MINISTRY OF CULTURE
Sorry I'm late. I just got back from my aversion therapy session. I was frightened of Spiders, so the therapist strapped me to a chair and put a colossal arachnid in my hand. My heart rate went up; my temperature went down; my stress levels went sideways, over, up and out. After about five minutes my body returned to normal as my brain learnt that there was nothing to fear. So now I am cured of my aversion to spiders. I can pet them, undress them, kiss them, and kill them without any hesitation. Only problem is, now I am frightened of chairs.
Which has nothing to do with anything really, other than a piss-poor justification for another bad gag. Talking of which: as part of your tuition in the ways of the world, here at the ministry we like to think we cover most things on our syllabus. Albeit with hormonal secretions, in the main. You name it, I've written a third rate column about it. But so far, one sneaky topic has evaded the searchlight of my mind; and that is the topic of "sophistication." Well, no more, now sophistication is trapped on the barbed-wire fence of my agenda, pending the imminent execution by the firing squad of explanation.
WHAT IS SOPHISTICATION?
The opposite of sophistication is effortlessness. And there's the irony, as it's this effortlessness that really helps you achieve sophistication. That might not help you much, but it makes me feel better.
Let me make it clearer still. The French cheese Brie is an acquired taste, which is a pretentious way of saying it tastes like shit until you get used to it. With time, you learn to appreciate the dark and rich textures, and even grow to take pleasure in the suspicious aroma. But why bother? I mean, there are plenty of things that don't taste like excrement in this world, why not eat them?
One: our taste buds mature and become more highly developed as we get older. Man can not live on Big Macs alone (unless you're Elvis.) Tiring of cheap highs such as strawberries and ice cream, you'll seek out harder, darker, more exotic foodstuffs like salami and garlic before descending shamelessly into an abyss of olives, sun-dried tomatoes and pureed avocado.
Two: even if your taste buds don't mature; you'll want to try and impress by pretending they have. At which time you will gleefully swallow this muck whilst smiling "hmmmmmm not as aromatic as the Brie de Meaux I had while vacationing in Côte D'Azur with Francois and Bumwank." Then all the members of the opposite sex will want to drain every sexual hormone from your twitching body in a orgiastic rush of decadent sophistication.
I was lucky; I developed the taste for Brie in my mother's womb apparently. I loved the stuff even as a small child, giving me a head start on Danish Blue; which if course led to harder cheeses, such as Parmesan. If you think that's a bad joke, read on.
Of course a sophisticated palate need not end with consumable dairy produce; some forms of music are also an acquired taste. Dub Reggae, for instance sounded ridiculous to me when I was ten and Terry Hendricks played me a C60 full of echo-y bass and splishy-splashy drums. But now, after years of copious substance abuse, I'll sit through anything. Hendricks had his eyes opened to the shadowy world of thundering bass at ten years old, to such an extent he wrote "Reggae is Ace" on the playground wall as if to prove his sophistication beyond all doubt. I jealously wrote, "But Brie is Acer."
HOW TO BE SOPHISTICATED
DON'T USE THE INTERNET
Sophists have never logged on. Not once. Do you think they have the time? No, of course they don't. Their life is a vividly engaging cocktail party in the Cuban Embassy, not red-eyed purgatory in front of a radioactive monitor, questing vainly for a big fat syringe of significance to inject into a pathetic hollow existence.
When Sophisticated people speak, they employ a wide vocabulary. Which means you don't pepper your sentences with unnecessary words such as "like" and "er." The following sentence is presented in both versions so you may contrast at your not inconsiderable leisure.
"Nowadays, all the married men live like bachelors, and all the bachelors like married men."
"Have you ever like, noticed, that like, all married men these days so totally live like they're not even married? And you know what? It's kinda true the other way ‘round as well; because when you like think about it, bachelors live like they're married, right? Kinda funny, you know what I mean?"
It's worth remembering however, that swearing IS sophisticated. Fucking sophisticated, in fact.
Laughing is out. Arch an eyebrow, smirk even, but saying hello to sophistication means waving farewell to bronchial belly laughs that cause you to spray partly masticated matter into the eye of your hapless gibbering friends.
Majestically toy with your food; don’t gannet it down like a starving wart hog. And never eat dinner before 7pm. Unless you're hungry.
Jesus, is that the time?
WHAT HAVE WE LEARNT?
- Sophistication requires effortless complexity in order to persuade that one is putting no effort into making something complicated appear simple.
- You are not sophisticated, and nor am I
- Reggae is ACE
Until Next Time