Skip to main content

The Second Time Around

After seeing Wicked last month, I couldn't help thinking that my parents (particularly my mom) who'd be visiting, would really enjoy it. Within an hour of being in Chicago, my mother brought up that she'd heard about Wicked and The Color Purple, so we booked tickets the next day.

I thought they needed context to be able to enjoy the story, so we rented The Wizard of Oz, the night before. My mom made me pick up The Devil Wears Prada as well. As a result, I did something that I haven't in a while. Guiltlessly paid for, and sat down to enjoy, art for a second time.

One rule I've informally followed for a very, very long time is to try to never repeat watching a movie, a TV show or even reading a (fiction) book. The somewhat iffy logic has been that the time could be better spent learning something new, enjoying something different or just more productively. After b-school, I know enough to characterize this as the opportunity cost argument.

I realize that this really makes no sense applied to life. I really enjoyed Wicked even more the second time around. I noticed little things I hadn't noticed before. I got the significance of lines that I'd missed the first time around. I enjoyed the songs so much more, and even compared things between performances. When I'm watching reruns on TV (it doesn't count if you don't plan for it, and it just happens to you:)) I've noticed I always enjoy certain sitcoms and movies more the second time around. I either enjoy the nuance more, or think about it a different way, or just have more of an opportunity to admire the actor/writer's skill when I know what's coming.

Now this shouldn't really surprise me! Good art has layers. Even if the creator didn't intend there to be, if its good, the layers are there! And you need the multiple iterations to be able to peel back one layer to look at those below. Sometimes its not even about the layers. If art evokes certain emotions within you, its just about feeling those emotions again. For example, when I was about 11, I watched the video of about half of this movie 32 times. To give you a sense of my emotional fix range, I've watched about (the first, ridiculously sweet) half of this movie (on cable in India) about 10 times as well. My mom, for example, regularly reads a book that she likes multiple times.

This doesn't hold for every work of art, but does hold true for enough of them that a second viewing shouldn't be something that we (at least I) avoid, and indeed may be something that we should actively plan for.

Comments

shmoo said…
I rarely re-consume, but there are definitely a few movies I've seen many times (usually ones I loved as a kid). There are a few books I've re-read, usually after many years. Plus I've seen certain Simpsons episodes many times. I've seen certain plays more than once as well (Hamlet, Midsummer Night's Dream, Les Miserables, My Fair Lady) but it was always a different production.
i, OTOH, am a rampant re-consumer. i think it goes hand-in-hand with being fangirly about stuff (though, one does not necessarily need to re-consume in order to be fan; i.e. shmoo). some of the discussions (IRL and online) i've had about, say, the use of violence as a metaphor for sex in the Buffyverse only work if the participants in the discussion have (a) really really good memories, or (b) are rampant re-consumers. ITA that with "good art" you get layers. especially with art where there is a lot of metaphor and subtext at work.

Popular posts from this blog

Whimsy when I changed my profile picture...

I changed by profile picture at work.



Later in the day, two people on my team had changed their profile pictures to these.. :-)



It made my day!

I changed my profile pic again today. Let's see how fast anyone catches on this time. :-)

Yup - humans still lack humanity

Every once in a while, I'm reminded that humans can be completely lacking in humanity.

My wife had the following experience yesterday on her ride back home. She got on the train and found a seat. The train was unusually crowded and it looked a lot of people had to stand for a long ride. An elderly Asian gentleman carrying a few things in both hands, was looking for spot, started to complain smilingly about the train being so full and stood in the aisle at the back of the carriage some seats away from her.

She expected someone closer to gentleman in the aisle (lots of younger people on the train) to give him their seat.

No one did.

The train started, and it was clear the man was having a lot of trouble standing up. Then at the next stop there was actually an announcement saying the train was full so please give up your seats to people who needed them.

Still nobody moved.

My wife got up walked to the end of the train and asked the gentleman to go over to her seat. She still couldn&#…

Measure f-ing everything, and assume f-ing nothing!! - Or how mentoring ruined lives :-(

I've been really enjoying the Freakonomics podcast of late. This episode and the lesson we should take a away from it, was a stark reminder of one of the most important things we should be doing - but often don't - in building products or making any decisions: measuring the impact of absolutely everything we do, including the things that seem obviously good.

I recommend listening to the podcast if you have the time, but here's the summary. Stephen Dubner describes the Cambridge Sommerville Youth Study. The impact of social intervention programs in general is hard to measure and so they seldom are. This was the first attempt at measuring the impact over a long period of time.

It's a great story and there are a few good take-aways, but here's the main one: troubled or at-risk youth that received mentoring (good mentoring!) had worse life outcomes across every dimension than the kids that were left alone. Despite the recipients saying that the mentoring was incredibl…