I wanted. I instantly knew the answer: I wanted a book in which he had written notes, perhaps a copy of his book "Perspectives on Communication". I never heard back from her. Had I been too arrogant to presume to want a book in which the man had invested part of his spirit?

If I knew his library in detail and had asked for an expensive book, would my wish have been granted? (Heck! I stole liberated the book that was the bibliographical basis for my Ed.D. dissertation from a different educational institution which institution itself was the empirical data base for the dissertation, and when I told a publisher about that place, their representative agreed I should have taken some of their books from them, like the Collected Essays of Alfred Schutz (3 vols.).) I had heard that Lynn's marriage was not without issues. I had visited once her house, with her father, and it was a bit like Simon Rodia down on his luck or the tree house H. Broch de Rothermann once designed for me. Professor Forsdale dearly loved his grandchildren..

I also heard something about Professor Forsdale's son, John, which intrigued me: John had an automobile repair shop and my understanding was that he would not service the car of anybody who did not take proper car of the car. This sounded great to me, and a model for all human beings to aspire to. I never met John and as of Autumn 2020 the phone numbers I found for him were no longer in service. Lynn worked as a house cleaner. Curious occupations for the children of a Full Professor. (who also had had 2 siamese cats in his TC dorm 2nd floor apartment). I also learned that Professor Forsdale had tuberculosis in the 1950's, so I presume he had encysted bacilli in his lungs for the rest of his life; he had been instructed to rest (in the sanatorium, I presume), but they let him have a typewriter.

Professor Forsdale came from working class persons. I think he said his father (or was it his step father? I do not recall the details) drove a bread truck and had bought him a Brownie camera, which was how he [Professor Forsdale] got into photography. His mother died from Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS), which I am sure made a deep and lasting impression on a person who was to devote his life to the study of non-verbal communication. I think she had been a loving mother.

Finally, where did Islamist fundamentalism come from? Sayad Qutb, who, at the end of the 1940's, studied at the local college in Greeley Colorado, Professor Forsdale's home town, although I expect the two never met. Qutb had been radicalized by witnessing the sinful public debauchery (e.g.: dancing) of young Americans in Greeley Colorado.

Amusing micro-communication observation, and an embarrassment

I just now (+2020.12.28 03:40ET) started listening to Wanda Landowska playing Scarlatti[3] on YouTube. The recording started with applause or was it static? I now think more likely the latter.

As for static, as a student, I (BMcC[18-11-46-503]) was always trying to escape "Incoming!" In a paper I wrote for Professor Forsdale's summer session film appreciation class (2 credits for little pain!), I made a big deal of how the edges of the film frames were blacked out in Sergei Eisenstein's great silent film: "The battleship Potemkin". What was that? Of course, that the great silent film was not Cinerama. Duh! But, what the heck? I got thru the course (1985'ish).

Today (early winter 2020CE), I would probably go off on all sorts of tangents of my fantasies about the Kronstadt rebellion, Ronald Reagen and Nancy, IBM psychiatrist David Bruce Robbins (who looked like the battleship's dishonorable physician whom the sailors sent to the briny deep), and other irrelevances. What would have happened to me has I submitted my neologism infested logorrhea to Professor Forsdale for that course today?

Alternatively, I could have submitted a poem:

My anarcho-syndicalism
--------

Ship's physician who certified
with maggots infested beef
for Potemkin's sailors to eat,
  like Galileo dropped two spheres,
  of different specific gravities
  from Pisa's leaning tower's peak,
the sailors heaved him
in a parabolic arc
to the Black Sea's briny deep.

(for IBM psychiatrist David Bruce Robbins,
a good soul
)

What grade would I have got for this? Professor Forsdale gave multiple choice tests. Was that to expedite the useless activity of grading kids? I once asked Yale philosophy Professor John Wild about the relation between testing students and human freedom, and he replied to me that he meant no harm.

Active memory and its opposite

Example of inactive memory:

Arrange the 8 Kings of the Sargonid
dynasty (722-609 BC) in chronological
order by marking the numbers 1 though
8 in the boxes (1 being oldest, 8
newest). Use a No. 2 pencil.
 
        Sin-shumu-lishir
        Ashurbanipal
        Esarhaddon
        Ashur-uballit II
        Sinsharishkun
        Sennacherib
        Sargon II
        Ashur-etil-ilani

Educational Testing Service (ETS; Princeton, NJ), a subsidiary of The Grim Reaper, Inc.

                        (Answers here, bottom of page)

Example of active memory: At my mother-in-law's home the Christmas celebration [she is jewish] I (BMcC[18-11-46-503]) recall she has a primitive art painting which has interested me for a number of years. This leads to me asking my daughter to take a picture of said painting on her cellphone, and myself creating next day web page: Naive/primitive/folk art v. fashiionista art.

I very much wish Forsdale was still around to try to talk with him about human communication

"See if there's anything good on...." "Why bother?" (DESPAIR, Copyright © Robert Crumb, 1969, used with permission for non-profit educational purposes only; authorized by R.Crumb himself: "McCormick, Permission granted. R. Crumb") Do not reproduce. This image to BMcC indexical of many things.

"See if there's anything good on." "Why bother?"

+2021.05.24. I try to talk with "people": human being persons, about something. It could probably be anything. I might as well be talking to the man in the moon, except the moon is more beautiful in my judgment than most hominid bipeds. So I end up giving up and just trying to engage at the level of pre-discursive emotion conveying sounds. I feel better about talking with their dogs which like being petted behind their ears, in most cases. "Friendly?" If the person walking the dog replies friendly or anything else I can interpret to signify that the dog will be friendly, I proceed to try to communicate [non-discursively] with the dog. I reach my hand out, which I feel is a gesture of peaceful approach, since it would be easy for the dog to either (1) back away or (2) attack my arm. If the human says the dog is not friendly I do not try to approach the dog.

My problem is that I try to say something with denotative meaning to the human. The results are mixed. At one extreme I might as well be speaking the language of the liquid nitrogen seas on the planet Ur-anus. At the other extreme the humans do not understand that I do not have their entire context of socially conditioned "life" as the universal eternal "preloaded" meaning of everything which is self-evident to any waking biped hominid all the time, like what time it is, and therefore: everything they say should be obvious to me -- who, knows, maybe George Floy? George Floyd is more important than Edmund Husserl or Martin Heidegger, of course. ("Who they?") Or even Thomas Jefferson who is a dead white male who owned slaves and is therefore to be cancelled. It's an AOC world we live in, and that f / b is even more sacro-sanct than the Madonna who is not a Virgin these days. It's getting to the point for me that, as a reaction formation, I would prefer the Trumpies if only they did not have social power to hurt me but were just chimpanzees hopping around in a cage in a zoo shrieking: "Woke! Woke! .." while swinging from the doors of non-functioning refrigerators in their cage. Think no ideologically deviant thoughts!

I say something. The humans seem to have no interest in trying to figure out the context of my words ("The medium is the message"?). Why should they, since everything is the same thing: their parochial universal, eternal belief system du jour. Do I speak inarticulately? Am I "eating my words" a I vocalize?" What is their problem? If somebody (some body?) says something to me and I cannot already read off the context of their verbalization, I try hypotheses "in my head" to try to figure out what their words might mean, in their context. I find this both expected and an intellectually challenging endeavor. I expect other persons to have different interpretive contexts than I do because different persons should be expected to be different. However: All sheep are the same color in the dark. Somebody once self-righteousky explained to me that I am a disgusting snob, who thinks I am better than he is, because I used the word: "lifeworld". I wondered a bit that they actually had seemed able to process auditory stimuli to output what wounded like socially conditioned claptrap. 'Tis a shame they were not jsut a bunch of cells in a petri dish safely shielded from infecting anybody in a virus laboratory. Everything any person does (including, but not limited to, myself) is interesting behavior, isn't it?

I wish "Forsdale" was still around to talk with about these communication phenomena. Would I be able to talk with him about human communication? It does puzzle me that "people" do not find their behavior interesting to study while they are behaving said behavior. But that is apparently how they "are in the world" (Heidegger's "Dasein" / "das Man"). Probably it helps that they are "happy campers", whose social surround fits them like the latest fashion in fashionable clothing. I think about the utility aspects of clothes I am wearing. It seems to me that most people most of the time who are not either or both Asperger's or schizoid are sleepwalking. Maybe I am, too, but at least I wonder about it. Are we living in "The Truman Show"? La vide si es une sueño? People seem to be self-absorbed in ideating that I am self-absorbed but of course they are not because they are [pre-reflectively] not-self-absorbed, Mr. Kafka. What the fuck shit?

Does what I have written here make sense or is it just Dada, for which a footnote, repeating an uneditted version of this present paragraph up to the following colon mark (":"), avoiding an infinite loop, and the four preceding paragraphs, is herewith provided, which may help people: click here[4]  
 
 
 

+2022.11.19 v001
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Footnotes

  1. Your Comment on Why Are We Still Talking About Black Mountain College?
    The New York Times <comments@nytimes.com>
    12:26 AM (3 hours ago) [+2022.07.08]
    Your comment has been approved!
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with The New York Times community.
    Bradford McCormick | New York
    I knew a professor, the man who introduced Marshall McLuhan to American academia, Louis Forsdale. He told me a story: He visited his girlfriend at Black Mountain College one summer. There was a softball game. Well, not exactly. The students were goofing around and sort of playing softball but nobody was keeping score or anything like that. Then one of the students started to take the game seriously and began trying to win. Others followed suit. "And then things turned ugly" because instead of having fun the students were competing to win. The sorrow and the pity of America in a simple story.-
  2. "People" accuse me of being selfish: "Everything is not about you!" So while this web page is nominally about Professor Louis Forsdale, I offend everybody by not properly effacing my self. I never had a right to life, only others had a right to my life, but they did not have the impulse control to wait until I was dead to cook their meal.
  3. Albert Schweitzer reportedly said, "Wanda Landoska plays the harpsichord better than anybody ELSE plays ANYTHING."
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