17 January 2010


The Non-Confidential Proust Questionnaire
(See Dylan's answers on his own blog)

There is a scene in John Hughes' Sixteen Candles in which the birthday girl is filling out The Confidential Sex Ed Questionnaire. Someone wrote the questions by hand, leaving spaces for the answers, and Samantha is also answering by hand. The first time I watched it, with my friends, Ninjapeps pointed out that, these days, high school students answer those sort of things on the Internet . . . and we all laughed.

What we call "memes" were cool long before we had not just the Internet but also that industrial, Prussian idea known as high school. Back in the late 1800s, there were already popular personality interviews: short questions meant to draw out sweet answers. The most famous of these is the "Proust Questionnaire," which takes its name not after its creator, but after its most famous interviewee, Marcel Proust.

(If you want to know whether "memes" go back any further in time, you'll have to do your own research. I'm going to answer the questionnaire now.)

No, not this questionnaire, silly!

Your favorite virtue: What do you call the willingness not to take things personally?

Your chief characteristic: Shyness with strangers, talkativeness with familiars.

Your main fault: Sloth!

Your favourite occupation: Blogging . . . which is a whole process.

Your idea of happiness: Something that hasn't really sneaked up on me yet.

Your idea of misery: No hope and no sense of humour.

If not yourself, who would you be: Angelina Jolie--but Catholic, and not married to Brad Pitt.

Where would you like to live: Astoria, Oregon.

Your favourite colour and flower: Blue and the daffodil.

Your favorite prose authors: G.K. Chesterton and Nick Joaquin

Your favorite poets: G.K. Chesterton and Emily Dickinson

Your favorite hero in fiction: Peter Pevensie of The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Your favorite heroine in fiction: Karana of Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

Least favorite heroine in fiction: Bella Swan of the Twilight saga by Stephenie Meyer

Least favorite hero in fiction: John Galt of Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Your favorite painters and composers: Fra Angelico and El Greco; J.S. Bach and Gustav Holst

Your heroes/heroines in real life: Cincinnatus

What characters in history do you most dislike: Martin Luther and King Henry VIII of England.

Your favorite food and drink: Garlicky roast potatoes, steak, steamed rice, vanilla ice cream, and blackcurrant juice.

Your favorite names: Lucy and Mark

What I hate the most: Anonymous trolls.

World history characters I hate the most: Doesn't "dislike the most" above count as "hate the most"?

The military events I admire the most: The Battle of Mons Algidus, the Norman Conquest and the Battle of Lepanto.

The reform I admire the most: I feel safe to say that I'm on board with everything Pope Benedict has already done and has yet to do in his pontificate.

The natural talent I’d like to be gifted with: The ability to hit a baseball with a baseball bat . . . and the twin ability to catch a baseball with a baseball mitt.

How I wish to die: With a priest saying the Last Rites for me.

What is your present state of mind: Procrastination: I have a freelance article due and don't know how to begin it, end it or even write the middle!

For what fault have you most toleration: The tendency to shoot one's mouth off when telling the truth.

Your favorite motto: (I don't have one!)

Image Sources: a) Sixteen Candles poster, b) "Confidential Sex Ed Questionnaire" clip


dylan said...

I almost said Lepanto on the military question! And the liberation of Hitler's concentration camps came to mind, also.

For painters, which I left blank, it would have to be van Gogh and (believe it or not) Salvador DalĂ­. Henri Matisse and Childe Hassam also occur to me.

Enbrethiliel said...


I like Dali! =D In an ideal world, he and I would be able to get together to discuss our dreams all day long!

twowaysofrenouncingthedevil said...

I should say Normandy, but. . . Gallipoli.

Enbrethiliel said...


Hey, Gallipoli is good!

I should have also mentioned the Liberation of Manila, but it was very bittersweet, as the whole city had been devastated.

dylan said...

Off topic, but I just had to rush in and report: I was at another blog, and the word verification code in the combox spelled out "porksit"! I laughed -- and not to myself, but out loud for the whole world to hear.

Enbrethiliel said...


When I was still majoring in Marketing, someone told me that there are people who sit around all day coming up with names for new car models. (I've never had it verified, though!) After the Chevy Nova became the butt of jokes in Spanish-speaking countries, car manufacturers decided to play it safe! So now we have models like the Nissan Cefiro and the Toyota Avanza.

I bring all that up to say that I think the job of Word Verification writer must be far more interesting! =)

twowaysofrenouncingthedevil said...

I can see a basement full of word verification workers in a Terry Gilliam movie.

ninjapeps said...

when I'm sufficiently bored, I'll answer this, too.

Enbrethiliel said...


Let me know when you do! =)