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Ask Scott

You have questions. Scott has answers.

This is your opportunity to Ask Scott anything you want. Please keep in mind that not all questions can be answered; also, it may take a while for Scott to get around to your question. Send your e-mail to scottmiller @ loudfamily.com. Please put "Scott" in the subject line to ensure that your query doesn't end up in our spam folder by mistake!

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May 24, 2004

Scott, I only just now discovered your site, even though I'm a longtime listener of Game Theory and Loud Family. (Not an aggressive web-surfer, I guess.) My comment: I'm so blown away by reviewing the list of "favorite albums" in the Misc page. It's like you've been listening through secret headphones into my life. Wild. I realize it is partly explained by the fact that we're nearly the same age, but still uncanny seeming on first reflection. On second reflection, maybe there are legions more of us around... In any event, thanks for all yr terrific music over the decades, and best of luck.

Chet Hertz

Scott: Thanks; it's fun hearing from like-minded people. I sometimes imagine what fun it would be to have the means to operate a radio station which each day picks a fairly random date from the past, and plays what radio actually should have been playing in that era. I think it would be great to observe how accessible people would consider a lot of it today; there's no reason the average "Free Bird"-yelling middle American shouldn't have been going nuts for "Try Try Try" by Julian Cope in 1995 or "Red Morning Light" by the Kings of Leon in 2003.

--secret head


May 10, 2004

Scott, one of my favourite writers is Marcel Proust. Have you read his work?


Scott: Yes, I've read the first volume, Swann's Way. I thought it was wonderful, and I've gotten even more out of it in retrospect since reading Rene Girard's commentaries. I thought it was a fairly difficult read, though; I have doubts that I'll be able to find the time to get through all of A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu. I've only read it in translation, but Proust (or so it appears) used very long sentences to render very long descriptions. This was a man who could talk for several pages about how the light hits a steeple. In my twenties, I struggled not to be bored by some of it; I think now I'd have a better sense of how he was knitting the described events into the larger cloth. Failing reading it all, I currently have the more modest goal of reading the first volume in French; I've read one novel in French now (the 1950 sci-fi classic Ravage by Rene Barjavel) and I'm gathering the impression that while Proust for a native speaker is difficult, and Proust translated to English is difficult, Proust in French for a non-native speaker isn't doubly difficult. French doesn't seem to be at its most challenging during a careful, ornate description; it's at its most challenging when someone tosses off a quick idiom and you're supposed to know all the implications, but you don't.

Where it moves along is where Proust captures personalities and human nature, starting with the salient feature of childhood -- the initial-condition for adulthood -- being an insatiable neediness for attention and validation. The book certainly leaves many indelible impressions. I'm thinking of the way he describes the woman with the manufactured way of laughing at the dinner table, where she always throws her head back with her mouth open for a couple of silent seconds before emitting the laugh.

As for writing about unrequited love, he's up there with Todd Rundgren.

--Marcel Voyager


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