Should We Love the Encyclopedia Even If It Doesn’t Love Us?
When asked what he wanted to do with his life, a young man supposedly replied, “Nothing, nothing at all. I like to study; I am very happy, very content; I don’t ask for anything else.”
That was me at age 23, except it wasn’t. It was Denis Diderot (1713–1784). Which is bizarre.
Diderot could’ve been the bizarro me. He was an ex-Catholic-turned-rationalist deist. I’m an ex-non-Catholic-turned-realist Catholic.
But we both loved to study as young men.
We also both liked women. Though I’ve limited my interest to just one, Diderot banged many, including a woman who, though not physically attractive, had such a virile tongue and “male mind” that men called her “the hermaphrodite.” He lost interest in her sexually after a while, since he couldn’t get past rumors that she was involved in a lesbian affair with her own sister.
My love interest, though not a hermaphrodite, played softball for four years in high school . . . and was the catcher, at that.
The bizarro parallels continue.
Diderot, like me, also had a lot of children. Four, to be exact, though all but one died young. Although he loved his surviving daughter tenderly, his home life wasn’t good. His wife was a harridan (which is one of the most under-utilized words in the English language (thanks to Joseph Epstein for bringing it back … Read the rest