Monday, 31 March 2008

Monday 31 March 2008

I bought galangal
like bits of dragon spine, and
shrimp paste, like squashed shrimp

The A-Z of Rationalism

H is for Heretic (n.) Basically, heresy is the opposite of orthodoxy. This can apply to other systems of belief other than religion. Isaac Asimov distinguished between two types of scientific heretic: "Endoheretics are appropriately credentialed scientists. If the person is outside the scientific community or at least outside of his specialty, he is an exoheretic. If a person is an endoheretic, he will be considered as eccentric and incompetent, whereas if the person is an exoheretic, he will be regarded as a crackpot, charlatan, or fraud."
I imagine this makes me an exoheretic.

We had a quiet weekend. As is usual on Saturday morning I got up, blearily switched the coffee-maker on and settled down to listen to the CD review on Radio 3, which this week featured Philip Glass. The Ugly One snorted derisively at this as he considers Glass to have written the same thing for the last fifty years. He laughed out loud when the Philip Glass expert described repetition as being central to Glass’ work, and, to be fair, the UO has a point, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s anything wrong with developing an idea or concept for most of one’s working life. Chuck Close is an artist who is very much the visual equivalent, having painted vast passport-photo like portraits since the early sixties, starting as an extreme photorealist and developing into almost a human printer, building up portraits via grid sections, sometimes employing layers of cyan, yellow and magenta to produce the photographic colour process in layers of paint. One of his subjects in fact was Philip Glass.
‘There’s nothing wrong with repetition,’ I said to the UO as I sipped at my coffee.
‘Humph!’ he replied.
‘In fact, Philip Glass is the Columbo of the Classical music world.’
This also applies to Goren, of the US Detective series, ‘Law and Order: Criminal Intent.’ Goren and his female sidekick spend an hour investigating a murder with white gloves, q-tips and a hi-tech forensics laboratory, but inevitably, Goren, a man so tall that he has to put his head on one side to avoid bumping into light fittings, corners the suspect in the last ten minutes and psychologically bullies him or her into confessing.
‘It must have been tough,’ Goren might say to an initially calm suspect, ‘growing up with everyone calling you Fat Lulu and being abused with twiglets by the man at the sweet shop…’
The suspect’s lip will start to tremble at this point.
‘And so,’ Goren will continue, ‘you could not stand to watch your wife stuffing twiglets into her face day after day and that’s why you did it, didn’t you?’
At which the suspect will leap to his feet and scream ‘Yes! Yes! I killed her! I had to! All those twiglets! She was getting so huge! I thought she was pulling the moon closer with her gravitational field and endangering the Earth! She had to die! She had to die!’
The suspect then gets carted off to the cells and Goren and his lady sidekick exchange morbidly witty remarks.
Saturday evening I cooked Kung Pao Chicken (with peanuts) and we watched Saw II.

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