[lit-ideas] Re: SUNDAY'S poem: embraced, utilized, unique

  • From: David Ritchie <ritchierd@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 11 Dec 2004 14:36:13 -0800

on 12/11/04 7:52 AM, John Wager at johnwager@xxxxxxxxxxx wrote:

> Museums are indeed places to stumble over the smoke of those gone.
> Your Sunday poem prompts me to ask if you remember the Roy Lichtenstein
> tryptich, three views of Rouen Cathedral, after Monet.
Thank you for taking the time to respond thoughtfully and at length to the
poem.  It made my day.

Lichtenstein was not on the walls.  Two floors had been given over to the
Bruce Mau thing, which is what we went to see.  Bruce Mau seems to think
that design's "processes" are going to help reform the way humans make
decisions.  But what was the first object we encountered in the show?  The
Segway Human Transporter: useless on roads because cars will crush it,
useless on sidewalks because it threatens and impedes pedestrians.  Humans
could choose to empty city centers of all traffic--not uncommon in
Europe--and then ride these, but that would not be a design process so much
as a messy political debate of the kind we've always had.

I was very interested to see the collection of objects in the show, but
objects were, we were told, not the point.  The point was that in a
cacophonous culture--there were two very interesting rooms, one filled with
images, one with sound--design and new materials and good intentions were
somehow going to move us towards a better future.  To me it was the
Bauhaus--better living through good design--with ingenuous spatterings of
hope added as collage elements.

Coming out into the bleak and insistent rain, my sense was that world will
stumble along in its usual belly-scratching fashion, shaved but unsaved.
The latest evidence in support of this proposition is to be found in
Wednesday's "Dining In" section of the "New York Times," which reports that
the Ardbeg distillery on Islay is making bread with grist in it, something
that adds a smoky flavor.  "Fine," I thought, "I'm 'for' experimentation in
the kitchen."  But then I "listened" to the English of the person who runs
the place, Jackie Thomson, "Our food is very unique to the area, so everyone
really embraces it."  And his or her colleague, Ms. McKechnie says, "We
really like to utilize all our resources."

Please, please, let it be that Sarah Doyle Lacamoire, who wrote the piece
for the Times, just has a tin ear.  Or, if Scots really have begun to talk
like this, lie to me.  Tell me there ain't no very uniqueness being embraced
and utilized in my homeland.

David Ritchie
Portland, Oregon

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