acquired taste: some autobiographical reflections

It’s better to be “an acquired taste” than to be seriously burnt out, capsized, dead or bored. It’s easier to figure out ways to be amused than it is to figure out some of the other things you need to figure out in order to survive (like how to grieve.)

I feel like the biggest theme of my 1989-1999 might be: books, records, theory [and their associated interfaces with form, abstraction and the sublime] can work as an antidote to Jesus terror, divorce blood [and their symptomatic relationship with unvanquishable feelings of shame and responsibility.]

In ways I don’t feel like enumerating, this bookish adaptation paved the way for my becoming, among other things, an “acquired taste.” People often wonder aloud about whether I am being sarcastic, like I am not in the room. They also accuse me of having tastes that are somehow more arbitrary than their own. People perceive my speech and written language as willfully obscure, my principles as willow-y and precious, and my self-effacing tendencies as arrogant.

More often than not I suspect that these folks are correct. In tribute to them, I pepper my own internal monologue with respectful impersonations of their calls to clarity, reality, authenticity, essence, pragmatism, etc. (Such as it is, this moral-epistemological stalemate will no doubt continue on this weblog and others for some time to come.)

Miraculously, there are also people who love the shit out of me in ways that eclipse this last paragraph’s rightful, well-met criticisms. (Locating these people, and accessing their loving stuff, was probably definitive for 1999-2009.) But in 1989-1999, I’d say my fortune cookie was plain enough: books, albs and more books, Lex, can whisk your mind-bile into a rich, savory “acquired taste.”

Acquiring a taste is the business of a somebody who knows that brine, however brackish, is still easier to drink than bile.


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