Editorial Note: We’ll be continuing with daily posts throughout March. The rules remain the same: Contentful posts guaranteed on Fridays, luck-of-the-draw the other six days of the week. Today, for instance, you get musings on the non-transitivity of taste.

Personal taste is a funny thing. “De gustibus non disputandum est”, as the Latin has it: In matters of taste, debate is pointless. It seems to me that one can’t even apply logic to one’s own tastes, let alone anyone else’s.

Anecdotal Evidence

I really enjoy skiing. This is surprising, because on the list of things I do not like are:

  • The outdoors (bugs, snakes, and sunburn)
  • Exercise (boring)
  • Discomfort (it’s … uncomfortable)
  • Expense (money is my 2nd favorite thing)
  • Travel (all my stuff is at home)

Skiing is pretty intimately connected with all these things. It’s a form of fairly vigorous outdoor exercise, held in distant locations to which one must travel at some expense, which usually involves a good deal of discomfort (schlepping uphill, riding lifts with skis and boots dangling from one’s legs, and, of course, various bumps and bruises from falls on the slopes).

Still, it’s great fun. Which is why it’s worth trying things, and why it doesn’t pay to over-think one’s preferences, let alone to prescribe tastes for someone else.

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