Monday, December 10, 2007

This is the title of this post

Greetings phellow phlogers. I am posting in order to give some more visibility to the “field” of self-reference, which I find rather intriguing. After all, what is more human than the need to reflect on one’s self, for the brain to ponder its own existence?

One of the most accessible areas of this “field” is self- referential sentences. This, essentially, means any sentence whose referent is the very sentence itself. (“This is a self-referential sentence” is a basic, basic, example. They get better.) I have posted several of my own making below:

This sentence hardly has any adverbs.

This is a horribly written haiku.

This sentence may come up later.

Well, this sentence doesn’t like you either.


This sentence isn’t particularly funny.

Forget this sentence.

This sentence may come up later.


I realize that not everyone is as “into” this as I am, but on the rare chance that you are, I would recommend reading Douglas Hofstadter’s Metamagical Themas. Also, David Moser has composed an absolutely brilliant and hilarious short story entitled “This Is the Title of This Story, Which Is Also Found Several Times in the Story Itself” (found here:

Enjoy, and best of luck with your self-referential adventures!

This is the last sentence of this post.

~Sam :)


Everett Patterson said...

Check out this self-referential poem I did as a Philo literary exercise back in the day. It takes the task one step further: every single WORD in this poem refers to itself. Cool, huh?


Abstract Noun
Adjectival Noun.

Awkward word, cumbersome word.
Pronounceable, polysyllabic word.
Periphrastic Circumlocution!
Grandioloquism, adverbially mispelled!
Typewritten, mispron(oo)ced.

Francés. Español. Deutsch.

Prefixed concept, buzzword.
Non-palindrome, unnecessarily-hyphenated.
Latinate Abbrev.



Lady Pistol Whip said...

Is it possible I have a vague recollection of someone reading said David Moser story at a Philo meeting?

schmonz said...

See (and hear) also the song entitled "Title of the Song" by Da Vinci's Notebook.

absentminded said...

I was thinking the same thing as Schmonz re: Everett's poem...

green eggs and me said...

Hey! I just listened to title of the song-- absolutely amazing. Thanks for the rec. My favorite part:

modulation, then I hold a high note!

P.s. There's a video on youtube with people lip-syncing it. There are some wonderful self-ref comments beneath it.