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Brief Notices XV

Another selection of items I wish I had more time to dwell on.

To start, there is an excellent scholarly review by Denis Dutton of Joseph Carroll's "Literary Darwinism:  Evolution, Human Nature, and Literature."   Carroll posits that "the narrative proclivities of human beings, far from being an incidental by-product of the evolved mind, are central to some of its most human functions."  Fiction, he says "provides us templates for a normal emotional life."   Fascinating stuff.

Tv_dinner_copy_1Talking of fiction, I remember as a young writer in the mid-1960s discovering Terry Southern through a collection called, I believe, "Red Dirt Marijuana and Other Stories."  I devoured everything of his I could get my hands on. An article in the Washington Post reminds me that Southern's "The Magic Christian" features "Guy Grand, a billionaire who amuses himself by staging elaborate pranks that cause people to reveal how much they're willing to degrade themselves for money."  Does that remind you of any TV shows you've seen recently?

And while you "enjoy" all those reality TV shows, perhaps you will also be "enjoying" a TV dinner, which celebrates its 50th birthday this year.  A good little article in the Christian Science Monitor informs us that the TV dinner was created first to deal with an excess of poultry after the 1953 Thanksgiving season.  The first TV dinner sold for 98 cents and "let customers feast on turkey with corn bread stuffing, buttered peas, and sweet potatoes - right in front of their television screens."

Finally, and completely unconnected, I want to mention this wonderful site -- chordbook.com -- through which I am sure one could learn the fundamentals of guitar playing.  It is incredibly enriching that people put this stuff out there for free.

November 22, 2004 in Brief Notices | Permalink


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