Monday, January 11, 2010

melt, line, stupidity

Posted by PicasaFissures appear in the thick layer of snow that lies on top of the hedge which next summer I will have to cut.
Darts is not a game that I know well. I don't even know how the scoring works. On the few occasions when I have played it, someone who knew had to point out the place on the board where I was supposed to aim. But watching the World Darts Championship on TV, I am impressed by the way the participants narrow their eyes, and as they take aim, lean into their throw. The UK is, I learn in a newspaper article, preeminent in the sport. Could sport be the right word? If it is, the participants do not strike me, judging by a certain heaviness about the jowls and midriff, as being fit in the sense that other sportsmen tend to be. I also learn a new word from the article. The word is "oche " and it refers to the line, groove or ridge behind which a darts player must stand when he throws. It occurs to me that I must be permanently on the wrong side of the oche.
Everyone in public life should read Montaigne on The Art of Conversation. Every blogger or would-be blogger, too. "Stupidity," he says, "is a bad quality, but to be unable toItalic bear it, to be vexed and fretted by it, as is the case with me, is another kind of disease that is hardly less troublesome, and of this I am now going to accuse myself". And I accuse myself with him!. The Best of Now, in pursuit of beautiful, interesting and amusing things, is designed to exclude, for the most part, incidents of stupidity and its impact on our daily lives. But sometimes it is hard. Thank you , Montaigne, for your understanding. What a marvelous blog you would have written. But then, in a sense, you did.


Roderick Robinson said...

I see Montaigne is referring specifically to stupidity in conversation, an activity rife with this failing. Theoretically it should be possible to eliminate it from blogging by prolonged periods of contemplation and by allowing equally lengthy gestation. But these options are not possible in conversation; even a pause that lasts two or three seconds would be unendurable. It is quite conceivable that some people are not really equipped for it and, I suspect, are beyond training. I imagine them wearing a small plaque which they have worded themself and which provides a compensatory option to shine. "In speaking to this person you are risking acute disappointment if you expect stimulating replies. He does, however, have a vocabulary of 37,000 words, is capable of using "rebarbative" and "jejune" appropriately and is equipped with a pad of 3 x 2 in. sheets which have in the past furnished a string of apercus that have led to controlled laughter. Patience is his only requirement." If I used it at The Blogger's Retreat we would at least have a record of one side of the conversation.

Unknown said...

In this wonderful essay "conversation" is given as "discussion" in one modern translation and "conference" in another. I have yet to check how M's contemporary Florian translated it or, important what word is employed in the orginal French which I do not as yet possess.

It strikes me that the nature of on-screen communication is a little closer to conversation, than an exchange of letters. Hence my feeling that Montaigne would have seen in the rules and practice of conversation something close to those (if they exist) of blogging.