Call me Russ L

Disparate thoughts

Posted in Modern Living, Stage, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 7 August, 2013

~ I had a creative idea today. I must be well over fifteen years since I last had one of those. I might write me a story.

Probably won’t, though.

~ On Saturday it was Don’t Go Into The Cellar theatre group’s “Tea With Oscar” at The Old Joint Stock – a talk show hosted by Oscar Wilde, in which he interviewed Le Petomane and Marie Lloyd. I can’t say that I thought it was brilliant. I had the wrong idea about it, I think – I was expecting some attempt at Wildean aphoristic jokes, but it was basically just innuendo. Bits of it were funny, but I do begin to grow weary after the 381st line about going up the back passage or whatever-have-you. I wouldn’t say it was played out with the greatest comic delivery, either.

Most of the audience appeared to enjoy it, though. That woman who was doing her best impression of the chorus of The Laughing Policeman could have easily been annoying, but ended up amusing.

~ I wondered, a good while ago, about the use of the word “sin” when it came to diets ‘n’ such. I have recently been informed that it’s actually “syn”, as in “synergy” – apparently it’s about eating a small number ostensibly bad things to get your metabolism suitably fired up to lose more weight in the long run. I must confess to being a teensy bit disappointed that it’s not all as Catholic as I thought.

~ You know what gets on my wick? Well, yes, more-or-less anything you might have just thought of does get on my wick, that is true. I was specifically thinking of the use of the phrase “lowest common denominator” as a cultural insult. Mostly because… well, you just haven’t thought it through, have you?

As we all know, in a mathematical context the lowest common denominator is the smallest number that you can divide all of the other terms by without getting into fractions and decimals and suchlike. The important word for the purpose of what we’re discussing is ‘lowest’.

Someone who wants to consider themself above some text have been known to describe it as “lowest common denominator”, with the implication being that it is so bland/weak/feeble that anyone could like it – the idea that Cultural Artefact X has had all of the clever or interesting edges have been filed off, lest they might possible upset anyone.

The trouble with that, of course, is that said someone actually doesn’t like it. Cultural Artefact X is clearly not the lowest common denominator, as there’s still at least one term that can’t be divided by it (so to speak) – its detractor. There would need to be a lower denominator still.

Expressing your dislike for a book or telly programme or whatnot with that phrase is essentially saying that it would need to be even more bland/weak/feeble for you to like it.

Yer fool.

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