Vogue On The Outside, Vague On The Inside

MRI scans of London cab-drivers who have mastered “The Knowledge” show that their brains have paid a price for this prodigious feat of memory; they are now less able to absorb new information. For all kinds of brainpower are a finite resource. It seems intuitively obvious, therefore, that people whose brains are maximised for the detection of infinite subtleties in other people’s dress, accessories and musical tastes must necessarily suffer impairment of function in other areas.

Umberto Eco has written about what happened to him when, in middle age, he tried to get back into jeans. He discovered that a tight garment makes you acutely and permanently conscious of your body, in a manner that is quite inimical to intellectual activity. Scholarship is best pursued in the monastic habit, in robes or in shabby old clothes that you are not aware of having on, he says, while corsets may have been invented to prevent women thinking. This has the ring of complete truth, and shows how vital it is for nerds to ignore the mockery and resist the pressure now being brought to bear on us to live and breathe and have our being in fashion alone. This new century wants us all to think about nothing except what to wear.

Posted on May 10, 2011 at 14:45 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink

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