While in Bright we took a drive up to Mount Beauty, a place whose name caused me to reflect ponderously on the inevitable gap between signified and signifier. I'm not sure whether the locals gave the place this name because they wanted it to become that way, or because they thought it already was that way, or simply because they thought other people would be attracted by the title. But, for the record, this is Mount Beauty, the town: a strip of shops, a scatter of houses, and a sizeable body of water named "Regulation Pondage", surrounded by a few trees, some of which are now stumps, and another of which is mostly Mistletoe. "You could write a blog post about it", I got told. Yes, I could indeed.
In a way, driving to Mount Beauty is a little like making lemon delicious pudding. It may be nice. It may be pleasant. It may have lemons. It may have the minimum amount of concrete and asphalt and brick to make civic engineers happy (we're talking about Mount Beauty, now, not the pudding). But will it taste any better if you put cream on top of it (back to talking about the pudding). But will the lemon delicious pudding actually be "delicious"? What if, in your anxiety to live up to the rigorous standards implied in the very name, you actually fluff the making of the pudding, and a more accurate name for the cooking results turns out to be "lemon not-so-delicious pudding"? Or "lemon slightly-retchworthy pudding?"
Same deal, really, as when I made what was, apparently, "the best cheese", allegedly, "in the world", so called. We cut it up when we were on holidays in Bright. It tasted nice. It tasted pleasant. It didn't particularly taste of lemons or concrete or asphalt or brick, but there you go. But "best"? "In the world"? Really? And was I wracked with anxiety on making the cheese in case it turned out badly? (No, I think I was quite chipper, really).
And as for Bright! Well, what can I say? Sometimes it wasn't so Bright at all. Sometimes it was even positively umber-looking. I was shocked! Appalled! And even pleased.
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