Just One Step

Life is ridiculous. I don’t say this with any negative connotations. I am not saying this sarcastically, or in any existentialist sort of way. I simply mean, life is ridiculous.

It is a dark comedy on a never ending stage, and even as the scenes change, sometimes in quick procession, the entire thing never moves past Act I, and you are left to wonder, “is this a one act play?” Unfortunately life doesn’t come with a table of contents.

Have you ever heard Jacques Brel sing? You should. I think everyone should, at least once.

Anyway, I digress.

I was looking at Courbet’s L’Atelier (top of this blog). Beautiful painting, and utterly ridiculous. What do you see? Probably not what I see. I am sure what you think is happening is quite different from my own interpretation. I think I will keep mine to myself.

I am obviously in a francophile kind of mood, so while you are at it:

Also, since we are on the topic of both the French and how ridiculous life is, read Sartre’s The Family Idiot.

Today I read a story in The Paris Review on Frida Kahlo. If you weren’t aware, she had a plethora of physical ailments, one of which required her to wear a plaster corset for most of her life. She changed them out regularly, and crafted art on each. The art was interesting, but what captivated my eye was a quote by Charles Baxter that the author felt applies to Kahlo as well. Here is the excerpt:

Charles Baxter once found what he called “the last appeal” in a scene from Sherwood Anderson, a woman running naked in the rain, begging attention from an old deaf man. “Her body,” he writes, “her last semiotic appeal, or vulnerability, or precious secret—it’s all of these things, but it will not be reduced to one meaning—carries the burden of her longing, and becomes the record of erasure.”

Every time a piece of her body failed, got amputated, or stopped performing properly, Kahlo undid the erasure through her art, decorating the very pieces that were a reminder of her suffering. She masked her pain with paint.

I thought that was interesting.

None of this really goes together, but rather bits and pieces of what I looked at today, and somehow came to the conclusion that life is ridiculous.

As Napoleon once said “du sublime au ridicule il n’y a qu’un pas.”

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