Culture Making is now archived. Enjoy five years of reflections on culture worth celebrating.
For more about the book and Andy Crouch, please visit

Posts tagged emotion

from Lancelot, by Walker Percy (1977)

Yes, interest! The worm of interest. Are you surprised? No? Yes? One conclusion I have reached here after a year in my cell is that the only emotion people feel nowadays is interest or lack of it. Curiosity and interest and boredom have replaced the so-called emotions we used to read about in novels or see registered on actors’ faces. Even the horrors of the age translate into interest. Did you ever watch anybody pick up a newspaper and read the headline PLANE CRASH KILLS THREE HUNDRED? How horrible! says the reader. Is he horrified? No, he is interested. When was the last time you saw anybody horrified?

excerpt Musilanguage

According to evolutionary musicology, “Musilanguage” is a proto-linguistic form of communication somewhere in between, on the one hand, emotive grunting/cooing/moaning/what-have-you, and then on the other, semantically/ symbolically appropriate but sonically arbitrary sounds that convey meaning (i.e. words). As most things are when it comes down to it, this particular concept is about gettin’ busy.

In “Descent of Man,” Darwin describes “true musical cadences” used by “some early progenitor of man” to woo the opposite sex (or to get totally whack with the same one). This “musilanguage” — a term coined by neurologist Steven Brown — would ostensibly evolve into language and music, respectively.

The Icelandic post-rock four-piece Sigur Rós is well-known for switching up the emotive and the referential. A made-up language Vonlenska (“Hopelandic” in English), which emulates the cadences of Icelandic without actually meaning anything, peppers their songs up to the current album, Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust (“With a Buzz in Our Ears we Play Endlessly”). Now on tour in Europe, Japan, Canada and the US, the band’s bassist confessed in an interview with Pitchfork media, however, that all the hullaballoo about the nature of their lyrics and linguistic hijinks was, and is, rather hype. For example the title of a track on the last album, “Gobbledigook”, was not so much a comment on how they express themselves, but rather a misspelling of the Icelandic “Gobbldigob”, a word for the clippity-clop of horses’ hooves.

a tumblr post by Keith Gessen, 25 July 2008

Speaking of literary critics, I was thinking yesterday of Rozanov’s devastating critique of Herzen: He is so good, wrote Rozanov, so reasonable, so sane—and yet he will never make a young girl cry over a page of his prose.

But then I thought, as I do whenever I think of that line: What’s so great about making young girls cry?

But also, this time: If a young girl ran into Herzen in the comments section of a blog, he would almost certainly make her cry.

Are you happy now, Rozanov?