September 29, 2004

A new TV arrives, DVDs are deployed to test its quality, and, a propos of Kerry's new tan, the subject of disease perceived as health is discussed.

As noted a while back, my old television gave up on the color red, and I ordered a Sony HDTV. Waiting for it to be delivered, I kept watching my old TV, where everything was green and yellow and blue and gray and black. When I wrote about Kerry's new orange spray-on tan yesterday, an emailer reminded me that I wouldn't be seeing it on my TV. That would have been true, except that my new TV arrived today, via Sony's free premium delivery service, which entailed two nice young men taking the set out of the box outside, bringing just the set in, and putting it in its place in the big room. They did a great job delivering the TV, even introducing themselves and shaking my hand after I answered the door. They didn't have to, but they did take out my big old broken TV, which became a topic of conversation:
Does it work?

It just doesn't have any red. It might be good for someone who only likes very old things, things in black and white.

Or colorblind. My uncle is colorblind.

I think the TV could help noncolorblind people see what it's like to be colorblind.

I can test that on my uncle -- if he's the right kind of colorblind.
Assuming there is a form of colorblindness where you just can't see red, my TV would let a normally sighted person see what that was like. And I assume for that colorblind person, my TV would be the same as a color TV. But it's hard to think what kind of an impression my bad TV would have on someone with the more common sort of red-green colorblindness, where red and green look the same. I think if I were partially colorblind, I might prefer to turn the color off altogether and watch in black and white. Yet I did not do that with my bad TV. For some strange reason I preferred the wrong color, even though a black and white picture was more aesthetic.

When I got all the stray cords hooked up into reasonable places in the back of the new TV--ignoring for now the weird new things like card slots--I wanted to test the picture with a DVD. I picked "Apocalypse Now" and got all mesmerized. Chris took over and tested the TV with DVDs of:
"The Birds"
"8 1/2"
"Moulin Rouge"
"Ghost World"
"The Two Towers"
"Mulholland Drive"
"Tori Amos: Welcome to Sunny Florida"
"The Sopranos"
"The Cranes Are Flying"
"Spirited Away"
"Blue Velvet"
The picture was pronounced spectacular. The built-in sound--carefully checked in the engine room scene in "Titanic," right after the iceberg is hit--was declared superior to the separate speakers we used with the old TV.

So--in short--I will be monitoring the debate tomorrow night in thoroughly beautiful color and excellent sound.

And on that subject of Kerry's getting overtanned for debate purposes: Kerry, like Gore before him, seems to think it's good to be tan for a debate, a belief can be traced to Kennedy's appearance in the 1960 debate. But we know now that Kennedy's tan appearance was in fact a symptom of his Addison's Disease.

The subject of disease perceived as health is an interesting one. Here are three other examples:

1. I remember reading an essay some years ago written by a woman who had been suffering from cancer, who heard many people tell her how great she looked. They were only seeing that she had lost a lot of weight. (Send a link to this essay if you know it.)

2. There is a terrific essay by Oliver Sacks in "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat" (one of my favorite books), about a 90-year-old woman with syphillis, which she called Cupid's Disease, who enjoyed the lively, tipsy way it made her feel and did not want to be cured: "I know it's an illness but it's made me feel well."

3. In the Tennessee Williams play "The Glass Menagerie," the character Amanda makes having malaria sound fun: "I had malaria fever all that Spring ... just enough to make me restless and giddy."

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