Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tasteless Flaunting

Bumper stickers are at very best minimally tasteless. But the perfusion of round, bubble lettered, grotesquely-cute-figured bumper stickers proclaiming that "Life is good" fulfill every criterion of tastelessness we know.

While we certainly condone flaunting curvaceous earlobes, flouncy hips, and delicate ankles, we do not condone flaunting privilege. The issue here is similar to the distinction in tastefulness between costume jewelry (eminently tasteful) and gaudy displays of precious gems (horribly tasteless). If you have the strange fortune to live in the most-consuming country in the world and drive an SUV (or wear t-shirts, or do anything really), for golly's sake don't proclaim in stupid bubble letters that "Life is good."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Theory #4: Aguste Comte

From The Positive Method and Its Application to Social Phenomena: "... respect for our ancestors is the basis of a sound social order."  He also pretty much thinks that revolution is the result of increasing specialization in the absence of religious communion.

Your grandmother wanted you to have good manners.  So unless you want to destroy the social order, you'd better demonstrate your respect for her by figuring out which forks to use when and how to write a thank you card.  This blog can help.

If you are one of those kids who wants to set the social order asunder and you're not content with using the fish fork for your salad or skipping church to get really good at algebraic topology, please contact the editorial staff of this blog immediately.  We've got advice.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Unsolicited Advice #6: Prerequisites for Party Attendance

Never arrive at a party without a gift.  My mother, a woman of little planning and huge generosity, regularly picks up stones from the driveway on her way to a gathering.  Gifts of stone, plant, or pastry are especially welcome.  Call them hostess gifts even if the recipient is male. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Unsolicited Advice #5: Get Gussied Up and Go to the Beach

That's right, fair readers, we're recommending that you look past the nylon-strapped sandals in your closet and pull out some fabulous cowboy boots. Resist the temptation to wear anything with an elastic waist on your next trip to the place where waves crash against the sand. Instead layer on the pencil skirts, sequin-embroidered tops, and sweet floral scarves. Don't forget to wear plenty of large baubles. Just leave any truly precious jewels at home. Get out to the back of the food coop and find one of those wooden pear boxes to keep your at-home stash of jewels and treasures in one place, safe from the waves' vicious thievery.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Theory #3: Archibald Alison

From "Associationism and Taste Theory in Archibald Alison's Essays" by Steven A. Jauss:

Some earlier taste theorists had appealed to associationist psychology, but they did so primarily to help explain away the obvious diversity of responses to almost any object of taste: private emotional associations with an object, they suggested, often corrupt the process by which individuals arrive at judgements of beauty, thereby giving rise to the apparent diversity of tastes [. . . .] Alison, however, dramatically expands the role of that psychology in taste theory by arguing that genuine aesthetic experience (the "emotion of taste") just is the experience of a special sort of "train" of emotional associations with an object.

Children Prepare for Their Divergent Destinies

I like the microcosmic effect of a doll's house or architectural model displayed as wall or coffee table decoration.

Panorama Doll House