February 28, 2002

Women's Olympic figure skating and Cinderella's glass slipper

Women's Olympic figure skating is kind of strange: it's as if all the girls in the kingdom who want to be the Princess and live happily ever after with the Prince not only have to try on Cinderella's glass slippers, but then they have to dance in them down a freshly waxed marble staircase without falling on their keisters.

February 27, 2002

If you like watching women's skating, does that mean you're secretly gay?

A sports-talk show was debating this morning, "If you like watching women's skating, does that mean you're secretly gay?" One thing I've noticed about myself is that I often intensely enjoy watching feminine-effeminate pastimes like figure skating and Broadway musicals, but I don't spend all that much time thinking about them in-between seeing them. In contrast, I seldom enjoy golf while I'm playing it - my handicap is my swing - but in between rounds I've spent a truly massively useless amount of my life thinking about golf, especially golf course architecture. In fact, when I was changing careers in 2000, I intentionally didn't play for an entire year because when I do play, especially on a fine course, I can't stop thinking about golf for days or weeks afterwards.

This mental gap works in the opposite direction as well. Of all the art forms, golf course architecture is one of the biggest - as measured in objective terms such as dollars spent on it or acres covered by it (more than Delaware and Rhode Island combined). Yet, the rest of the art world pays zero attention to it, probably because it appeals almost solely to the kind of heterosexual guys who don't care much about other kinds of art. If you are interested in seeing how hardcore golf course connoisseurs think, check out the discussions at GolfClubAtlas, where you can read, for example, a 70 message thread about the aesthetic failure of the new fairway bunker on Riviera's 7th hole. The aficionados on the discussion group may seem way over the top, but that's how art forms progress - they require not just people who love good art, but also people who deeply hate bad art and want to stamp it out of existence.