Furbies

4 06 2010

Some time ago, I witnessed a conversation between two people I had classified as mentally retarded. These are two grown men with child-like minds. They are both difficult to communicate with because they often fail to understand what others are talking about. When I saw them talking to each other I thought, “Oh my God! It’s like two furbies talking to each other!” If you don’t know, the furby was the first mass-produced consumer-end robot toy. They speak Furbish and English and appear to engage humans, pets, or each other in conversation, but they lack speech recognition. They react to sound, light, and motion, and will wait for silence before responding. They don’t really communicate.

Now, I often have this reaction to other people’s conversations. People discuss the merits of ideas which they don’t quite understand. They argue when they actually agree or think they agree when they don’t. It’s bizarre. Sometimes, I’m in the circle, but I’m not involved because there’s just nowhere to put myself. To enter the conversation, I must first explain the idea as if they had never heard of it. I must clear a path before I can proceed. It’s usually not worth it. I just spectate. I took the name Unfrozen Caveman form the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer, a SNL skit performed by the late and great Phil Hartman. “Your world frightens and confuses me” is a quote from that skit, but it’s also a reference to how the furbies make me feel like alien.

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4 responses

4 06 2010
Alkibiades

Whew! For a second there I thought the title of this post was referring to that odd sexual fetish know as Furries.

5 06 2010
joe

Agreed. It’s disturbing just how much social conditioning constrains most people’s conversations. How many people can say what they really see? So few.

5 06 2010
6 06 2010
joe

Oh, I see that’s not exactly what you were talking about. But I notice your thing too. Ask a creationist about evolution.

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