Tuesday, December 3, 2002

Starving for Content

This business of keeping a blog is tricky, at times. One forever treads that fine line between pure honesty and pure entertainment, between Art and Truth... one wishes to be light and fun, yet at the same time one does not wish to be empty; one wishes to be thoughtful and profound, yet not heavy; one wishes to record the thoughts and events of one's life, yet does not wish to be mundane. And above all, one wishes to keep updating as frequently as possible... yet one does not always have something to say. I mean, I always have something to say, but I can't always formulate the words for what I have to say, or find the time to say it.

I seem to be stuck in one of those moments, right now... I can't think of anything to say that I haven't already said recently; besides, Blogger is nonfunctioning at the moment... I couldn't access at all last night, when I had the time to write, and even now there is a little message down in the corner telling me that publishing is temporarily unavailable. But I can post something now (while I have the time) and publish later (when I have the opportunity). And even with nothing of import to say, I can always find something frivolous to gabber on about.

For a while there, I was finding content with these survey memes, answering other people's questions and enjoying it all terribly; then came a period in my life that was rife with things to talk about, and the memesters were asking questions that did not spark my imagination for whatever reason, and so I fell out of the habit; but back in the heyday, I often wondered where people came up with their questions. I mean, I don't often ask questions of people... I can spend hours at a party, and come away with the merest handful of tidbits about the people I met. I will ask leading questions during a conversation, to keep things flowing, but these are really more in the form of inflected statements "Wow, please expand on that riveting thought" nature than a guided quiz program.

Some people I know turn into Barbara Walters the moment they make a new acquaintance, immediately plumbing the depths of this new person's life and discovering all there is to know about profession, partner status, background, residence, and aspirations. I on the other hand prefer to let the information unfold at its own pace, discovering things about people as I go along, putting together the little tidbits that creep into conversations about other things until I have a fairly whole picture. This process can take years... there are so many people in my life about whom I know very little in the way of trivia, like what they do for a living, or whether or where they went to college, or if their parents are still living, that question-asking people (like Grandmother) have to wonder what we spend our time talking about. And now I think about it, we essentially take turns talking about ourselves; I guess I'm generally more interested in the Presentation than the Content, and so I tend to perform my own set pieces and to let people get on with their set pieces without any prompting from the Peanut Gallery.

So anyway, a few months ago, I picked up this little book in the bargain-bin at Barnes & Noble, The Little Book of Stupid Questions by David Borgenicht, thinking that perhaps I might cull a few talking-points out of it someday when I was lacking content. The author poses a number of rather inane queries, along the lines of "Who would win in a fight," "Whom would you rather be," "Which of your friends present are most likely or least likely to do this or that," and so on and so forth. Some of the questions are fairly profound, but most make no sense. The questions are, after all, meant to be Stupid. But this morning, as I leaf through the book trying to find something to insert into this blog, nothing presents itself as useful, answerable, or even entertaining.

But alongside these questions (which I still may use someday when I am contentless again, despite the flyleaf injunction to not reproduce the contents of this book in any manner whatsoever without express permission), there are some of the best quotations on the topic of stupidity... and long-time readers will certainly agree that Stupidity (my own as well as others') is the bane of my existence... so I'm always looking for a good quote. Here is a small sampling:

"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity" — Martin Luther King, Jr.

"It is only the wisest and the stupidest who cannot change" — Confucius

"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity" — Harlan Ellison

"It is not clear that intelligence has any long-term survival value" — Stephen Hawking

"So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence" — Bertrand Russel

"The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common: instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views" — Doctor Who

So here's my question (I made it up myself, honest): Are physically beautiful people (see examples below) usually stupid, shallow, and egocentric, or is this just a myth that ugly people cling onto in desperation? Discuss amongst yourselves (or on your blog or in the comments).

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