vendredi, septembre 09, 2011

The inch deep and a mile wide woman

Yes, that's me.

Yesterday I was having a debate with a new friend over (believe it or not) the reputed words of astronomer (and Rick Perry's new BFF) Galileo: "And yet it moves."

I said it wasn't clear that Galileo had ever said these words.

He said he most definitely did say them.

We both scoured the Internet and though his New York Times trumped my Wikipedia citation, I stuck to my guns.

I'm pretty good at having random arguments over irrelevant facts. Possibly I'm even better at it than Rick Perry.

But then my pal asked me to co-write an article with him about the idea that a theory of falsibility could be applied to journalism. I demurred. I'm not an intellectual, I told him. Being a journalist has turned me into a pragmatist. What might work, a standard, is less important to me than what does work.

Your theory. Your passion. Your article (I offered to edit).

I have lots of friends who are genuine intellectuals. They read Jorge Luis Borges (because he'd somehow escaped them until now), know about contemporary art, see indie movies so that they can talk about the lighting.

They are passionate about the world of ideas.

And so, to an extent, am I. The aphoristic, second-hand soundbite world that the Internet has made so readily available to everyone can make me crazy. I'm enough of a professor's kid to want people to think for themselves. After dipping my pinkie into the world of New Age ideas, I am disturbed by the amount of sheer pablum that gets passed around and called insight.

If there's an app for it, I'm curious. If not, send it back.

But I'll take Bill Bryson's books over the latest translation of a 19th-century Swedish classic any day. I'd rather see a clever comedy than a Quentin Tarantino flick most nights. I want to know how to make a great ratatouille, not the theory behind French chefery (sic).

I love to hear conversations about what's proven to put people back to work, not the theory behind the Hungarian school of economics (I'll learn the theory, and the correct country, if the Republicans win).

I discover what I need to know...and when I have time, a bit more. Sometimes you never know where curiosity will take you...

But more or less practical people (including guys) are those I want around me.

How about you? Intellectual? Practical? Both? There's nothing wrong with dreaming. It's just sometimes difficult to tell the difference between it and reality.

Given the choice, I hope I pick right.

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