Campus Character: Mitchell Parrish

By Meredith White

Mitchell Parrish ’14 loves Thai food more than he loves Chinese food. He loves Bazooka and Eclipse gum, but for different reasons. He loves technology but not cell phones.

“I think it would be fine if we all just had personal home phones,” he said.

However, his apathy towards cell phones and current lackluster effort to relocate his misplaced phone is not reflective of his fascination with technology. As a political science major, Parrish works for Leng Professor of International Politics Allison Stanger researching specifics within the broader topic of technology’s effects on politics. Stanger’s class, Politics of Virtual Realities left a strong impression on Parrish, as it explored technology’s role in social, political and economic realms.

“The opportunities are endless when it comes to the Internet and creating things,” said Parrish, “we’ve only scratched the surface. We don’t even know what the Internet is. We just know that we can communicate remotely now.”

According to Parrish, the potential of tapping into virtual spaces is on the horizon.

“I think it will be Matrix-esque but not as scary,” he said.

In the meantime, Parrish decided to read up on computer programming.

“I was eight chapters in and I was like why am I doing this? I’m not going to be a programmer. I just read about it,” Parrish said. “My friends like to say I’m a little more of a geek about technology than I lead on,” he added.

Parrish holds many interests outside of his passion for technology. He enjoys movies, including Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall.” He loves the Grateful Dead’s “Eyes of the World”, specifically the Nov. 11, 1974 Winterland live edition. On Tuesday, he loved the Kinks’ “Strangers.”

“I’ve always played in a band. I’ve always played with music. This semester it’s been a thing. It’s kind of become real to some point,” said Parrish who plays guitar and bass and is a member of the band Thank God for Mississippi.

This semester also marks the beginning of Parrish’s attempt at being a Garageband beat composer. Technology meets music — seems like a match made in heaven for Parrish the tech junky musician.

As a seasoned musician in the traditional sense, Parrish’s testimony gives validity to the growing front of amateur Soundcloud-caliber composers, a group that brings definitions of artistry and music into question.

“Is there too much music?” Parrish wonders. “The internet is now music, porn and cat videos. It’s limitless. It’s gotta be organized somehow. If I could be a musician, I would have to find a niche,” said Parrish.

The idea of touring as a struggling artist doesn’t sound particularly appealing to Parrish. Neither does the idea of returning to his hometown of Montgomery, Ala.

“I am proud to be a southerner. It is a very big part of who I am. But I guess I just have to do me. I think I was supposed to be born in the south but I’m not supposed to live my days there.”

“You can’t describe it,” said Parrish of southern culture. He arrived at a similar loss for words when attempting to describe the feeling of playing guitar.

“My best performance could have been Brooker two or three weeks ago,” he settled on. “It was the Whiskey Collective on a Thursday night. The feeling is you can’t do anything wrong but you’re not trying to not do anything wrong. Everything works.”

Parrish loves writing songs in the common room of his mod. There he is inspired by things people say. Everyday situtations gave rise to songs like, “So Should I Take a Shower?”

“That was the song people were singing along to at Brooker,” he said. “That was the first time I’ve seen people singing along to something I’ve written. That’s cool.”