Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Desert Islands.

If you were on a desert island, what one [book] [movie] [food] [CD] [fingernail polish] [not that last one] would you take with you? This dinner table game, or some version thereof, seems endlessly amusing to my family, and even more amusing if you play it with a shifting cast of family characters. My brother and his family were here briefly this weekend, and after hearing my son sing a role in The Gondoliers (silly opera, magnificent son!), we sat around a big table at a Chinese restaurant and discussed this matter.

It does not pay to get philosophical with this game, I found, at least not with this group. My daughter, the pistol, basically disallowed all my choices. My desert island music? Keith Jarrett's recording of the Shostakovich Preludes and Fugues, a work and a performance that are endlessly beautiful and interesting. Desert island movie? I said Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, mainly because I think that its combination of inventive narrative structure and emotional directness would be something to contemplate for a long time. The spunky daughter argued that these were not, in fact, my favorites. And she's probably right--but maybe your favorites aren't what you want on a desert island, after all. Maybe what you want is something that your soul could rise to. Something that would, Old Testament style, give you a little lick of the refiner's fire. Are you really going to elect to listen to pop music, however great the pop music, on the desert island, whence you might never be rescued?

As you can see, my desert island is worlds away from my daughter's. So screw me--I can't even visit her island, as with my sad, overly philosophical choices, I would have "nothing to offer" her.

As for food, I wanted to say the green papaya salad at Thai Delight, but because I knew she would disallow this as well, I said pasta. With shrimp, garlic, and parmesan, which would be pretty good, too.

1 comment:

theorris said...

I'm always interested in these sorts of quizzes. I mean people ask all the time what's you favorite X. (Whatever the X represents in the question.) The truth is I don't have that many "favorites" per se. I mean I have things that I don't like at all but I generally don't classify things that I like as "the best." I blame it on my lack of taste, I guess. Perhaps it is too broad tase?

If I were stuck on a desert island, however, I'd have to have a good amount of tasty shiraz, a strong collection of Bach, Beethoven, and maybe Listz, a collection of Greek plays, and, as pedestrian as it sounds, bacon. I wouldn't throw anything pop into the mix mostly because it would be boring, as you said, after a certain term. Sure I would long for the odd pop musical hit, and I would miss reading new things from contemporary authors I like, and I sure as hell would want to have curry, but I could muddle through with my German music, my Greek drama, my tasty Australian wine and my bacon.

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