Wednesday, November 25, 2009

November 21, 2009

Saturday is a big day for reading the papers in our house (I get the Globe and Mail first, Laurie gets the Times-Colonist first).  The Saturday Globe and Mail has lots of sections - rather like the Washington Post (another very fine newspaper). So I read and mull over the editorials, letters to the editor, and various columns.  This usually stimulates me to pen a letter myself, if I get excited enough about one of the issues they discuss.  Here is the one I sent on Saturday.  It was sparked by a debate on what leads to excellence - is it inborn talent, or just huge amounts of practice?  They did not publish it (I score about 250), but I keep all these letters on file.

"I was surprised to see that neither of the protagonists mentioned in Margaret Wente's article (Have you done your 10,000 hours?) took into account the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, first proposed by Howard Gardner in 1983. I had assumed that by now most well-educated people would have accepted the to some extent self-evident truth of the concept. For example, looking at the several categories: bodily-kinaesthetic, interpersonal, verbal-linguistic, logical mathematical, intrapersonal, visual-spatial, musical and naturalistic, I can tell immediately that I have a few strengths - verbal-linguistic, visual-spatial, and naturalistic, but that I am weaker in other areas, such as musical (I listen with intense enjoyment but don't play with any skill), and almost entirely lacking in bodily-kinaesthetic. To me, this unequivocally explains why I do certain things well, and why even 100,000 hours of practice would not make me into a dancer or a pianist.  The software is just not there!"

In the evening we went to Victoria to see see "Gypsy", a revival of a musical about a stage-struck mother and the divergent fates of her two daughters, in which the role of Rose, the mother, was originally sung (in 1959) by  the great Ethel Merman. It was pretty well done, and the singers/actors playing the roles of Rose and Louise were both outstanding. But it once again made me realize that unless a musical is absolutely top-notch in all details (Broadway standard) or done by my kids' high school, I do not find it a particularly satisfying art form, and I don't really like plays either (I am really a movie fan at heart).

More tomorrow!

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