Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Difficult Pleasure

I'm on break now from playing stick ball with my six-year-old daughter.  I don't have much time to pay attention to what's going on in the world when the person in my back yard on summer break is so interesting.  So when I do get a break from summer parenting, I like to watch John Green videos on YouTube.  They're short and they're smart.  Here's the best I found today:


It makes my day better when I pay attention to Green and ignore most mainstream media clamor.  Here is yet another reason why John Green is so awesome:

"...it's not easy to read Moby Dick, but it is really fun.  Like visiting the aquarium you get to go to sea without puking.  As you know, Hank, I hate the idea that when it comes to books and learning hard  is often seen as the opposite of fun.  It's strange to me that we should be so quick to give up on a book or a math problem when we are so willing to grapple, for centuries if necessary, with a single level of Angry Birds.

When I was a student why was I so willing to work hard, much much too hard, to make people like me, and so unwilling to work hard to read great novels or comprehend the edglessness of the universe?  I don't have an answer, maybe I'll find one in comments or here at the aquarium, or maybe I'll find an answer looking at Melville's great whilte wall of a whale, but in the meantime the search is a pleasure, and a difficult one, as most great pleasures are."