Sunday, May 25, 2008


One of the more illuminating conceptions of taste I have heard is a description my friend (with a mixture of condescension, appreciation, and vanity) applies to people's unique constellations of interests, the conceit of a town. For me, "Parkerville"--for someone else, let's imagine "Megan City" and "Larry Town."

The idea is, there are certain interests we have that are irreducibly particular to us: when we mention them, we are alienating people. What we find important or think to be famous, is actually peculiar and local. These interests weird people out and our very much strictly for us.

I like a few things about this. 1) It doesn't rule out shared, overlapping, universally agreed-upon tastes. Not everything someone likes is "within their jurisdiction." 2) It allows us to describe the interests of boring people or people with bad tastes in a more interesting way. Is there not an *interesting* (or bizarre) ur-phenomena at the root of even the most pedestrian tastes? 3) It allows us to think of people's appreciations as being never-neutral. What someone likes about the Godfather, let's say, might be completely determined by their weird local feelings.

I don't want to talk about real people who aren't me. So I'll give examples from myself:

For myself: VH1 "pop-up video"; Lord of the Rings RISK; Sergeant York; Everybody Loves Raymond; The Song of Roland; D'Aulaire's book of Norse myths; mediocre Swedish hardcore; biographies of Napoleon; the fourth Danzig solo album; etc.

Is it not true in some way that in our adult lives we are merely playing dress-up with our 10th-grade self?


Mike Noble said...

I forget whether we've ever discussed this, but D'Aulaire's Norse and Greek myths were two very formative books for the town of Noblium. So glad they're back in print!

Dan Gr said...

wouldn't Noble Hill have made more sense?