Long before Martin Mull was featured in beer ads he was a stand up comedian. You know the kind. He went on tour, made live albums, and probably even appeared on the Merv Griffin show. It was way back then when he gave us this oft-misquoted insight:
Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.
Since then, this quote has been usurped by educator and commentator alike who then accredited it to some other source–which may explain the career path of Martin Mull. The first noun has, for the most part been swapped out with everything you can imagine. By those who wish to elevate the mysticism of their chosen content area.
My question is why do this to dance? Or to architecture? Is dancing about architecture so absurd? I would put it to you the reader that you would rather see me dance about architecture than write about most things. And you know what, it might be good. Think about it. I’ll get my shoes.
In the meantime, we may consider what this type of colorful language means to us in the real world. It causes me to think of those crackpot beat writers who seemed to have a knack for pairing words–Burroughs’ Naked Lunch for example.
I fear that we have lived and are living scripted lives.
So many digest what is provided with aplomb and grateful for it. Where are the questions? Where is the critique? As a seasoned skeptic and developing curmudgeon, let me tell you that nothing strikes my ire–gets my Irish up (trite)–more than someone who jumps in with both feet (trite) and gobbles up a presentation hook, line, and sinker (trite). Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Nunkus. Nunguna. Goose eggs. I feel, sometimes, like the only sober man at a party. Are you people serious?!
It is one of the reasons that I cannot bring myself to write a book. You see, the researcher must always provide the experts to support assertions by way of citations and references. Their data is subject to evaluation and review by anyone once published. The author is assumed the expert in the content and does not have those same responsibilities to the reader. The reader may even quote prior works of his/her own catalog for support–an honor I thought reserved for the pope.
I close urging a more skeptical approach and an avoidance of the fold-out dance steps that you lay on the floor to learn to move the way others have–be it about architecture or otherwise. Stay away from those overused expressions, myths that perpetuate only in educational examples, and phraseology that serves no purpose to expand the mind and enhance the beauty of our expression. Do something new. Think differently.