Saturday, April 21, 2007

I like what I like

Two articles caught my attention today. The first was Sam Leith's column in today's Daily Telegraph: Coping with eruptions of meaninglessness. The other was this post on authenticity on The Daily Duck.

Sam Leith writes about the need people have to explain events such as the tragedy at Virginia Tech. It appears that in our inabilty to 'bear very much reality' we look for scapegoats in the form of outside influences, in Cho Seung-hui's case a martial arts film, the Bible and Moby Dick. Frankly, I find it more reassuring to know that one sick or deranged young man went out on a mindless shooting spree, than to think that every violent video game or film has the potential to inspire violent behaviour in everyone who watches it.

One of the comments on the article suggests that Cho Seung-hui was merely copying poses from games and films because, being autistic, he lacked imagination. The inference being that he was neither corrupted nor inspired by sources outside his own disordered mind. And that took me back to Duck's post on authenticity, at the end of which he says: says: I've freed myself to like what I like and dislike what I don't, no questions asked. That's the kind of freedom we all aspire to and hopefully achieve in most aspects of life as we mature.

I'm off to put my slippers on, make some cocoa and read Barchester Towers with a little Beethoven in the background, because thats what I like!


  1. Coping with eruptions of meaninglessness? Sounds like the motto of the post-Judd Alliance. At last, one thing we can all agree on.

  2. Thanks for the plug, Monix. It's gratifying to see that I'm having some influence on the world. Or frightening perhaps. I'm not sure which.

  3. Welcome, Peter. I've got used to Duck popping in from time to time but it still makes me feel as privileged as I did when my son used to bring his friends home for chocolate cake and debates.

  4. monix, what a wonderful motto for your site: "Serving intellectual chocolate cake for my son and his friends."

    Standing by for your piece on language.

  5. I've had problems with the language post - unlike my chocolate cake, it keeps turning out too heavy!

    Language development was my area of professional expertise and I'm finding it difficult to write about without sounding like a text book! I'll try a third redraft!

  6. Ah, Trollope. My very favorite. A little known benefit of senility is that one can read the classics again as if for the first time.

    The cause of the slaughter at VT lies directly on the foolishness of pretending that violent anti-social people are merely living an alternate life-style. Cho was obviously severely mentally ill and all those with whom he came into contact knew it and didn't or couldn't do anything about it.

  7. It does look as if lots of people saw that this was a disturbed young man, but either couldn't or wouldn't deal with the situation.


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