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June 14, 2005


Nothing could be clearer, Socrates.

But, actually, even if there's certainly only one bacon smell, it can indicate many things. There was a kid in my gradeschool who totally reeked of it, for instance.

Oh God, Ben, what did you just eat? Tell me it wasn't that kid.

So what are you saying here, Dodger, that Beggin' Strips actually contain bacon, or what?

Dodger simply refutes the premise -- that only one thing smells like bacon. Another thing that smells like bacon is this kid, that bw may or may not have eaten, and another thing -- such as bw points out, is beggin strips.

But if the premise were true, and only one thing did smell like bacon, then yes, that fact would identify that thing as bacon.

and dogs would not be so easily fooled by artificial products.

No, I think that Dodger agrees that only one thing smells like bacon, and that's bacon, but he asserts that the smell can linger on in other media (so to speak). This kid, whom I may or may not have eaten, for example: the fact that he smelled of bacon indicated that he came from a household that cooked a lot of bacon, for example. One speaks colloquially and says he smelled like bacon, but really, it was the bacon on him and in him that smelled like bacon. He was merely the medium.

Exactly. Exactly the opposite that is: I proclaim that the bacon smell, though singular, can flow from multiple sources, i.e. bacon lookalikes or odd children.

Or are you just impugning the olfactory verisimilitude of Beggin' Strips?

You point out that the smell of bacon is temporarily transferrable to the person who has et such. This does not change the fact that, temporarily, that person smells like bacon.

The bacon in him was no longer bacon, but semi-digested pork product. Nevertheless, the bacon smell emanated from his being.

One could as easily argue that bacon itself is merely the medium for the bacon smell; the smell being a pure essence with unknowable origins.

Well at least my initial conditional is holding up in the face of this criticism. However I find your analysis wanting, text. The ultimate source of the kid's smell—he was delicious, btw—was still bacon. That is how we know it's bacon he smells like. For consider what kind of confusion would reign if just any old thing could smell like bacon without having as the cause of that smell bacon itself. We would be unable even to conceptualize the smell of bacon: only a smell which, sometimes, came from bacon, sometimes from dog snacks, sometimes from succulent third-graders, and sometimes—why not?—from elm trees.

Only one thing smells like bacon and that's bacon: all others are emations of bacon that become less true as the distance travelled becomes greater, just as the gnostics understood that the distance from god accounts for the evil of this world.

text had the boldness to say what I suspected. Bravo. It's comforting to think that we can control & manipulate the bacon smell at our will simply by frying up the strips which lend it its name, but then, like grace descending or terror erupting, this kid shows up at my gradeschool, or you accidentally eat a dog treat & all your pretensions to mastery melt away.

It ruptures the ego. & we should be thankful for it.

Not only one thing smells like bacon, man. To clear up our counterexample, I should say that this kid just smelled like it, & did so pretty much all the time; none of us ever found out that, say, his family had bacon with every meal.

I concede that the bacon smell of which we speak -- the bacon-child -- is ultimately traceable to bacon, and for that reason may be distinguished from a bacon smell that cannot be further traced to any source, other than the succulent frying of its own fat-juices.

But when we say that something smells like something, we aren't limiting the something that smells to those certain somethings wherein the smell was created. For instance, were I to roll around in shit, I would smell like shit. I could not deny it, even though the smell was traceable to the shit and not the very breathing of my pores.

If a thing gives a smell, it smells like the smell it gives, regardless of its original source.

Here is where you want to take me: only one thing smells like bacon -- bacon. A child smells like bacon for he has et it. The premise above entails that smell alone is enough to identify the object as bacon. Therefore I may eat the child, for he is bacon.

No, No, No, No, No. It is madness.

then there is the fact that smell is essence, that mad doctors produce it in laboratories, that we live in the mad world bw has described, that anything, everything, could smell like bacon if the mad doctors so desire.

I know not whether Beggin' Strips do indeed smell of bacon (I own cats), but it has been scientifically proven and documented that Beggin' Strips do not taste like bacon.


Lovely gift idea, Ogged. You could wrap it in this.

Whether or not more than one thing smells like it, bacon sure is singular in some ineffable way.

While I can't come up with a smell counterexample, is it not true that most grapes are not in fact grape flavored, while other things (artificially flavored candy, mostly) are? So it is not only true that some things that taste like grape are not grapes, but that almost all things that taste like grape are not grapes.

(Concord grapes are, arguably, grape flavored, but no other grapes are.)

Can you at least grant me that bacon is, abstractly if need be, the guarantor of bacon-smell? I don't think I could find my way in a world in which that divine scent were completely unmoored.

Damn scientists!

I’d like to think that we have two distinct olfactory centers in the brain: one for bacon, and one for everything else.

LB, that's because we live in a fallen world in which words have changed their meanings, and man has lost touch with nature and is prey to the depradations of god-damn scientists seeking to fob off on the ignorant public any desperate connection with the charms of the country.

Or, it could be another case of the false image being truer than the actual instance. See, e.g., an article by Peter Galison whose name I can't remember.

The grape condundrum is well put. I do not like the flavor of grapes, but I do like grapes very much.

Of course, not everyone likes grapes.

I do like grapes very much

Particularly the fermented variety.

Contrariwise, I do not like oak barrels very much, but I do like the flavor of oak barrels.

I prefer the flavor of sherry casks (though of course I hate sherry).

If a boutique winery dropped some bacon bits into its must, Robert Parker would proclaim the result to have revelatory porcine notes.

I thought grappa/marc was made from the must, not wine.

the spirit produced from grape marc (i.e. from the skins of the grapes after they have been separated from the must or the wine) possibly with a percentage of wine lees.

Alas no.

Standpipe, you might find this statement of principle congenial.

Bacoms, the smallest units of baconness, are the instruments of God’s presence in the world. As such they mediate and constitute the Good. Anything that is pleasing, or righteous, or done with skill, is suffused with bacoms. Where there are few bacoms scattered about, as in the anæsthetic wastes of iniquity, they shall not be perceived by their odor. But where they are great in number, concentrated and pure and manifest as in a succulent rasher, they declare themselves with the reek of divinity.

Was salt pork put on the earth to deceive the faithful?

What are we up to right now? Bacodicy? No matter. This amateur bacologian guesses that salt pork is made of bacoms corrupted with pride and vainglory.

Ben, that's a tautological rendering of the issue; of course it is true that bacon smells like the smell of bacon and bacon smells like itself, but bacon also shares a very similar chemical profile with (for example) other pork products, which, while they don't smell just the same, can smell very similar. Also, as text noted above, men of knowledge can re-create the bacon nose sensation in vitro now. Really, not even bacon smells like bacon; a certain combination of fats and proteins are released during cooking, and those only under certain temperature conditions, so it's not the bacon per se that smells like bacon, but the smell of bacon that smells like bacon.

Also, I really like standpipe bridgeplate's heterodox translation of the final rumination in Anna Karenina.

I actually haven't read Anna Karenina, so I find your comment discombobulating.

Maybe you could get him/her to finish the book for Tolstoy.

Ben, Tolstoy completely finished AK, but its completion was never rendered with such verve and quiddity.


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