Saturday, April 21, 2007

What is it about miniatures?

Cut and paste the link below to an amazing DIY miniature version of Bag End, Bilbo and Frodo's ancestral home.

http://community.livejournal.com/little_world/39277.html?view=211565
















Unbelievable.


What, indeed, is it about miniatures? Doll houses, dioramas, model train layouts, all endlessly fascinating. I'm not sure if it's the "let's play God!" impulse, or a translation of that urge that drives us to climb mountains and seek out high places--that the more we can see around us, the more time we'll have to react to whatever it is that might be coming to kill and eat us. Which could be another way to play God. Bolstering the illusion of delaying the inevitable lets us push away the nihilism that can creep in as we play out our lives. It's almost a counterbalance to the myriad of small and large deaths and reminders of death that fill each day. One of the connections Harry Frankfurt makes in On Bullshit (which I just read Thursday for a class presentation on The Hoax, the story of Clifford Irving's Howard Hughes Autobiography scam) is the similarity of Hot Air and Bullshit. Both are ways of saying that a person's words are without what we think of as content, that just as excrement is food-substance stripped of nutrition, so hot air is exhalation stripped of content. Frankfurt ends his exploration of Bullshit in a different place than I would end mine (the final words of the book: "sincerity is bullshit." No joke.), using it to take potshots at the death of "reality" thanks to modern scholarship. One focus of feminist and other scholarships is consideration of the ethics and repercussions of one's work, and I was disappointed in Frankfurt that he dealt with what I see as today's greatest and most dangerous Bullshit slingers (advertisers, the president, spokespersons, PR flacks, etc.) only glancingly. Post-modern scholarship isn't the source of all the Bullshit we are drowning in, but rather an attempt to make sense of it, a reflection of the way we are changing as a culture.
...What was I talking about all this bullshit for again? Oh, Frankfurt makes the point that shitting is a small, daily (if you're lucky) reminder of death, that poop is one of the deadest substances we encounter. I'm probably going to update and change this post, since it's early on a Saturday morning, and the brain, she is not working so good. Here's some photos of a diorama in the International Museum of Folk Art, in Santa Fe, NM.: