Saturday, December 23, 2006

Forgive Me, Culture, for I Have Sinned

I've been "tagged" by my pal Ms. Boyd to write Five Things You Don't Know About Me. Coincidentally, just today I was going to post "cultural confessions" -- good examples of which can be found here and here.

Since some of you don't really know anything about me, so that any information would qualify for Ms. Boyd's query (I'm six feet tall, I'm a Capricorn, I was briefly but seriously addicted to Vitamin Water earlier this year), I'm going to answer with cultural confessions, thus killing the proverbial two birds.

1. I've never left the country. This is ridiculous, but true. It will be remedied before too long, I hope, and it's due to a variety of factors: not doing it as a child, preferring road trips to flying (I'm not an eager flyer), financial reasons, etc. The end result, though, is that I'm a rube.

2. I think Moby Dick is incredibly boring. For whatever reason, over the last few years I've overheard several people say they're re-reading this, more than any similar books. Wondering what was up, I gave it a go myself a couple of years ago. I still don't get the appeal. It somehow reads as both dry and overblown, and uninterested in anything resembling narrative force.

3. I've never seen 2001: A Space Odyssey, Lawrence of Arabia, or To Kill a Mockingbird.

4. I've started Saul Bellow novels a couple of times, with the same result -- 20 pages or so of thinking "Wow, he can really write," followed by a complete, irreversible loss of interest.

5. According to the Play Count column in my iTunes, I've listened to "Rich Girl" by Hall & Oates more than twice as many times as my most-often played song by Bob Dylan.

There. That felt good. I guess I'm supposed to ask three others to confess, too. It's the holidays, so they may not even be paying attention -- but if they are: Jason, MAW, and E.J. -- let's hear it.


Blogger helen_boyd said...

thanks, john.

i think people re-read moby dick in an attempt to figure out what it is they're supposed to like about it. i found a lot of it funny, & sometimes pathetic, & said. it's the characters, not the plot.

if you're getting out of the country, i highly recommend se asia.

your hall & oates admission would probably win my "guileless honesty" award if i gave one out.

i've never seen the princess bride or purple rain.

1:37 AM  
Blogger JMW said...

Well, the two caveats are: this is only my listening ON iTunes, and there are obviously a lot more Dylan songs to be spread around than Hall & Oates songs.

Still, I dig H&O, and I'm probably one of the least passionate Dylan fans among my friends. Give me Blood on the Tracks and Blonde on Blonde and you can keep almost all the rest.

2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The thing is, you get to Chapter 32 and Melville gives you an essay on cetology. He slots a gorgeously written bit of non-fiction into his novel as though it's the most natural thing in the world. Consider David Foster Wallace, for instance, when reading it:

1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get out of the country. Now. Just do it. Don't pack, just go. Seriously. I hate to brow beat you about this, but you're over 30 and haven't left the contiguous states? What is it, 1912? Come to think of it, I think there was flight in 1912. In the words of Donatella Versace, "GET OUT!"

2:19 PM  

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