The soft underbelly of knowledge

In the reading a few weeks ago for one of my classes, I came across this tidbit on gossip:

All gossip has an element of curiosity in it, of wonderment, and that means some quest, however infinitesimal, however distorted, for knowledge. If we were to adopt the metaphor “body of knowledge,” we might perhaps say, using a famous phrase from recent political and military history, that gossip constitutes the soft underbelly of knowledge. Gossip is the small tribute that our passionate and appetitive life pays – in very, very small coins – to intellectual life.

Jacob Klein, “The Idea of Liberal Education” in The Essays and Lectures of Jacob Klein, p. 159-160.

I post this quotation to justify the two links which follow, because they are a couple of guilty-pleasure reads. 

The first is a profile of Jenny Slate. You surely know her as Mona Lisa Saperstein, and as the voice of Marcel the Shell. If you are in the loop, you also know that she dated Chris Evans (turns out grad school puts you out of the loop…I learned it by reading this profile). Anyway, part of the fun of reading this profile is getting the inside scoop on Mister “I Don’t Wike It“: “I first really liked Chris as a person because he is so unpretentious,” she says. “He is a straight-up 35-year-old man who wants to play games. That’s it. I was like, ‘I’d better not discount this, because this is purity.’ ” So you kinda get two-for-one with this profile. That’s nice. {Warning: she’s a liberal comedian with all the endemic vulgarity—not just swearing but also graphic descriptions of bodies. Read at your own risk.}

And the second is…. well….


By most definitions, Tom Hiddleston is…uncool. His vulnerability, his enthusiasm, his Bolognese, these are not trademarks of a dashing movie star. And yet here he is, a sweet-natured bookworm trapped in the second act of a movie where the overlooked geek has been given the face and body of the only man who should ever be allowed to wear a suit (or jeans, or that long-sleeve navy T-shirt he wore when we had dinner).


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