mercoledì, aprile 14, 2010

Mental deterioration or otherwise

Oh argh. Stayed up all hours last night reading The Name of Rose. Re-reading it, actually - I think. I'm pretty sure I read it ten years ago or so and thought it was crap, and otherwise don't remember anything about it. I don't think it's crap now, obviously, I don't stay up on schoolnights reading what I think is crap, but I do have a sneaking suspicion The Instance of the Fingerpost is a lot better. But more on that after I've knocked off the last fifty pages of The Name of the Rose, because The Instance of the Fingerpost's weakest point was its ending (though it was still quite good, miles better than most of the dross we get told is good these days), so if Umberto Eco managed to pull something really splendid out of his ass I may have to change my mind.

And also I have a sneaking suspicion that The Instance of the Fingerpost would have been impossible without The Name of the Rose. But being a simple reader and not a historian of literature - thank Jeebus for small mercies and the post-grad decisions I managed not to get wrong - what enabled what is less important to me than what is awesomer than what.

Anyways, what is odd is that I thought The Name of the Rose was so crappy ten years ago and that I'm enjoying it now, enough to exhaust myself utterly going into a very demanding couple of work days. It makes me wonder what's happening to my brains as I age . . . if they're getting better or if they're getting worse.

Ten years ago, I was 21; I'd just finished my undergrad degree, so I was hitting a theoretically high level of abstract knowledge on one hand; and on the other I was doing lots of drugs, fucking whatever had a nice smile, and had managed to get such sparkling results over my early academic career not because of the knowledge I was able to keep and synthesize in my brains, but because my genius pedagogue mother had trained me to successfully interpret the academic instructions of professors and their teaching assistants (who sadly are not the world's most capable communicators or pegagogues, not even in the fucking top ten frankly); most of the other students knew a lot more things than I did but had a harder time deciphering the often contradictory or confusing accounts of what their professors wanted.

Now I'm 31, and my reading has gone all over the place in the intervening years in a way that pleases me, and I'm reasonably certain I know a hell of a lot more things than I did ten years ago; but I'm older and I'm exhausting myself on a daily basis at a fucking yuppie job that uses my brains up.

So am I dumber now, and that's why I'm enjoying The Name of the Rose, or was I dumber when I was 21, and that's why I thought it was crappy? Don't know. Oh well. Shut up brain, or I'll stab you with a Q-Tip.

lunedì, aprile 12, 2010

Mistress La Spliffe comes out of the closet

We went on holiday in Munich and it was lovely. Germany is so fucking under-rated as a tourist destination, with all their awesome food and beer and relative niceness. And Munich itself was special. There were a few things that moved me to tears there:

The Barberini Faun: I couldn't believe it when I saw it, from its cuticles to its beginning-of-Jim-Morrison-bloat face. Such an excruciatingly beautiful thing. I've read commentary calling it homoerotic because of the vulnerability and beauty of its pose. Well, if that's the case, call the Westboro Baptists to picket me, because apparently I'm gay. I am totally gay for this statue. Oh wait, I'm a heterosexual woman and art history commentators haven't figured out women like looking at beautiful, vulnerable men. I mean holy fuck, we are 52% of the population and 90% of us like fucking men, just possibly a sculpture of a beautiful vulnerable man might possibly be hetero-erotic as well, especially considering the history of women involved in the worship of Dionysus. And I'm not the only woman who's geeked on this stature. Look at the Leni Reifenwhatever photo of it:

Raphael's Tempi Madonna
: Look at that lovely cuddle she's giving him - that mother-nuzzle, those protective hands. Oh Mary, poor Mary. Having to see your baby on a cross. That super-blows. Mary - the Catholics have used the shit out of her. If the Protestants had said she was kosher (ie intercessionary), even if the saints weren't, we wouldn't have a sub-section of the international population who could go around kiddie-fiddling without anyone consulting the police now.