INTERESTING

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Interesting often identifies a state of attention and suspended evaluation: "Did anything interesting happen? "That was an interesting x (talk, idea, expression, event, shirt). X interests. Or, x is of interest: the police use the phrase "person of interest to describe someone they're investigating, the person whose legal standing is in uncertain. The term implies a range of kinds of attention, from glancing to investigating. I'm interested.

But the most common usage of "interesting is as a faux neutral term, a placeholder, in phrases that allow pacing out a revelation of taste. It opens a question: how much attention should one pay to x? It expresses ANXIETY about the giving and receiving of judgment: is this object/event worth attending to, thinking about, becoming changed by? Was I wrong to find it interesting, or engaging? Do I, do you, or does it have bad taste? Is it bad taste to have wrong judgment?

Why would a feelkit list interesting as a political EMOTION, a pointer relevant to giving dimension to the affective components of publicness or social belonging? The social circulation of interesting as a defense or euphemism or opportunity for conversational elaboration of the value of x is clearer. In contrast, these days the political sphere has no space for the placeholder words that allow for SLOW feeling. One knows, or one doesn't know what one thinks about the value of a thing. Nuance is for the reality-based intellectuals, the ones whose expertise is mainly irrelevant to the flows of the market and the pacing of ordinary crisis and commentary in the political sphere. Even when scandals last over long periods, the rhetoric of immediacy makes it seem as though there is no time for something to be enigmatic enough to be interesting, no time for the detachment it implies, or for admitting not knowing the value of x. Therefore interestingness marks an AFFECT on the periphery of the political, in its conventional sense. The value of the interesting event remains open, and that openness reveals contingencies of value, as well as points to anxieties in the social that are constantly being played out in gestures of feeling-out the other or drowned out in modalities of assurance.

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