29 July 2006
One of the things I love most about Amazon.com, my little on-line crackhouse, is their recommendations. Not so much the ones I actually buy, but the ones that mystify me. There's a certain logic to some of them once I click on "this was recommended to me because", like the book on great natural disasters because I bought a book on the Red Sox (this was before '04), or even the recent instance of Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media, which was recommended because I bought The Manly Art: Bare-Knuckle Prizefighting in America (apparently my orders scream "gender issues" to the Amazon computers). For a long time my favorite such recommendation was How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: that one was because I bought a DVD of The Marriage of Figaro, and not one of those wild-ass European productions we're all so afraid of over here, either, but a fairly sedate and traditional performance. But the dual recommendation that really made me ponder the position of the opera fan in today's society came after I bought a book on Puccini: the system coughed up both Playboy's Book of Redheads (why redheads?) and a book of male nude self-portraits (why self-portraits)? Sometimes the mystery is more appealing than any explanation of computer logic could ever be.