Monday, 9 December 2013

I is for the first person singular

‘I’ suggests two questions about Elvis.

One like all Mama’s boys and all pop stars, Elvis was strikingly self-centred, but exactly how self-centred was he? 


Two is there an objective psychometric tool that could be used to measure this?
I reckon there is: a simple mathematical calculation which I will call the Solipsism Index™. First take the total number of songs recorded, divide it by the sum of titles including a first person singular pronoun then express the result as a percentage. 

So, according to The Elvis Encyclopaedia, the King recorded 657 different songs. Of these, 61 start with the first person singular and 30 more include it elsewhere in the title. A further 80 feature the first person accusative, genitive or dative. This gives a total of 171. (Five songs, by the way, include more than one first-person word. One features ‘me’ twice.) 

Performing the psychometric analysis on this data gives a figure of 26 per cent. Thus, Elvis’ Solipsism Index™ is 0.26. In other words, Elvis was just over one quarter self-centred. By comparison, Frank Sinatra’s Solipsism Index™ is 0.28.

Tomorrow One degree of Elvis. I kiss a woman who had (almost) sex with the king

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