April 13, 2016

Piet was by profession a builder, in love with snug right-angled things
John Updike, "Couples"

Harold believed that beauty was what happened between people, was in a sense the trace of what had happened, so he in truth found her, though minutely creased and puckered and sagging, more beautiful than the unused girl whose ruins she thought of herself as inhabiting.
John Updike, "Couples".
I enjoyed this book quite a lot; like "Fear of Flying", I think I enjoy reading about sex and relationships in earlier eras. I liked the banter of the couples, the romantic letters a few of the lovers wrote, and was really stirred by this empathy when one of the adulterers accidentally gets his lover pregnant, that nightmarish "Oh, CRAP" kind of feeling of the unexpected expected phone call...

Another nice little passage:
Mouths, it came to Piet, are noble. They move in the brain’s court. We set our genitals mating down below like peasants, but when the mouth condescends, mind and body marry. To eat another is sacred.

Wired on Susie Mc­Kinnon, a woman who has no episodic memories. It's astonishes me how normal a life she is able to lead; it really shines a light on how bad my mental model of our way of thinking our way through the universe is, much like I kind of can't get over how kids can have conversations before they are potty trained. Or the way the brain rebuilds itself after stroke-like conditions (I'm tempted to watch that Netflix "My Beautiful Broken Brain" that had this giant billboard over one of the HONK!TX events in Austin.) Rationality and formal thinking are such powerful tools, but they're just not what we DO.

It's also a great philosophical question of who has a "better" life: McKinnon, who remembers nothing, or Jill Price, who remembers everything.
http://cheezburger.com/8762580224 Heh. In the same vein of "did Adam have a bellybutton", fun thinking about the implication of Jesus not having a source of a Y chromosome...