January 6, 2010

the order of things

This time of year is always dominated by lists, rankings, and evaluations. This blog is clearly no exception. How appropriate, then, to stumble upon this entertaining interview with the Italian semiotician/man of letters Umberto Eco. Among other things, Eco explains how lists gesture towards the infinite and move beyond our human deficiences to help us stave off death. Lists always indicate more; they are both reductive (imposing order on chaos) and excessive/anarchic (they lead to more lists, expanding and transforming old definitions).

So why is Eco so interested in lists? "I can't really say," he admits, "I like lists for the same reason other people like football or pedophilia. People have their preferences."

Nice one. I wonder what he'd make of High Fidelity.

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