Wednesday, September 26, 2007

White pomeranians

A challenge at the Dizzies, based on this musing by Roland Barthes. Make your own at home...

(I was struck after writing my own list by the crudeness of my own sensibility, in contrast to Barthes' striking aestheticism.)

I like/I don't like

I like: grapes, trashy novels, being lazy, the eighteenth century, irises, yellow freesias, good friends, salted cashews, anchovies, e-mail, miniature things, luridly iced cupcakes, the buttery taste of yellowtail, performing animals, glass eyes, FabergĂ© eggs, any and all cats, Jameson on the rocks, cold beer, autumn, filet mignon, salt bagels, fruit tarts, primates, blogging, working as hard as I can, the idea of north, training, swimming, running, racing, teaching, reading, writing, cardigans with zippers, nineteenth-century novels, Shakespeare, Chanel lipstick, revenge tragedies, my iPod and what’s on it, Annick Goutal Eau de Sud, making good things happen, New York, cities, the ocean when it’s cold enough to wear a sweater outside, blue aquamarine.

I don’t like: mayonnaise, dill, nutmeg, cellphones, slow elevators, balls bouncing loudly, crackly plastic bags, nostalgia, things that crash my computer (Internet Explorer, electronic letters of recommendation), sleeplessness, second thoughts, having my judgment questioned, being read aloud to, narrative jokes, grading papers, Cormac McCarthy, losing things, loud music in restaurants, unsalted butter, New Historicism, being bored.

Once, some years ago, I told my students (we had been putting together a list of things we knew about Michel de Montaigne’s likes and dislikes, in an attempt to get a handle on his style) that our passionate dislikes—however trivial and irrational—say much more about us than the things we like. This struck them as unduly negative; they dissented. . . .

(I don’t hate nutmeg, I’m just not crazy about it—also I do not believe it belongs in creamed spinach, an otherwise delicious food. On the other hand, I dislike dill so much that I almost feel it’s poisonous. But I am very fond of cilantro, and it is clear that many people feel as strongly negative about cilantro as I do about dill. Conclusion: neither should be banned. . . .)


  1. I find it so hard to believe that you like being lazy, and I am so glad there is another salt bagel fan out there.

  2. "the idea of north"--Please elaborate.

    "slow elevators"--The phrase implies there's some other kind. Please elaborate.

  3. 'having my judgement questioned'

    You buried that one quite slyly in the middle!

  4. what are your reasons for disliking New Historicism?

  5. Anonymous: Too lazy to explain!

    Becca: I am a very lazy person at heart...

    L.: Yes!

    Phil: Read Peter Davidson's book of that title! (No relation.)