Sunday, July 3, 2011

Refine Your Taste, Pay the Price

I argued previously that the main benefit of drinking wine is the ability it confers on you to signal your cultural refinement. At the end of the post I stated the reasons for intentionally destroying one's taste in wine:

I apply the same dismissal to wine as I do to sake. I've come to the conclusion that intentionally refining one's palate is a form of masochism that any self-respecting hedonist should reject. Why the hell would I ever deliberately make my palate more difficult to please? By developing your taste, you're intentionally making your marginal unit of pleasure more expensive - you're making yourself more difficult to please. If you have a bad case of wine signal-itis and you enjoy announcing to dining compatriots all the flaws you've found in the wine on the table in front of you, you might put it in perspective this way...That's why I'm intentionally letting what little refinement I've achieved go fallow, and I automatically order the cheapest table wine on the menu. Or I don't, and get a Coke.

Of course the counterargument is that if your ability to signal results in increased attraction of mates, business partners, or some other benefit, it may offset the greater expense of achieving the same hedonic experience.

So it was with some amusement that today I read about how Seth Roberts did the opposite - he inadvertently destroyed his enjoyment of sake by greatly refining his taste - all in a single day.

No comments: