Cal Newport today referred to the comments on my blog and my "freakishly insightful readers". He’s not the first person to tell me this. I am consistently impressed by the caliber of the comments on this blog, and in the future I will highlight the best comments more often.
A few notable comments I’ve saved over the months appear below….Keep ‘em coming…
Jackie Danicki on being a foodie:
First of all, most of the people I know who are really passionate and knowledgeable about fine food would rather eat dust than label themselves "foodies". When someone calls themselves a foodie, I often find that they want people to think that they have some special, sophisticated tastes and ideas; when confronted with someone who actually does, the charade becomes all too evident. (I’ve seen this a lot with supposed wine experts.)
You don’t have to be rich to appreciate food, because expensive restaurants are just one of the many places you can find good eats. Maybe your corner deli sells the best corned beef in the city, or the cheesemonger in the next neighborhood makes a damn fine wheel of your favorite cheese, or the nicest farmer at the weekly outdoor market brings you fresh fruit like nothing you’ve ever tasted. Good food is all around, if you look for it.
As for kids, I’m firmly of the view that they should eat no differently than their parents (with obvious exceptions for the sodium restrictions and similar dietary guidelines for the very early years). To paraphrase Nigella Lawson: If I shred good quality, fresh Parmesan over my pasta, why should I expect my child to eat sawdust-like stuff that comes from a plastic drum? It’s not like you’re dressing your kids in tutus and forcing them to speak French if you give them good food from an early age.
Most snobbery is, at its core, pretty dickless. I wouldn’t teach my children to be snobs. I’d be most proud if they could appreciate a stadium hot dog with the same sort of enthusiasm as they would the best chocolate in the world (from L’Artisan du Chocolat in London, believe it or not – beats anything in Belgium or Switzerland).
Don’t try to be a "foodie" because you feel social pressure. Just try to enjoy the food you eat because…well, it’s fun! No need to ruin it with the influence of self-described snobs.
Penelope Trunk on generational generalizations:
Every generation hates generalizations about itself. That doesn’t mean the generalizations are not true. It means generalizations about a group are obscuring to individuals, so individuals gripe about their uniqueness being obscured.
Cal Newport on parenting styles and producing high achievers:
I’ve seen a lot of different "recipes" for stand out achievement. One that seems common among affluent, college-educated young people seems to be an early exposure to getting praise for doing something unusual, which leads to the pursuit of the exceptional or different as being part of your self image. Combine this with a tolerant peer group and a few good breaks, and you have yourself a stand out.
Vince Williams on a man’s supposed "hard" and "soft" sides:
If female sources believe that poetry helps a man get in touch with his soft side, they should shout it from the rooftops.
I don’t believe a well-integrated human personality has a "hard’ side and a "soft" side that co-exist in opposition to each other.
In my opinion, thinking like that just perpetuates useless stereotypes.
I think a person should respond to situations in ‘hard’ ways or ‘soft’ ways, as the occasion demands, regardless of gender, just as in a balanced martial art.
Krishna Mony on what he can’t not do:
I just can’t let someone, worthy of my attention, get away with a weak, hypocritical argument on issues that I care about deeply, especially when it’s obvious that it’s hollow, comes unnaturally seeking not much more than momentary stardom.
It’s fun to watch the brave face (s)he is putting up betrayed by that salty smell of urine running down his/her leg.