My first original meme

March 23, 2007

Well, I think it’s original, anyway. Some of you may have already read my posting from yesterday, which discusses how we read, as well as our apparent intellectual shortcomings in actually reading some works. Lennard J. Davis, the author of the article to which I refer, mentions several works of literature that he knows (or thinks) he should read, but has not quite gotten around to for whatever reason. I could relate to the author’s feelings, so I mentioned some of my own shortcomings in that regard.

By now, you have probably figured out what I am going to ask. If this problem sounds too familiar, I hereby “tag” you for what I call the “intellectual self-flagellation” meme. Extreme as it sounds, I mean it in jest because some of us overagonize about the books we have not read… or the pieces of music we have not listened to, or the films we have not seen. As Davis says, we believe that we have to impress our various circles of peers, which can cause such agony. I hope that this meme will give you a chance to have a clearer conscience, and to see that you are not alone in your own intellectual shortcomings.

Also feel free to talk about fears regarding the things you think you should like, but actually don’t and wouldn’t tell your friends and colleagues. Examples may include the following:

      Telling your English lit colleagues that you find Dickens a bit too didactic to be considered great literature.
      Explaining to your circle of music-loving friends why you would rather listen to Tchaikovsky than Schoenberg, whose didacticism rendered him a horrible composer.
      Confessing to your hipper-than-thou friends that you consider Quentin Tarantino a second-rate hack with little to say after Pulp Fiction (and perhaps didactic in his own way).

Of course, the opinions listed above do not necessarily reflect those of the author.


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