Art Showdown: Cooking vs. Music

This past Tuesday, after the second big snowfall, I insisted that Murray accompany me to Ikea. Trips to Ikea must always be planned thoroughly: the day of the week and time of day must be carefully selected, otherwise the place is too crowded and I can’t stand being in crowded places. Our time at Ikea was, as usual, slightly satisfying but completely forgettable. At any rate, there was still tons and tons of snow on the roads, and the usually short drive home took nearly an hour.

When driving, and especially when stuck in traffic, Murray likes to listen to the CBC; he says it means he’s an adult now, and I would tend to agree, but would expand the definition to him being a “true Canadian adult.” Anyhow, Q was on, and our good friend Jian Gomeshi was interviewing a dude named Jonah Lehrer. Lehrer is the author of the recently published Proust was a Neuroscientist, a book that “…explores the oft-overlooked places in literary history where novelists, poets and the occasional cookbook writer predicted scientific breakthroughs with their artistic insights1.” . Further exploration of Mr. Lehrer’s blog immediatley reminded me that I’m not nearly smrt smart enough to dedicate myself to such a read, and while the Q interview and other reviews have peaked my interest, I’m just too impatient to collect all the facts…or perhaps I am without the desire to be 100%, fully informed, but why should I, when 79% has always worked so well?

The conversation between interviewer and interviewee took a slight tangent to cooking, where they discussed the science of cooking and the innovations of Auguste Escoffier, including the deglazing technique. At any rate, it all got me to thinking about cooking, and how the more simplistic and “old-fashioned” you cook, the “better” your food is considered. Like how some people freak out if you cut a pie crust in a stand mixer, or even with a pastry cutter: they insist that if executed properly, using your hands results in a better crust. So then why, in cooking, as an artistic form, is it better to be traditional and, dare I say, boring, where as in music, boringness and being labelled as “derivative” promises a fate worse than death? Why is a well made apple pie awlays amazing, and Jet so absolutely horrible?

That’s really harsh and I apologise but I’m trying to make a point. Do I? I’m not sure but the idea kept me awake last night and I coulnd’t fall asleep until I jotted it down. Music is so incredible and powerful and in my rummaging through the smart bits of the internet I read about Oliver Sacks, another brainy dude. Anyhow, he recenlty published a book called Musicophilia which outlines the immense and innate powers music has on the human body. And if my assumptions might, for a second, be validated, Sacks suggests that the physiological and psychological effects of music on people are deeply connected. Or as he says: “humans are a musical species.”

Bottom line? Don’t deny undeniable music. It’s essentially inhuman to be hateful of music that speaks to you. Being a discerning and critical music listener makes you a better person, and being improperly swayed by poorly written songs makes you, well, inferior? Um…yeah, maybe.

Listen to the Q Podcast here: Q: Dcember 18th

1 Publisher’s Weekly: Nonfiction Reviews: Week of 6/11/2007

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