The Thinker

General Excellence: Zines Macaroni

| January / February 2008

Macaroni is a modest endeavor, a tall, dignified zine filled with lyrical ruminations on culture, religion, travel, entertainment, and whatever else is on publisher John Toren’s mind. Since this year’s winner has been around for 20 years, we decided it was about time we had a chat with Toren about his utterly unique take on the universe. Here’s where his mind wandered when asked about some our favorite Macaroni moments of 2007.


On Science And Society:
Scientists can tell us, for example, what will happen to a bog if ATVs roll across it indiscriminately for a decade or two . . . What scientists cannot tell us is how to weigh the relative importance of mechanized joyrides through the bogs, a healthy water table, the preservation of bird habitat—and the will of the majority. For it may be that, given a choice, the majority of Americans would choose to have their fun now, and the future be damned. These are moral and political issues, not scientific ones. Thanksgiving 2007

There is a certain implicit conceit that if you attach the word scientific to something, then that makes
it more important or more valid. And that’s really metaphysically wrong; it’s not true. And by the way, I’m not in favor of having ATVs ruin the bogs, but I know that people value that, and it’s got to be part
of the equation.

On Reading:
I consider myself an Everyman in that respect. I get my books from the public library de-acquisition shops. I read at random. I’ve long since given up any pretense of “covering the field” or of “keeping up.” Spring 2007

The idea of keeping up—it would be impossible to know just a smidgen of all the things that are out there to know. So keeping up implies that you’ve already got the background under control, and I certainly don’t.