|Y lie When we seize to understand the whirled at the battle of Gallipoli||
12/22/22 | Gallipoli, Puglia > Woke up in Salignano, near Leuca, went on a giro before breakfast. Continued on SW towards Gallipoli, lot of road construction so we had to divert away + keep coming back, passing through shuttered up beachfront towns, not a soul in sight except construction workers. Eventually to a masseria outside of Gallipoli (Tenuta Negoramoro), again, the only ones staying here. Sleeping in a trulli hut. Walked around the beautiful grounds, w/ gardens + chickens + 2 JRTs + 3 friendly pigs that seem blind... have never pet pigs before. Went into Gallipoli + found a place w/ outdoor tables in the sun on the waterfront. What more could you ask for? Below us on the rocks, 11 black cats soaking up the rays. Had mackerel marinated in peppers + spaghetti vongole. Walked around some more, came back + pet the pigs some more.
Read When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamin Labatut... not sure what to think of it. It's certainly interesting + well-researched + well-written, but it toes this unsettling gray area between fiction + non-fiction. We were tempted to fact-check some of the stuff he was talking about in the first 2-3 chapters—b/c some of it is astonishing if true—but we resisted. The bit about Fritz Haber in particular was fascinating b/c we'd never heard of him + his discoveries + we've been recently obsessed with the elements, loosely basing a chapter of our own book we're writing (101% fiction!) on each 1 (tho we already did chapter 7 for Nitrogen). We were hoping the recent book we read—Periodic Tales—would be like this, but it was nowhere near as engaging. The thread that ran between the 1st 2 or 3 chapters seemed to be about mad scientists/mathematicians who make great discoveries they regret when the consequences are fully realized, particularly Jewish 1s in Nazi Germany. But then as we got to the chapters about Erwin Schrödinger we realized how much of it was fiction, b/c we not only know a lot about Schrödinger's discoveries + quantum mechanics (we do have an advanced degree in physics after all + a bachelors in math), but about the personal lives of the players involved (particularly the John Gribbin books are scientifically/ journalistically accurate + fascinating, for any 1 that actually wants to read the unembellished true story). We just don't get why Labatut would feel the need to make shit up when it's already so interesting? And why the need to exaggerate the "mad" qualitites of mad scientists... to make them more palatable + sexy? And why don't the surviving family members of these scientists sue Labatut + the publisher (NYRB), b/c it's filed under fiction? It's just disrespectful to the legacy of these scientists + dangerous + irresponsible... sure, your NYTimes-reading intellectuals perhaps know the difference between fact + fiction, but 90% of ppl are idiots that will believe whatever they hear, as we know from recent history. This kind of writing buys into the "truthiness" precedent set by Bush or the fake news of Drumpf. We always resisted watching JFK b/c of this (only recently we caved in + watched it), b/c we didn't want to be swayed by Oliver Stone's version of history, just like we regretted watching The Doors not just b/c it was made by Oliver Stone but b/c now we have Val Kilmer in our head as Jim Morrison. Your average reader now will think of all this sensationalized stuff when they think of Schrödinger + these scientists + not their real personal traits + histories + discoveries. This sort of revisionist history couched as fiction is a dangerous precedent (+ to think it won all these book awards + accolades) where people don't think reality is interesting enough + have to alter + exaggerate it to digest it. Yah, we know all bets are off now in this Fox News Internet world (how can we even be 100% certain about stuff we fact-check?) + sure, sometimes it's necessary in biopic films to embellish + the actors are always more attractive, etc. but do we need to perpetuate this now in books? Is truth/science no longer sacred? The same sorts of ppl who laud this book are likely the precious types who put those damn signs on their lawn where they have to announce to their neighbors that they believe "science is real".
|# 1059 <(current)> 1061 > Fixing a toilet to find artifacts dating back to B.C. times for our 26th|