Saturday, November 14, 2009

Decoding Eco's Irony

The following from a Spiegel interview (hat tip to Marginal Revolution).

SPIEGEL: Why are these lists and accumulations so particularly important to you?

Eco: The people from the Louvre approached me and asked whether I'd like to curate an exhibition there, and they asked me to come up with a program of events. Just the idea of working in a museum was appealing to me. I was there alone recently, and I felt like a character in a Dan Brown novel [emphasis mine - MC]. It was both eerie and wonderful at the same time. I realized immediately that the exhibition would focus on lists. Why am I so interested in the subject? I can't really say. I like lists for the same reason other people like football or pedophilia. People have their preferences.

He's either being more humble than he should be, or profoundly ironic in a way I can't quite unpack.


TGP said...

Eco is messing with you and being completely earnest at the same time.

Michael Caton said...

Ah yes, a fun game to play is
- establish an expectation that much of what you say is coded or the exact opposite of what you mean
- say something directly true
- when someone misinterprets something directly true based on the reasonable expectation that you're saying the opposite of your belief, blame them, because after all you said something directly true.

Having played this game myself I guess I should spot it more easily in others.

TGP said...

Mr. Caton, you're like a puppy who has been presented with his own tail as if it were the tail of another dog. Enjoy your exercise.

My favorite part of the article was the mention of football and pedophilia. Both would fall on a list in Eco's brain called: "Things other people like." He's playing with set theory because he likes lists. It is likely that it goes no deeper than that.