Archive for September, 2015
“In front of me a couple of young people are arguing in low voices about the nature of their affair: Are they ‘dating’ or are they in a relationship. If they are just dating, how serious is it? And isn’t the fact that the boy didn’t invite the girl to Thanksgiving dinner at his parents’ house an obvious obstacle to its being a full-fledged relationship? It’s simply a mystery to me, since this most American notion of ‘dating’ has no equivalent in French … This very un-French way of turning the date itself, and later the relationship as such, into a separate entity, living its own life alongside the two lovers … The oddity, too, of the mania these lovers have for verbalizing, evaluating, codifying, and, when it comes down to it, ritualizing anything that might happen within the framework of their relationship … For the sake of a series of gestures, that sense of the unexpected, the romantic, is lost, which in Europe even the most trifling love affairs preserve…” – From “Tocqueville’s Footsteps: A Journey Ends,” by Bernard-Henri Levy, in the Nov. 2005 Atlantic Monthly. (The pregnant ellipses are Levy’s.)
My least favourite maxim of all time most certainly belongs to George Santayana: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Its banal ubiquity has not increased its charm any. Remembering the past is usually a necessarily step in *repeating* its calamities. Historical records of religious and clannish rivalries, confidence games and marital treacheries, and tragic hubris and the rest of it are no doubt worth remembering, but not for any contraceptive function.
Thank you to LH for the zoom lens.
The above picture has been attracting lots of comments on Facebook, mostly of the mocking sort. I find the words here poignant and wise.
The essential message of this is profoundly true, IMO. One’s muse does not come to a person not fully ready to address one’s art; therefore, eliminate distractions (including anxieties). Replace “sewing” with “your piano” or “your skating” and I don’t see how anybody can contest these sentences: “Never approach sewing with a sigh or lackadaisically. Good results are difficult when indifference predominates.” (What is funny about this “advice” from 1949 is how silly and archaic this particular author’s distractions seem to us. God forbid that the world finds out how silly my own distractions are.)
Image taken from 24 Blocks’ Facebook page. H/t PS
… Michala Petri plays ‘The Bee’!
One of my favourite artists.