<= 2004.07.02

2004.07.05 =>

q & a: 3

Can you tell a pansy from a rose from an iris?

If you put the three in front of me, I could get it right, but only by inference; I don't know what pansies look like. (Obvious joke skipped.) Irises are my favorite flower, followed closely by orchids. Southeast Portland front gardens seem to have a lot of them.

If you watched TV as a kid, what was your best-loved program?

This is a bit tough. I Dream of Jeannie almost won. But after my Sesame Street and Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye years were over, I would have to go with The Pink Panther Show. Weirdly, the BBC aired it all the time when I was living in England, so I watched it a lot that year; even though our television was black-and-white, obscuring the pinkness of the panther, I had a fascination with big cats, especially one with this much savoir-faire and the good grace never to open his mouth. The Inspector Clouseau shorts were all right, while I only dimly remember the Ant and the Aardvark, but I never got tired of watching that panther's adventures set to Mancini. I recommend you follow the link and relive the cartoon.

What makes this game a "meme?"

I dunno. That's what Douglas and Lauren were calling it. While the basic concept of a q&a might not be distinctive enough to count as a meme, this particular strain going around the web seems to fit the definition.

If you had a choice between being James Joyce or Bono, who would you pick?

Being? That's an odd kettle of fish. Given that Joyce was alcoholic, depressed, neurotically fixated on his wife's fidelity, and skirting the poverty line for most of his life, I have to say Bono probably leads the happier existence. And Bono still lives in Dublin as opposed to Joyce's exile, so getting a pint of Guinness would never be a problem, unless I-as-Bono was touring Laos or something. But that comes with the territory.

I surmise from reading Metameat for several years that you are quite intelligent. Why, then, don't you exercise regularly?

Dr. Sisyphus's Super-Fat-Burning Workout
Boulder, up hill
Boulder, dropped

What cause are you willing to die for?

The older I get, the more suspicious I become of abstractions. I don't think I could accurately define most of the isms, let alone summon enough passion to lay down my life for them. I would hope that in a clear moral test case—pushing a six-year-old out of the path of a bus, something like that—I'd act without regard for my own life, but having never been in that situation I can't tell you for sure. Have you seen the John Sayles film Men With Guns? There's a scene where a priest who had served in a Central American village recounts how the army showed up and gave the names of six people in the village who had to be killed for suspected subversion; the priest was one of them. He fled and later returned to the village to find it burned to the ground. Would you stay there, knowing your death would allow hundreds to survive? It seems to me that this sort of sacrifice, rather than any nebulous "cause," is the important thing.

what's it like being fluent in and intelligent about so many media? Do you think it's ultimately energizing or distracting?

Well, I should probably amend that to "what's it like to know just enough to name-drop people and schools of thought in a wide range of media?" I think I'm actually qualified to express opinions about fiction and rock music; on everything else I'm "an enthusiastic amateur" or "that fucking dilettante who shows up at cocktail parties and pretends to know everything," depending on your viewpoint. But I really do treasure the scraps of knowledge I've picked up from various fields, and they do seem to inform each other in unexpected and enriching ways, all the damn time.

This blogsite has morphed into an interesting thread. Based on the great lyrics of your albums, actually ballads, what are your thoughts about doing a rap song or album?

I don't know about rap. I could try to do Mark E. Smith's aggrieved sing/speak some time, and see where that takes me.

is there indeed no sauce in the world like hunger? (i think it's true)

So do I. It seems to me as an amateur hedonist that any pleasure too often indulged is a pleasure dulled; marathon sessions of adolescent onanism aside, isn't a color film a marvelous thing after weeks of watching black and white, a punk record after a glut of symphonies, a poem after a stack of nonfiction books? Or vice versa? About every two months I will buy a Snickers bar in the supermarket; once every four or five months I will step into McDonald's and order fries and a Coke. With impunity.


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