Book Tag Trackback
A few days later, the pesky part of my brain that's always causing trouble pointed out that it shouldn't (theoretically) be that hard to figure it out - Just track backwards from tag to tag until you get to the beginning (or a dead end).
So let's see. I was tagged by Greg at Sinister Thoughts.
He was tagged by Damian at Babbling Brooks.
Damian was tagged by Alan at Occam's Carbuncle
Alan was tagged by Jay at the Freedom to Serfdom
Jay was tagged by Freeman, Libertarian Critter
Freeman was tagged twice, so for now I'm just going to go with the first one listed, which was Wally Conger at Out of Step.
Wally was tagged by Thomas Knapp of 'Knappster: Blog Naked for Jesus'
Thomas was tagged by Thomas Luongo of Being Thomas Luongo
Alas, Thomas only says that he is writing as a favour to his friend the e-e and doesn't provide a link. This cryptic reference is resolved by Thomas Knapp who notes that the tag was in relation to a project of the Eclectic Econoclast.
The Econoclast was tagged by Peter Mork at Economics With a Face
Peter was tagged by Tim Sandefur at Freespace.
Tim was tagged by John at TexasBestGrok
John was tagged by Rob at The Llama Butchers
Rob was tagged by The Irish Elk
The Irish Elk was tagged by Father Ethan at Diary of a Suburban Priest.
Ethan was tagged by Zadok the Roman at 'The Commonplace Book of Zadok the Roman'
Zadok was tagged by Lauren at Cnytr
Aside: I'm starting to wonder if it's just bloggers all the way down.
Lauren was tagged by Cole at Deo Gratias
Cole was tagged by Epiphany at Minivan Mom
Note: A few days later, Epiphany links to Craig Canton (June 6 entry. no permalinks) who had the same idea I did. He tracked this chain back a few more links from Minivan Mom but hits a dead end at Sarcastic Kitty who doesn't provide a link to who tagged her.
Although - she does name the site, and with some digging, it is here - but it's password protected. So there you go, Andrew - someone doesn't want you to know who started this...
Let's try a different branch.
Freeman was tagged twice, so let's track back from his other tag, from Kristen at 'Enjoy Every Sandwich' - no this chain goes quickly back to Wally Conger.
Hmm, if we really want to find out where this started we need to employ some technology on our behalf, specifically Technorati.
After doing some digging, it seems that sarcastic kitty must have either been the first blog to use this particular meme or else changed the wording of the first question, since that wording 'number of books you've (or I've) owned' has no Technorati references (that I can see) prior to mid-May when the Kitty entry appeared.
Looking around more, I see that a slightly different version (which asks 'how many books do you have 'in your house') has been slowly winding it's way through the seemingly large and insular world of knitting blogs for quite a while now - although it seems to be finally dying.
I tracked the knitting thread back to a dead end on April 15 at Stitch but, looking at Technorati it appears that this particular version arose out of the murky, poorly linked depths of live journal sometime in last February (with a few comments suggesting it jumped to there from mailing lists). See here for an entry from Feb 25.
Meanwhile, from March 31, here's a version which asks how many books you've read in the last year.
This version tracks back into French
And it looks like we can actually track this one back to its source at L'Atelier D'Anne on March 4th. This version of the quiz appears to die in early April in English, but is still going strong in French.
Note: Miss Vicky received both this version and the 'how many books do you own' version.
So to summarize, there was a version which asked for the 'Number of books you have in your house' which seemed to emerge out of livejournal in late February but is now dying.
Meanwhile, there was a separate version which asked 'How Many books do your read a year' which started from a French website. This version crossed over into English but died (in English) in early April.
The original 'How many books in your house' may or may not have mutated at some point into 'How Many Books You've Owned' (which suddenly appeared seemingly in many placs at once in mid-May) which mostly likely evolved into 'How Many Books You Own' and then 'How Many Books I Own' - the version I received and the one most active currently. Alas, I haven't found any of the 'missing links' which would show where these mutations occurred, so it's possible that the newer versions were just 'designed' by some 'God'-like being. Or not. But they seemed to emerge around mid-May with an improved reproductive strategy of a specific request to 'tag' 5 more people as opposed to just passing it on to 3.
Finally, via Bound by Gravity I see that Robot Guy tracked a parallel book meme (which asked about Fahrenheit 451) to a source at the Pink Bee on March 4th. Interestingly, the 451 meme spread and died much quicker than the 'how many books' variants. I originally just thought the 451 meme was totally separate, but given the similarity of the last line (Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?) to the late Feb. livejournal entries, it is likely that the 451 meme was also a mutation of this earlier meme (or maybe that's just a standard final line of a meme and they did have separate origins).
Do you ever start something, thinking it will be simple only to end up spending way more time on it that you expected? Anyway, I guess that doesn't really answer your question Andrew, but I gave it a shot.