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  • Daniel Messé

What We Talk About When We Talk About (What We) Love

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

I love hearing someone discuss a topic that they themselves love passionately. We are never more likable than when we are unselfconsciously sharing from some deep well of knowledge, acquired over a lifetime of appreciation. For me, this golden topic is songs and songwriting, but I can fall in love with almost any subject so long as I am discovering it via someone who loves it as much as I do music. Here are some favorite examples:

Sister Wendy on Art:

I remember first seeing Sister Wendy on PBS – back when I had to get up from the couch to change the channel. Sister Wendy herself made quite an impression; this frail, fully-habited nun with the crooked smile and strong lisp, speaking rapturously about art. And not just about sacred religious relics, but painting and sculpture that explored the full breadth of human nature and experience. Of course, it’s extremely validating to hear Sister Wendy praise art that you yourself already love, but something even more special happens when she explores artists you may not know, or understand well, or even artists you thought you disliked. How can you not gain at least some appreciation for any work that falls under her magnifying gaze? Here she is discussing Rothko and Warhol.

Matches860 on Pipes and Tobacco:

I have never been, nor do I plan on becoming an actual pipe smoker, and any fondness for this subject has come solely from listening to folks from the YTPC (the “YouTube Pipe Community”) wax poetic about what makes a good aromatic tobacco, or the subtle differences between bright and dark Virginias, or how much is too much Latakia in an English blend. There is a real earnestness, and a good deal of wholesome camaraderie that exists among the presenters, where the simple pleasures of hearth and home take center stage. These qualities are clearly present in my next example: Matches860 was a beloved fixture in the YTPC, and while he sadly passed away not too long ago, his cheerful fellowship and love of pipes definitely left a mark on a lot of folks, myself included. Here he is discussing the much sought-after tobacco “Penzance”. I especially love how he’ll occasionally smile and shake his head slightly, as if in disbelief at just how lucky he is to get to experience this small pleasure on such a beautiful day. How can you not catch a little gratitude yourself at witnessing such thoughtful appreciation?

Ted Janiszewski on the Bible:

As with my last example, I am pretty much the furthest thing from a conservative Catholic. In fact, I would say I am diametrically opposed to many of the positions that conservative Catholics might take for granted. Moreover, while I have always been eager to learn about different religions and religious practices, the word “scripture” fills me with a profound boredom that is almost physically painful. That said, I could happily listen to this man discuss “scripture” all day long. Not only is he clearly learned and beautifully spoken, but he approaches his subject with a deep love balanced with a keen sense of humor that is almost, dare I say, “Jewish-ish”. Here he is doing a deep dive on what makes a good study bible. I know I am probably not the intended audience for his presentation, but even so this is one of my favorite videos on the internet.

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