And while I’m on the subject of communicating in a manner that requires special historical knowledge to understand, in my post Picard and Dathon at El-Adrel, I said:
I think that this story is a near perfect metaphor for the problems faced by a variety of human cultures when they met for the first time – and a warning of what can happen when we deliberately choose to divide ourselves into silly and counter-productive factions.
While, in the second part, I was referring more to the larger kind of political factions that we have today, it can also be said about the “clicks” that develop amongst our kids around the use of “cool” made-up words. Unless you are too young to have experienced it yet – and I mean really young, then you know what I mean. While I was repulsed early on in my life by the implications of deliberately speaking in a way that you know will not be understood, I have to admit to having done it – quite innocently I tell ya! – as an adult.
You see I had this friend. And we both loved to talk about the old cartoons I watched while growing up, and he was still watching at the time. Did I mention that there was a slight difference in our ages? Well anyway, we were both so familiar with the story lines of certain cartoons that we were able to, as Data would put it, “communicate through narrative imagery” using phrases from those cartoons to make fun of ourselves when we screwed something up. Looking back on it now, it’s almost identical to the story of Darmok, only with cartoon blood and guts instead.
I (You) must be a “Super Genius”
“Where do we get these brames?”
“Fortunately, I keep ’em numbered for just such an emergency”
“Well that gives (you/me/him) a hobby”
I want ice water.