“I believe that singing is the key to long life, a good figure, a stable temperament, increased intelligence, new friends, super self-confidence, heightened sexual attractiveness and a better sense of humor….there are physiological benefits, obviously: You use your lungs in a way that you probably don’t for the rest of your day, breathing deeply and openly. And there are psychological benefits, too: Singing aloud leaves you with a sense of levity and contentedness. And then there are what I would call “civilizational benefits.” When you sing with a group of people, you learn how to subsume yourself into a group consciousness because a capella singing is all about the immersion of the self into the community. That’s one of the great feelings — to stop being me for a little while and to become us. That way lies empathy, the great social virtue.”—
“Book jackets these days, for reasons I won’t unpack, seem to revel, overtly, in wit, conceptual deviousness, unusual clever or droll juxtapositions—we, as a professional community, seem to have elevated the visual bon mot above all other virtues. […] Not that wit in itself isn’t valuable, and doesn’t have an appropriate place in design—but wit is not the same thing as insightfulness, and often insightfulness is what is called for in a book jacket. Our fetishizing of cleverness has taken a toll I believe, in that (quite often) these clever solutions work at cross-purposes to the (more often than not sincere) narratives they represent. A book in which an author has gone out on a considerable limb in order to write in a genuine and unaffected fashion does not want a cover that winks at the reader. Wit, when it becomes compulsive (as anyone knows who has a friend who puns too often) quickly becomes its opposite—dullness or predictability. Are we, as a professional community, that punning guy? I hope not.”—
In other words, cleverness does not indicate intelligence. The relationship between these two attributes is something that’s become a point of contention when I look at certain things I’ve made in the past.