Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What is "The Purple Reaction"?

When I started thinking about starting a blog, one of the roadblocks was coming up with a name. My initial approach was to include something about music and meaning and I came up with some pretty epically bad ideas. Then Diana suggested “The Purple Reaction” and it was perfect fit.

When I taught high school band at Neuqua Valle High School, the students in the jazz band I conducted came up with the name “The Purple Reaction.” They were inspired by my love of the Northwestern whose colors are purple and white and the fact that many of my dress shirts and ties involved the color purple.

Though some commented that “The Purple reaction” sounds more like a bad rash than a music group, it stuck. It was a fun and inventive name and I’m glad my wife reminded me of this name for the blog. However like great music, “The Purple Reaction” has come to mean more than its origins.

Diana initially suggested the name as a way that I could pay tribute to my students and my life as a teacher and also reflect my love and gratitude to Northwestern University. Shealso pointed out that having a more open-ended name for my blog allowed me to talk about a variety of subjects. While I initially stuck close to music, I now regularly talk about subjects that are not musically related like my dog and deep fried bacon. This blog has become my reaction to my world and that reaction really is “purple.” Let me explain.

The recent Green Lantern comic book series has introduced a color lantern for every color of the rainbow. Each color is based on a certain emotion that powers the ring: red-hate, orange-avarice, yellow-fear, green-will, blue-hope, indigo-compassion and violet or purple which is love. And that is what my blog is all about.

There is a lot of negativity on the internet: on blogs, people’s posts, facebook status updates and message boards. You don’t have to look very far to find someone being negative, overly critical or sarcastic. Maybe it’s the false anonymity of the internet or the fact that it’s easier to type something negative than to say it in person but the internet can be a very dark place. But it doesn’t have to be.

Comic Geek Speak, a podcast and online community is devoted to celebrating comic book culture in a positive way. They host message boards for many comic related websites and podcasts where flaming or negative posts are almost non-existent. On air, their show makes a concerted effort to be positive. Instead of ranting against things they do not like, they provided suggestions and understand the fact that it’s their loss for not liking something.

The Leaky Cauldron a Harry Potter fansite holds yearly charity drives and has raised over $35,000 for Book Aid International a group that raises access to books to support literacy and education in sub-Saharan Africa.

If you’re one of my friends you know that I can be very sarcastic and I have my share of rants but there is plenty of that stuff on the internet and there are far better writers than who are humorously sarcastic on the internet. So I decided to make my blog about love. About exploring what makes things great and why we love what we do.

There are times when I’ve been sarcastic like in my Miley Cyrus post but it’s always with a positive spin. I chose to focus on what's great because we need this energy on the internet and it just make me happier to revel in what is awesome in life.

I’m doing the best I can to make my little corner of the internet a great place to be. Does it really have an effect against the mountains of negativity online? Probably not, but it’s made a difference to me and maybe it has to someone else.

As Virgil wrote, “Love begets love, love knows no rules, this is the same for all.”


  1. I didn't know that NVHS was involved in the naming of your blog - for the second time in as many weeks, it makes me proud to be an alum. (Even though I didn't really know Evan Lysacek and I didn't know there was a jazz band inspired by your love of NU.)

  2. First off, I don't actually read Chinese, so I'm not sure what these comments mean, but I do appreciate that you are reading and commenting (I hope it's something good. . .).

    Tracey, I'm glad that NV being associated with my blog makes you proud. Hopefully people I worked with over there feel the same way.