Monday, January 07, 2008

The Book of Vice: Very Naughty Things (and How to do Them)

From "The Book of Vice: Very Naughty Things (and How to do Them)" by Peter Sagal as recommended by local cyclist, EclectChick. I would recommend you read Dan Savage's Skipping Toward Gomorrah instead, where he explores the seven deadly sins. Even though I read it over four years ago, I remember liking it much better. Sagal's book is good and well written, but he spends a lot of time pontificating on the psychological reasons for actions, asking more questions then he answers. And as often as his questions (and subsequent answers) come back around to people are just people, in all shades of quirks, fetishes, beauty, ugliness, drive and need, I'm not quite sure he definitively ends up there, choosing instead to focus on a people-are-all-mysteries thesis that attempts to beautify something that doesn't need beautifying because it's just so much a fact of human existence.

"Once you have successfully demonstrated your excess resources to your potential mate, you straddle her thorax, and grasp her with your pedipalps, and then--oh wait. Wrong species. But not by much.

Thus, the first principle of buying luxury items: No matter what they tell you at the Maybach dealership/jewelry store/spa, there is very little material benefit to any high-end item. Anybody who starts explaining to you, at length, why his $8,000 custom-fitted Serotta Ottrott bicycle frame with carbon fiber components, just like John Kerry's, is actually worth the money because of the way the handmade frame geometry provides the perfectly calibrated balance between stiffness and ride, with optimum motion damping for an efficient power train, really wants you to know only one thing: he spent $8,000 on a bicycle. Or, that he is John Kerry, in which case my advice to you is to back away slowly, nodding, without making any sudden movements." (p. 166-67)

1 comment:

Adam Fokken said...

I just started this book but I'm disappointed that he doesn't actually participate in any of the vices(so far). He just observes, adds some comments then takes pity. We'll see how it turns out.