Shaken and Stirred
bond, gwenda bond

feverish saturday morning
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(just fine, thank you)

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I'm not actually feverish, or dancing to disco music, but it is (sort of) Saturday morning and there's to be no common thread here, only weekend odds and ends.

Last night, after a particularly hard week at work, I was in a mood I rarely get in these days -- though I used to be extremely prone to it in h.s., college, and directly after -- which is probably a sign of personal progress. Or maybe regress. I could argue it either way. Anyway, what I really wanted, what I needed, were movies with no redeeming qualities whatsoever except that the leads were attractive and the stories unchallenging, the soundtracks overloaded and the plotting and lighting unambitious. That's right, I'm talking about the modern teen movie. Yes, I'd rather watch good old teen movies, or even not so old ones, ELECTION, PUMP UP THE VOLUME (soft spot for it), the Molly Ringwald ouvre, HEATHERS, GAS FOOD LODGING, etc. But when this _particular_ mood strikes those won't do -- I need something I haven't seen before and I have to expect it to be bad because it almost invariably is. I am not proud, nor am I ashamed.

And that is how we ended up at Blockbuster, checking out "Sweet Home Alabama" (Reese Witherspoon, not strictly a teen movie I know) and "How to Deal" (the vapid, sparkly Mandy Moore). Hmmm. Kind of interesting that this sort of genre, especially on the teen girl side, seems to be the only one in which female leads are the rule rather than the exception. Anyway, I enjoyed these movies on exactly the level I expected to and if you have similar needs during this trying holiday season: wallow my friend. It helps if your boyfriend WHO HATES THESE KIND OF MOVIES goes to bed first.

The really funny thing is this. Occasionally, mood affects taste. Normally, I'd loathe these movies, I'd yell about them, I might even get so bored as to switch them off. But, last night they were just the thing. So I guess momentary lapses of taste are to be expected in life, of all of us.

Terry Teachout has another interesting post over at "About Last Night," this one about taste (and criticism), so I thought I'd mention it. It's not about taste in the way I'm talking about it above, more in the way of things you actually like and feel strongly about (or vice versa), especially when those feelings don't correspond with conventional or popular wisdom. I particularly like this line: By the time Id picked myself up off the floor and pulled the arrow out of my forehead, Id formulated a credo from which I have never deviated in the past two decades: trust your first impressions but dont be afraid to change your mind.

I think those are words anyone who is actively engaged in and with the arts -- painting, writing, photography, music -- should take to heart. Or maybe what I mean is anyone engaged with the world.

And one last thing, another little paragraph from the excellent "INTO THE SILENT LAND: Travels in Neuropsychology" by Paul Broks:

For Wittgenstein, philosophy was not so much about finding solutions to puzzles as about correcting fundamental misunderstandings. The philosopher's treatment of a question, he said, is like the treatment of an illness. Our minds are knotted with misconceptions about the world and the job of philosophy is to unravel the knot, or, as he said, to show the fly the way out of the fly-bottle.

I've never read much Wittgenstein, that I recall anyway, but I whole-heartedly agree that this is the job of philosophy. I got into a terrible argument at Joe Sutliff Sanders' Bat Party a couple of years ago, with a friend of his who is a philosophy professor. He essentially felt that real philosophy doesn't care if it's relevant to the real world and the people living in it -- that it's too complicated to be packaged for the lay public, like much complicated science is. I took profound issue with that and still believe that if philosophy continues in this path it will become completely irrelevant. One of the reasons people still get excited about science is because scientists want people to understand why their work is important and what it actually means to the individual. Philosophy's mission statement should be about assisting people and the larger society to understand our misconceptions about the world, and I sincerely hope that this professor I argued with is an anomaly. But, based on my readings in the field, that doesn't seem to be the case. It really does seem that philosophy is becoming more and more obscure and disconnected to the day to day lives of human beings.

Is this true? Am I right? I'd love to hear someone else's opinion on that.

I think I've rambled long enough, and I apologize for the plodding seriousness of this entry. It's starting to spit snow outside. And I don't think I can stay in my pajamas all day this day. A pity, really.

earworm: "Pretty Polly," Ralph Stanley and Patty Loveless

random rec: Canada Dry Lemon Lime Twist sparkling water

namecheck: Mike "Ex-Librarian" Simanoff

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