Christmas Eve Odds, Ends, and Incomplete Thoughts

Besides providing a connection to the larger world and insight into the human condition, art is an attempt to capture moments in time.  Whether it is a painting, sculpture, photograph or a short story, novel, song, or play they all seek to find the moment of transcendence.

As a piece of the cultural and artistic puzzle, a review should do the same thing.  The reviewer should communicate his feelings at the moment he understood whether and why he did or did not like the thing he was reviewing.

I have read many reviews of books, movies, television shows, albums, beer, wine, restaurants, etc. that have been too concerned with verbal gymnastics to clearly state whether they like this thing they reviewed and whether it is worth the reader’s time to check it out.

Reviewing has to find a way to tell you the what and the why in an entertaining and educated way without sounding pretentious and grating.  Most importantly it has to convey the joy, disgust, or boredom the reviewer experienced.

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Outside of seeking the basics for survival almost everything a human does is an attempt to bridge the gap between himself and his knowledge of others.  One of the truest things in life is that no one really knows anyone else.  We may have great insight into those who are closest to us, but we can never truly know them.  We usually only catch glimpses of their true selves at most.

So all the art, all the fiction, all the sports, all the culture we create is an attempt to learn as much as we can about others and our surrounding world.  What we inevitably learn is that we are simultaneously very similar and very different.

At base, we are all human and we all have the same basic needs and wants.  All of our societies seek the same stability and safety.  The differences and the reasons for those differences is where it gets interesting.  Those differences are shaped by when and where you grow up.  Essentially, people are the same everywhere except for how they are different.

If you doubt that, watch Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown.  He is basically being paid to travel around the world, eat, and talk to people about their city and country.  It is fascinating and you can see the differences, but in those differences you can also see the similarities.

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I will hopefully, finally get the first of the IPA beer reviews up today.  I have been having a time making it interesting.  I might write tomorrow.  Of course I’m going to write tomorrow.  I have nothing else to do for most of the morning.

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