Proust Questionnaire Number Fifteen

Proust Quote:
“Everything great in the world comes from neurotics. They alone have founded our religions and composed our masterpieces.”

Confessions Question:
What I hate the most.

Confidences Question:
What I hate most of all.

Proust’s Answer:
What is bad about me.

I’m clearly too arrogant to hate what is bad about me and I try not to dwell much on the concept of hate. In fact, I think I can state with a clear conscience that I don’t actually hate anybody.

There are concepts or things that I hate. I hate the Boone Speedway. I hate golf. I hate the fact that Pufferbilly Days is held at the fairgrounds. I hate the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Notre Dame and Duke. I hate the Yankees and Cubs.

Above all things though, I hate ignorance. Perhaps that is a way of hating what is bad about me, but not in a straight line sort of way.

I hate what ignorance brings. Ignorance brings ideologues. I hate ideologues. Ignorance brings prejudice. I hate prejudice. Ignorance brings anti-intellectualism. I hate anti-intellectualism.

However, the way that ignorance effects my every day life (besides having to read news stories about death panels. With apologies to Se7en, “I’ve been trying to figure something in my head, and maybe you can help me out, yeah? When a person is as dumb as Sarah Palin clearly is, do they know that they are dumb? Maybe they are just sitting around, reading “Guns and Ammo”, trying to put a verb next to a noun in a futile attempt to actually complete an intelligible thought, do they just stop and go, ‘Wow! It is amazing how frigging dumb I really am!'”) is my ignorance when it comes to subjects that can be used for making small talk.

I am terrible when it comes to small talk, but I don’t want to put in the time it would take to keep me abreast of the subject that is invariably the focus of small talk – television.

Contrary to my reputation I am not an elitist. I do own a television. It is frequently on. I can’t deny that it is to some degree little more than a monitor for my Blu-ray player, but I do frequently watch sports, news, documentaries, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. In the future I will be giving the show Dexter a shot, but other than that I am completely and utterly ignorant of most television programs.

When I am in a group of people that I don’t know well (okay this even frequently happens with people that I know well) I am frequently reduced to little more than a background observer while the others happily chat about the latest episode of Big Brother or about the winner of American Idol or the latest crime solved on Law & Order: NCIS – Miami.

I do not mean to sound greedy. I do not need to be the center of the attention constantly. I can be a background observer occasionally dropping a mind-blowing dimebag of insight on the conversation, but when I get involved in these conversations I cannot really pay attention. I am often forced to drift off to Willy-land. There are chocolate waterfalls and gumdrop forests in Willy-land. That is where I remain until there is a word that draws my interest and breaks through the boredom induced haze.

What I truly wish is that there was a website for people like me that are small talk handicapped. A website where I would go before parties and other social engagements and learn just enough to fake my way through the night. The website could feed me just enough information so that when I was thrust into one of these conversations I could laugh knowingly and when the moment was right I could interject something like:

“Oh yeah. That Adam Lambert is super talented.”


“Sgt. So and So really nailed him on that episode.”


“I totally saw that. David Hasselhoff is such a card!”

Then I could retreat back to the anonymity of the background. New money of course, but part of the club.

4 thoughts on “Proust Questionnaire Number Fifteen”

  1. Give a try (it's named for a David Fincher movie and Chuck Palahniuk character). It's an ascerbic take on pop culture gossip – I don't know who a lot of the celebrities featured are, but I at least know some random piece of info on them if they are to come up in conversation. Since I can't stand any reality TV (or most situation comedy – Charlie Sheen should not be employed), this is useful.

  2. I had never heard that quote before about artists and religion. Thanks for sharing it. I know even less television than you do but…

    You have a great blog and I really enjoyed reading some of your archives. The way you write is fun to read.

    Kindest regards,
    Tom Bailey

  3. Angie,

    Do you mean the character I reference in the earlier blog? I will check out that website. I remember Lowell being a big fan of that website.


    Thanks for the compliment!

  4. That's the exact character! Not the Se7en Brad Pitt, but the Durden Brad Pitt! (Although I really love the "Guns and Ammo" scene…)

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