Saturday, January 28, 2012

Andy Rooney on Water Bottles

"What people will remember about Andy Rooney are things like this: He’d open a can of mixed nuts on 60 Minutes and separate the various nuts by type, and then he’d count how many of each nut were in the can. What made this so interesting (at least to me) was not the metaphor this act represented; what was interesting was that there was no metaphor at all. It wasn’t a veiled sociological commentary or a criticism of advertising or a meditation on consumerism. It wasn’t about anything, except the contents of the can. This, I suspect, is why Rooney’s seemingly banal essays were so infuriating to a certain kind of person: We have come to assume that whenever a media personality talks about something basic, he or she is actually trying to explain something complex. The idea that someone on television would just sit at his desk and complain about mixed nuts and have it only be about the ostensive subject — without a larger meaning and without a defined purpose — seemed facile and ridiculous. But isn’t it equally ridiculous to assume trivial thoughts are only worth considering when we pretend they represent something else? As a self-defined atheist, Rooney would have never pretended that filtering peanuts could help us understand the nature of existence; he was wholly resigned to the fact that we couldn’t even understand the nature of peanuts."

-Chuck Klosterman

Andy Rooney 1919-2011

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