Binging on Arts
© 10 Apr 2013 Luther Tychonievich
Licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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A long-term trend in my character that I do not understand.


As a young teenager I discovered a CD in the local library that contained “‍The Waiting‍” by Peter Buffet. For no reason I can identify, at that age that song really moved me. I obtained a portable CD player and a copy of that CD and used to walk around outside for extended periods of time listening to that track over and over and over again. Such intense focus on a single piece had been commonplace in my life; I can still recite Dr Suess books I haven’t seen since I was six, and I remember several other elements of intense focus thereafter. But that experience with “‍The Waiting‍” somehow felt different. I think it was the first time I realized that what I was doing would be seen as odd by other people.

In the years that have passed since other random creative works have been similarly over-consumed. The allegretto from Palladio by Karl Jenkins had the dubious honour of being played more times than all my other tracks combined during the one year I used the iTunes music player, which tracked these things. I once watched The Sin of Harrold Diddlebach a dozen times in a single week. There was a month where every morning after scripture study I’d listen to the segment from This American Life where Ira Glass teaches Sarah Vowell how to drive. I once read one of P. G. Wodehouse’s least interesting works, “‍Sir Agravain the Dolorous,‍” five times back to back.

There are also works I consume repeatedly because I enjoy them. Scripture is a good example; also included are Milne’s masterwork Whinnie the Pooh and House at Pooh Corner, Tolkein’s The Hobbit, Wodehouse’s Leave It to Psmith, and the 2006 short film Binta y la gran idea, amongst others. My consumption patterns of these works differ from the previous set, being more a steady diet over time rather than intense binging over a few months.

Where there are two kinds I like to have two terms. I call the steady-consumption works I can point to as virtuous and worth recommending my “‍favorites‍”. I call the binged-consumption works “‍Diddlebachian‍”. The two sets do overlap, but do not do so often.

New Diddlebachian works continue to arise in my life every year or so. I don’t know why they occur nor can I predict when they will arrive, what they will be, or how long they will last. They’ve always seemed innocuous enough so I’ve never tried to avoid them. I observe their existence as one of the many aspects of me that I do not understand.

The world if full of fascinating questions. For many you need look no farther than your own self.

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