Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Modern Gam = Skype

I found the idea of the gam interesting in Moby Dick. For those who don’t remember, here is a refresher from the novel. “Gam—noun—A social meeting of two (or more) whale-ships, generally on a cruising-ground; when after exchanging hails, they exchange visits by boats’ crews: the two captains remaining, for the time, on board of one ship, and the two chief mates on the other” (216). During this exchange, the captains and the rest of the crew tell each other the whaling news, but they would “have an agreeable chat” (214). They were able to do this as long as they shared a common language. “For not only would they meet with all the sympathies of sailors, but likewise with all the peculiar congenialities arising from a common pursuit and mutually shared privations and perils.”

I got thinking that this is like chatting or Skyping today in digital culture. There are two (or more) people that come from different paths of life. One person may be starting a new journey; one may just be finishing a journey. Yet there is common ground that is found between these people at one point and this is where they catch up on the goings on of each others’ lives. This is what we use Skype or chat for—the only difference is the common ground is virtual, not physical.

Pardon the inaccuracies, but this was too good not to share. 

We like to share what’s happening in our lives; it’s been around for a while. It’s just been changing mediums of communication. It’s quite amazing that we can connect to anyone we want in the world as long as they have an internet or data connection—or in other words, a common “technical” language—and speak to them, face-to-face, at least artificially.