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Sunday, June 27, 2010 

I've never read Proust

Someday, I'm sure. Anyways, I've always loved the Proust Questionnaire when it shows up somewhere, and recently some friends have taken really good runs at it. So here is mine, with a sincere attempt not to duplicate the answers Alfred and Hans gave that resonated with me.

1. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
This. There are situations where I have inadvertantly raised self-defeatingly suffering in silence to an art form. My friends and loved ones would probably tell you all of my feelings are right out there in the open, which kind of proves my point.

2. Where would you like to live?
In the city. It's where the parts of human existence I care the most about come into full bloom. I love to visit the small town where I grew up, I love the country; but only as a change. Some small part of me will probably always wish I grew up in Toronto, or New York, or London.

3. What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Freedom from worry. A lack of urgency. Affection.

4. To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
In myself: Laziness, overenthusiasm, cynicism about everyone but myself's sentimental gestures.
In others: Social awkwardness, mispronouncing my name, good intentions.

5. Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?
Samuel Vimes, Bob Arctor, young Stencil, Hector of Troy, (John Gardner's) Grendel.

6. Who are your favorite heroes of history?
Spinoza, Schopenhauer, Oscar Wilde, Bill Watterson. (I fully admit to distorting the intent of the question here)

7. Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?
Oedipa Maas, Blue Van Der Meer, Cordelia, Beverly O'Meara.

8. Your favorite painters?
Duchamp (circa Nude Descending a Staircase), Braque, Rembrandt, and a ton of ones I've seen in museums and elsewhere whose names I don't recall.

9. Your favorite musicians?
This question might as well be meaningless (the following often show up near the top: Low, Readymade, Talking Heads, Joy Division/New Order, Tindersticks).

10. The qualities you most admire in a man?
The kind of quiet dignity and reserve that I absolutely lack the capacity for. An inquisitive mind. The ability to discern the difference between debate and hostility. A tendency to laugh at my jokes.

11. The qualities you most admire in a woman?
The kind of quiet dignity and reserve that I absolutely lack the capacity for. An inquisitive mind. The ability to discern the difference between debate and hostility. A tendency to laugh at my jokes.

12. Your favorite virtue?
Mercy.

13. Your favorite occupation?
Anything I can do at my own, often digressive, pace.

14. Your most marked characteristics?
Cheerful nosiness, quantity of speech, a certain relentless sardonicism.

15. Your main defects?
Perfectionism, the unavoidable feeling that I am putting others out, and a shameful need for external validation.

16. What natural gift would you most like to possess?
A ridiculously efficient metabolism, or a facility for languages, or the ability to play musical instruments well.

17. What historical and contemporary figures do you most despise?
Descartes, Heidegger, L. Ron Hubbard, Hugo Chavez.

18. What are your favorite names?
Semi-coincidentially, most of them are also the names of people I know; naming them here would make me feel uncomfortable (see also question 15).

19. What is your present state of mind?
Content but naggingly disappointed in my lack of productivity and girlfriend. The usual.

20. What is your motto?
Nobody deserves anything, but it happens anyways.

21. How would you like to die?
With a feeling of accomplishment.

AWESOME!!!

Nice.

Cheers, guys.

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Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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