For reasons that aren't at all sinister but are complicated to explain, I made a new friend this week. Megi is Polish but is actually from The Netherlands. The reason we became friends is that we both have Catch 22 pretty much at the top of our favourite books list (just as an aside I have noticed a move amongst young people to converge the words best and favourite in recent years. If I was a language maven it would annoy me...okay, it does annoy me...but because it makes one of these useful words that I find valuable redundant. But with a chin-stroking David Crystal-like detached interest I find this interesting. That kids will refer to something as my best football team or my best pop group or my best trainers says something about the idea of quality in the current cultural climate. Is this some kind of sign that notions of good and bad and best and worst as relative concepts has finally taken hold, not just amongst academics and cultural commentators but among everyone. Is it something to do with the 'MYwhatever' idea? The notion that what YOU choose and consume is the most important thing in the world, regardless of any previously agreed objective notions of quality).
Anyway, the odd thing is that Megi and I both agree on our favourite scene from our favourite book. In amongst all the wonderful detail, the unbearable death of Snowden, the comic death of Kid Sampson, the old Italian guy in the brothel, the chocloate covered cotton or Clevinger disappearing into a cloud, our favourite scene (also Robert X Cringley's, it seems) is when Major ________ DeCoverley breaks the loyalty oath frenzy by demanding "Gimme Eat!"
How cool is that?* That a Polish girl who's actually from in Holland who reads Catch 22 in what is, effectively, her third language (or if we treat English English and American English as different languages rather than variations on a single language - her FOURTH language), has a favourite scene in an 800 page novel that is same as mine. This was discovered by accident too. It wasn't one of those things where people just agree with each other to be more appealing.
This, basically supports my theory that people are simply not unique, and that the more we find out about genetics, the less unique we will become. In fact, I kind of think that geneticists might put the final kaibosh on the myth that as individuals we are unique and special once and for all, which in turn will have rather serious implications for Myspace, My Favourites, My Media Library and 'My best trainers'. I reccommend that someone copyright OurSpace as a brand name immediately for long term gain.
*there is also the issue, which we discussed, about how Europeans are frequently better at speaking and understanding English than the English. The English (Trevor Brooking, par example) are rubbish at other peoples' languages.