- My latest On the Scent column is up, on an auteur theory of perfume. Excerpt:
The first lie may be more damaging on the whole to perfume’s reputation. Unlike the others, which simply wave the marketing wand to make the juice seem more valuable than it is, the first lie degrades a perfume’s status as art in several ways—first, by hiding the real “designers” behind the curtain. Fashion is taken more seriously as an art in part because designers are celebrated as singular artists. Perfumers, no matter how talented, work in secret, like ghost writers—imagine if celebrity memoirs were written by award-winning authors rather than nameless hacks. Secondly it makes perfumery look easy, since designers apparently need no specialized training to do it. And finally, by lumping perfume in with fashion, the industry has created the perception of perfume as outwardly directed, as decoration—a tool to improve how you smell to others, the way cosmetics are a tool to improve how you look. This attitude neglects the potential enjoyment for the wearer. You can’t see your own face with make-up on, but you can smell your own wrist.SOTD, BTW, is Miller Harris Geranium Bourbon.
- There's something mesmerizing about side-scrolling video games. They're fun to watch, even just videos of games, where nothing is at stake. I used to love watching my brother play Nintendo. The current style, where your avatar can wander freely in a 3D-ish world, may be fun to play, but they're boring to watch, especially if you come in in medias res. You lose that simple visual indication of continual progress. Also, it seems like games don't have music anymore, just sound effects. Am I making this up?
- I'm reading a book that was made into a movie (In the Cut). I haven't seen the movie, but it's difficult, anyway, not to picture the characters as the actors cast in those roles. This is aggravating. The main character really shouldn't look like Meg Ryan.
- Do you always picture the events in fiction taking place in your own house? I do, even though my own place of residence rarely matches the setting in the book. On occasion I force myself to picture a different house, but it's almost always one in the real world. I don't, however, cast my friends in the roles of the characters.