Sunday, March 31, 2013

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Untitled by netra nei
Untitled, a photo by netra nei on Flickr.

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Untitled by netra nei
Untitled, a photo by netra nei on Flickr.

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Untitled by netra nei
Untitled, a photo by netra nei on Flickr.

11 Design Blogs

Eleven design blogs started following my Tumblr in the last 24 hours.

I don't get it?

Most are, oddly enough, interior design--all but two are women.

I usually get 2-3 new followers a day except on the odd days I decide to follow some new Tumblrs. Then, of course, you get more in the form of follow backs.

In my past experience, usually when you get a sudden spike in followers it means something from your Tumblr (and probably not my work since only about .001 of what I post is by me) is getting a decent amount of rebloggings.

I'm guessing a design-focused blog (interior design) snagged something by someone I posted on my Tumblr is this is the cause of the spike.

It would be nice if these people actually favorited other things on the blog (by artists I admire) but then I'm saying this and I probably only reblog other blogs once every ten days. Not because there's not GREAT stuff in my feed with the Tumblrs I follow (there usually IS!).

It's just I spend so much more time watching my Flickr feed--work from my contacts.

They keep me happy and busy!




Saturday, March 30, 2013

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Untitled by William Keckler
Untitled, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

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Untitled by William Keckler
Untitled, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

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Untitled by William Keckler
Untitled, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

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Untitled by William Keckler
Untitled, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

uilts

uilts by William Keckler
uilts, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

don't touch my sparkles

your opinion on this matter means a lot to me

your opinion on this matter means a lot to me

your opinion on this matter means a lot to me

Untitled

Untitled by William Keckler
Untitled, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

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Untitled by William Keckler
Untitled, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

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Untitled by William Keckler
Untitled, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

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Untitled by William Keckler
Untitled, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

I Know That Feel, Bro


For Yet Another Atrabilious One

Don't take this the wrong way, but I find the way you chew on my tongue constantly in your critiques of me and everybody-else-on-the-planet-who-isn't-you to be a little sexy.

I mean it's like watching a bullfight in your mouth.

I would possibly like to invite you to dinner, but only if you promise to dine on my tongue.

Watching you chew on vegetables or animals (even some animal's tongue) would pale in comparison.

And I know you will. Dine on my tongue. Because everyone in the world can see it's your favorite meal. Clearly you love the taste of it.

You eat it the way certain primitive men eat bull penis, convinced they are gaining the masculine essence of the bull.

Except you speak of me in feminine terms. You insult me the way you insult women and brag about your insults to women.

I think this is because you are what--seventy years old? Seventy-five?

I was telling my partner about you today and he was asking why you still exist in my world and I said, "But he's funny. He's witty. He's cultured. He's just stupid. He can't help that he's stupid because he's proud of his stupidity and his pride comes first. He's an old school man."

My partner considered you pitiful and thought it was infradig that I still read you. But I like your art, I like your poetry and I like you despite your monstrous failings as a human being. I know you don't approve of gay people either and you're one of those who think your approval means something (it does not). 

(I'm sorry I said this in English instead of your native tongue.)

Lol.

I said "native tongue."

You produce crappy art most days. But still I feel a tenderness towards you. You produced crap again today.

But some days you produce wonderful things. Maybe it's not you. Maybe it's just the world producing it.

I think I only love what comes through you. but I hope you have someone to hold your hand while you're dying if you die at a rate where hand holding is appropriate.

But I sense you wouldn't want that. Even then.

You'll probably be trying to draw something and feel safe in your coldness in the act of drawing while real human beings tend the wires and tubes going around and into your body.

I'm sorry you read my blog and it raised your superstitious hackles, which always come up when you think the world is a stage and believe that everyone is an actor and there are set lines to deliver and a way to deliver them.

I assure you it's all just seaweed.

But seaweed burns down beautifully and leaves a wonderful ash.

You can even draw with it.

As you have done.

You drew my portrait in seaweed ash and bile.

Such pretty colors.

Such a crappy drawing.

I love the way you lie to yourself.

You have style.

And if you can't have heart you should at least have a style (or two or three).

< 3



the cool boil of existence

the creepy sense of a human tongue in there

Friday, March 29, 2013

Untitled

Untitled by paul paper
Untitled, a photo by paul paper on Flickr.

⌇ by Andreas Schimanski
, a photo by Andreas Schimanski on Flickr.

MAXXI Waiting

Colosseo

Colosseo by massimo faccioli pintozzi
Colosseo, a photo by massimo faccioli pintozzi on Flickr.

Keats grave

Keats grave by massimo faccioli pintozzi
Keats grave, a photo by massimo faccioli pintozzi on Flickr.

Untitled

Untitled by Brynhild E Winther
Untitled, a photo by Brynhild E Winther on Flickr.

John Cage Being a Little Performing Monkey



Some purist commenters get angry at the audience's laughter, but c'mon.

If you can't see the sense of humor (Buddhist or otherwise) Cage is clearly indulging here, there's probably something wrong with you.

Other commenters insist the (anticipated) audience laughter is part of the composition itself.

Well, there's "aleatoric" and then there's  interpreting "aleatoric" too broadly.

I think Cage understood the venue properly and gauged his performance accordingly.

It still illustrates his ideology, his working principles.

It's only pandering to a degree.

It's not something I'd want to watch again but it amused me to see him shooting from that lower level.




So Strange



So strange to find this on YouTube.

Anthony de Mare performed this live for the very small number of us who had chanced the weather (snowstorm) to hear him play a free concert at a local university.

He was quite "on" that night and it was a very imaginative program of edgier composers, including some younger composers de Mare had only recently (at that time) discovered--and we got to hear a few works by them debuted.

I think de Mare's interpretations of Monk continue up to the present day.

why do i so often connect her with the indigenous here


Gotham Lullaby


Lido di Ostia.

please release me

please release me by William Keckler
please release me, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

Egg-Shaped Collage

Egg-Shaped Collage by Joanna Key
Egg-Shaped Collage, a photo by Joanna Key on Flickr.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

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Untitled by William Keckler
Untitled, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

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Untitled a video by Wendy Was Here on Flickr.

The nonpareil Wendy Morgan...

here comes everybody

here comes everybody by William Keckler
here comes everybody, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

spider

spider by William Keckler
spider, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

spider

spider by William Keckler
spider, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

Untitled

Untitled by Brynhild E Winther
Untitled, a photo by Brynhild E Winther on Flickr.

I Love Red Door Consigment Gallery

You can visit the site here.

I can't recommend this business highly enough--they also sell online so if you're not local check them out that way.

I met one of the proprietors and a very friendly salesperson tonight. This is my second time through and they're kind enough to let me photograph.

If you're into Eames era design, they're loaded up with gorgeous rarities from that period, most in pristine condition.

But they have furniture, decorative sundries and objets d'art from all periods, going back to the nineteenth century.

They also sell period office furniture and associated vintage office supplies, etc.

Oh, they also carry things like antique and vintage toys.

The owner was so nice she didn't even give me the "closing" call until almost 7:20 p.m.--and they close at 7 p.m.!

So congenial!

I am trying to get someone in my family to go for that great Poang chair she has there (ottoman and all) for only 45 little cherrystones.

Its cushions are a pretty red and it's in immaculate condition. At IKEA that would be well over 200 once you added in the extras (ottoman and cushions are separate with Poang).

She said that had just arrived today and she knew that would go fast.

I don't want to give you the impression she specializes in lighter furnishings like this. A lot of people look down on IKEA furniture, but I don't--well, not some of it. Admittedly, IKEA does produce a lot of ugly, flimsy crap (one example, the "Aneboda" line) but the Poang is a fun, comfortable chair. It's a pleasant design to behold.

Red Door tends to carry weightier furniture mostly produced in the early to mid-late twentieth century; in other words, they sell pieces produced in a period when craftsmanship still meant something and furniture wasn't just cheap veneer, flimsy constructions passed off as quality workmanship.

I mean you can go to Ethan Allen today and pay way too much for the same crap they're selling at Value City.

The only way you get good furniture today is if you know a living, working craftsman, inherit good furniture from older relations who die, or patronize a business like Red Door.

Not My

favorite Scissor Sisters song by a longshot, but I think it's probably one of their funniest, dark humor-wise.


Philippe Starck


Renault presente La Twingo (1994)





Love the commercial.

What's not to love about Bobby McFerrin and Yo-Yo Ma?

I love their collabs. I love them separately.

La Twingo is cute.

I'm rereading one of my favorite miniature books, Barbara-Ann Campbell's masterful survey of design in her Paris, which was published by Konemann in 1997.

She writes so well on great design and art.

She doesn't just confine herself to the architecture of Paris (circa 1997). She looks backwards in time and forwards in time to projects only then being planned or realized for the city, and she looks at interior design and other utilitarian design you wouldn't expect the author to even consider, such as auto design in her miniature essay on Renault's La Twingo.

There are entries on ephemeral arts/design projects which were already gone at the time the book went to press (such as Christo's wrapping of the Pont Neuf) and includes documentary photographs of such events.

It's just a really classy little book and the black and white photography is truly great.

I love her entry on the vanished Cafe Costes. She writes so well of the charm and seduction of Philippe Starck's commissioned designs for this: "The late Cafe Costes deserves to be remembered for two things besides its clientele: its chairs and its toilets."

"Chairs in Paris spill out of cafes, redefining the edges of buildings. A corner cafe will, during its working hours, arrange outdoors an undulating skirt of chairs and tables, a shifting landscape fluttering and cluttering in response to climates meteorological and conversational. Particularly wonderful about the Cafe Costes chairs was the way they appeared to be talking to one another before they were occupied."

And further along in the author's writing on this cafe: "In the toilets transparent basins meet a mirror-wall of water against which men pee. A zig-zagging glass partition of sandblasted translucency divides Hommes from Dames. Women are disorientated by kaleidoscopic mirrors: is this a door or a wall? Expressed water pipes and water acoustics orchestrate the no-hands minimalism."

I enjoy the way the author's mind works and her attention to detail in every entry she makes on the city which stimulates her senses to a clearly rapturous degree.

Philippe Starck is a charmer as a designer and he so often has a great sense of humor about our expectations with regard to the concept of futurity.

I remember when he was a one of Target's designer darlings, but I don't think they feature anything by him anymore. Maybe they can't afford him.

But his designs were inexpensive. He knew he was designing for the masses and used inexpensive materials so the objects retailed at incredibly low prices but still brightened up rooms.

I don't know where my Starck letter opener has gotten to. It's in the house somewhere.

His letter opener was a fluorescent lime green and the shape was basically Brancusi's sculpture Flight revisited, a miniature lucite version of that in a color which glowed so you felt there was an interior source of light in the object.

Oh, it was 2002. Here it is on Starck's website, where you can see his designs organized chronologically, year by year.

It says "sold out."

Wow, someone is selling them on EBAY for only $1.99. In the original packaging. I'm sure that's cheaper than Target priced them. And the seller has multiples.




Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Addictions

Addictions of past: Alcohol. Degradation. Feeling of doom. Addictions of present: Jelly beans (preferred: Brach's "bird egg" jelly beans). Tantric sex with hubby. Cleaning house. Feeling of floating but not floating too high above earth....floating at just the right height...right where his eyes meet mine. Sappy pop music...so sappy you have to put down buckets like they do for those maples in Canada or Maine or wherever. Discovering new vegetables. Tonight I found "green pigeon peas." Are these real or a remarketing/repackaging of lima beans, which they superficially resemble on the packaging?  Oh well, we'll find out. (Who knew there were green pigeons lol.)

dessert?

dessert? by William Keckler
dessert?, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

Untitled

Untitled by William Keckler
Untitled, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

arts and crafts style lamp

Untitled

Untitled by William Keckler
Untitled, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

Will Ryman: Bird

Will Ryman: Bird by Scoboco
Will Ryman: Bird, a photo by Scoboco on Flickr.

Otafuku

Otafuku by Scoboco
Otafuku, a photo by Scoboco on Flickr.

Lee

and I were listening to idiot Rush Limbaugh coming to the realization about several decades late that gay marriage will be a fact throughout the entire nation in the near future.

And this cast him into doubt about where the Republicans are going to "recruit" now that the younger generations and even the minorities towards which Republicans have lately become so "charitable" (read condescending) have zero interest in any part of the Republican agenda.

Well, your answer is right there, Rush. Give up. Die off. We don't have Whigs anymore either.

The funniest part was when Rush talked about what he perceived to be ingratitude on the part of one minority when Republicans had introduced and helped shepherd through a bill that espoused a somewhat lenient attitude towards immigration.

Umm...once those people are citizens, they have to eat, dear Rush. And if they want to eat with what they make they can't vote Republican. Are you really an idiot as well as a hater?

So you lament that when you do people favors they still won't like you. Well, that is correct, Rush. Because even if you become gay marriage's biggest advocate, I will never like you Rush. Because I remember what you said in the early days of AIDS when you were working out in California and living right next to neighbors who were dying of a new plague. You wished they would all die of that "new" disease, didn't you? Sure, you apologized but only after you reaped all the attention you knew such a statement would get and earned the love of all the other haters who composed your demographic at that time. After you had contributed to the ignorance and darkness of the soul of America, you "apologized."

Rush Limbaugh, you had your day. The Republican party treated you like a god. Some quarters still do. It's a shame you won't be here to see history's verdict on you. But then you won't be missing much since you will cease to exist and your name will cease to be mentioned. Because you certainly didn't excel at anything good or worthwhile and you didn't even succeed at evil so well as to merit inclusion in either history's annals or its anals. You are a hugely famous mediocrity and unoriginal thinker and the future doesn't have much use for those. Your mind and morals are as tasteless as that condo you were having trouble selling last year. Everything loud and garish and made to glisten but with no sense of design or aesthetic weight, 10,000 calories and no taste. Your condo looked exactly like your mind and soul, Rush Limbaugh.

This made Lee think of a video one of his FB friends had posted. I thought it was cute.

Here ya go. Sort of a gay man version of Lysistrata. Except not in Greek and done for the fabu College Humor site.


Gratitude

Gratitude for 35 days of complete sobriety in all things. And Spring has almost sprung.

I filled five large bags with clothing to donate to the Volunteers of America store.

Five bags of clothing hanging in my closet which were just hanging there doing nobody any good!

I have no idea why I even bought some of those things. Some were to sell and then I never sold them (vintage stuff).

I only kept the vintage stuff I or Lee would actually wear.

Some of it was more appropriate for someone in their twenties or with more street cred than I will ever have lol.

You look a little silly at my age with a bandana over your mouth and a can of spray paint in your hand.

Well, if you're my age or older and do that, more power to you.

I'll make a "guerilla documentary" about your activities and we will film it only at night.

Yes. That will work.

I'm off to look for some new shirts.

Blessings on everyone reading this and the people not reading this.

My joy is not a careful parcel.

Except it is.

You know what I mean.

an eye of green in it

an eye of green in it by William Keckler
an eye of green in it, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

Untitled

Untitled by William Keckler
Untitled, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

FIRELIGHT FRIENDSHIP PLYWOOD

"say it isn't so"

"say it isn't so" by William Keckler
"say it isn't so", a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

joy

joy by William Keckler
joy, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

chocolate handed prayers for you

Make a Movie

Make a movie about two large companies which own two gargantuan, miles long, depressing, nineteenth century factories. These are made to appear as steel mills and actually produce incredible amounts of smoke and pollution, even though no steel is produced. The trains coming through the steel mill are all empty. All the sounds of the trains loading and unloading and the sounds of the steel mill at "work" are actually recordings. In one of the two factories, they produce a poison for sad people. The evil emissaries (paid emloyees) of the factory dose unhappy people to make them unhappier. The other factory produces a poison for joy. This is a much stronger poison. The evil workers in this plant also go about like spies poisoning joyous people. Even though the two companies have similar end goals and methodology, similar sneaky strategies, they are at constant corporate war and infiltrate each other constantly. They steal and examine each other's formulas. Both of these companies bilk endless amounts of money from the government and many business conglomerates, who thrive when the nation is filled with unhappy people. When corporate spies are caught, they are summarily executed by company A or company B. In your movie, two people from these separate factories should fall in love but they should bond over their shared love of making people unhappier. It could be a straight or gay romance. But one of them considers making unhappy people happier his/her science and art both and the other feels the same way with his/her efforts in bringing joyful people down to misery. When they are most in love, one or both of them begin experimenting with secretly dosing their lover with the unhappiness formula produced by their own company. Or else--knowing that a spy will test for the other's company's poison routinely using little test strips--one of them proves wilier than the other and uses the lover's own company's poison against him/her. Because we rarely test ourselves for our own poisons.

This movie should have a very dark palette. I mean literal tonalities.

I mean even darker than the one Neil Jordan used in Interview with the Vampire.

And that was a pretty motherfucking dark print.

I couldn't even see all the blacks in the London river scenes until I was stoned in the theater.

sometimes the way she holds her hands

sort of reminds me of Carrie.

But she is great fun to see in concert.

Her staging is usually wild and imaginative.

And I never cease to marvel at how tiny she is. I mean I sit there the whole concert just thinking, "You're so tiny...you're so wonderful...you're so tiny..."

Creepy, I know.

She's going to be down near Allentown or Bethlehem for her latest tour.

For Lee, it would be the fourth time if we go, which we probably will.

This is sort of a sleepy rendering. I wanted to post the taut album version, but the posters who had that had all made really sucky videos.

I like the old trope of elves or fairies stealing children, as is the story here.

It's so weird to realize even Stephen King's Storm of the Century is that same folklore, just told in a very long and roundabout and bloody manner.


workprint


Untitled

Untitled by William Keckler
Untitled, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

villain

villain by William Keckler
villain, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.

hell is other pretzels

the songs that come into your head in the middle of the night


birdhouses in the night

Monday, March 25, 2013

Hiromu Tsuboi

is someone whose Tumblr starting following my Tumblr tonight.

And of course my Tumblr immediately followed back.

I love playful art.

shout out poem

who are you shouting at
and who are
you shouting at
and oh my god
who or what
are you shouting at
who or what
that is a box
you do realize
that is a box right
do you realize
that is a box
you are shouting
into a box
that box doesn't even
have any openings
you do realize
don't you
that is a box
that is actually solid
on all six sides
you are shouting
into it at who
or what i do not know
but who are you
shouting at and why
the hell am i curious
that you are a shouter
since you're a shouter
and you shout daily
into a box it's quite lovely
quite embarrassing
quite embarrasingly lovely
that you are so in love
with shouting
with shouting into a box
your loves are shouting loves
you have a great shouting love
in a century of shouters
all your friends and lovers
are shouters too
i no longer want
to hold your hand
but i may hold your shout
like a hand in my hand
your shout out
i always hear
like birds or a factory
or the cab drivers
maybe a funny epitaph
except you're not dead
except you are
i love you
you horrible horrible person
you shouter you
you bird on a wire
you and your shouter friends
like a lynch mob
learning to dance
i see you through the window
of the dance studio
preparing for some cruise
shouters go on together
i think it's called a canon
or maybe cannon
it's probably loud like you




Baudelaire's Essay "On the Essence of Laughter"

I read Baudelaire's essay "On the Essence of Laughter" tonight.

It's probably not surprising that Baudelaire's well-developed critical mind wants to immediately equate laughter with the critical (and hyper-critical) faculties in others, and particularly the splenetic tendencies so readily apparent in artistic caricature.

He works from a Christian point of view often in this essay, and considers laughter as something alien to the prelapsarian soul, something distinctly Adamic, or in Baudelaire's somewhat goofy but charming idolect, "the Satanic."

I follow some artists who work repeatedly in caricature. I have to admit I don't find it to be a very evolved concept of art. It's usually practiced by people who have become myopically focused on certain bugbears or pet peeves. When it works, it's usually because the particular has tapped into the universal. And sometimes this happens. But I think with caricature more often than not it does not. Sometimes caricature is the point of departure, but the work of art quickly deepens beyond that to formalistic concerns that yield a profitable end result for the artist. When the caricature is visual art--as opposed to a literary creation--it is not only a caricature (visual cues to a semantic or verbal recognition desired) but also a designed, visual object independent of its semantic freight.

But my real problem with caricature is that it's not usually that intellectually challenging. To be caricature, it has to retain a certain grossness. And that grossness mires me in the artist's ego, his or her relation to the subject matter (what is being satirized). And then I feel cheated of transcendence. Because this artist is wallowing in the mire of the wrong otherness. Otherness is wonderful. Just not that otherness. Hell is only other people if you are obsessed with other people. Why not get interested in more challenging ideas than individual people? The most interesting individuals have mostly annihilated themselves and the pettiness of their egos, but continue to function in the world in a capacity that shows their openness to experience and ideas has broadened and deepened.

Why not critique cultures or dated ways of seeing rather than individual fragile and friable human egos?

Perhaps these are personal predilections. But I am most attracted to people whose personal predilections have moved beyond the personal.

Baudelaire limns a dichotomy of laughter. He believes laughter is elicited by either the significative comic or the absolute comic.

The significative comic is the sort I discuss above, caricature and satire. Baudelaire sees this as stemming from someone's perceived superiority over other beings.

The absolute comic is the sort of thing which the surrealists would later call le merveillux or even the anguished laughter which existentialism derived from humankind's innate state of absurdity.

Baudelaire makes the distinction that the significative comic has its root in man's perceived superiority over his fellow man, whereas the absolute comic has its root in man's perceived superiority over nature.

It's interesting how Baudelaire just launches off into discussing primarily the significative comic--as though it were the entirety of laughter--and then while the reader is arguing in his head, "No, that's not all laughter is!" he changes gears and launches into his concept of the absolute comic, which is surprisingly flexible and durable as a conceptual category.

This latter concept would embrace even such odd causes of laughter as the pareidolia experience or the sort of chilled laughter one will often experience when one encounters something one finds so strange as to be almost uncanny. Baudelaire connects this form of laughter (the absolute) with the idea of the grotesque as well.

Living in the century he did, Baudelaire could only draw on examples from the nineteenth century or before, so he focuses on writers like E.T.A. Hoffmann. What he values most in Hoffmann is his ability to embody the absolute comic, but he likes the mixture sometimes present in Hoffman's tales of both the significative and the absolute comic. 

Baudelaire sees his own contemporary French culture as one opposed to the idea of the absolute comic, with a few exceptions that he notes, writers like Rabelais.

One suspects how much Baudelaire would have loved to have existed in the 20th century! He had a mind already designed for it. I suppose one could argue he helped design that century's mind (well, the "art mind" of that century anyway) through his own writing, belletristic and critical.

I don't think Baudelaire's dichotomy really covers all forms of laughter. The human mind is so strange. He does exempt the laughter of children from his categorizations. He pleads the case that childhood's mind is an altogether different animal and writes of that rarefied state rather eloquently.

But Baudelaire believes in strong dualities. I don't know if this type of thinking stems from his spiritual beliefs or if this tendency of his precedes any particular ideology. Some thinkers just prefer dualities to continua. Hence, Baudelaire's metaphorical play with the prelapsarian versus the Adamic, childhood versus adulthood, the significative comic versus the absolute comic.

I can imagine types of laughter which don't fit into either of Baudelaire's categories. We laugh for all kinds of strange reasons. Sometimes we laugh merely at our own physical or emotional pain, like a weird reflex.

Sometimes we laugh from pure happiness or joy. Baudelaire does bring up this sort of elation in his essay but I don't really believe it can be convincingly assigned to either the significative or absolute comic category.

And there are other forms of laughter which just don't fit into either of these tidy categories. Insane laughter, just to give one more example, although again Baudelaire does mention this. But I don't believe that's an example of the absolute comic as Baudelaire develops the concept. It doesn't fit at all. It's nothing to do with a human's perceived sense of superiority over other humans or a human's perceived sense of superiority over nature.

I think Baudelaire comes close to getting at laughter when he discusses a study done by physiologists contemporary with him (who came to the conclusion that laughter is rooted in that sense of superiority). Because he mentions monkeys. Baudelaire wasn't working with any advanced scientific perspectives (which were really only coming into existence just then) so he couldn't resort to primatology. But he does spookily sense this, and monkeys are discussed more than once. Some forms of laughter can be pretty tidily explained away as hominid tics. Trot out this or that volume of Desmond Morris.

Baudelaire does show subtlety by introducing examples of objects from other cultures (for example, priapic sculpture from the ancient world) and stressing how with cultural distance we read so many of these objects in a completely different manner than the originative cultures read them.

If you need any proof of how true this is, all you have to do is read Baudelaire's account of his rapture at the visit of an English pantomime troupe to France around the time this essay was written. Most of France vilified the troupe. Baudelaire loved them to death and gives a minute account and analysis of their every move.

And you realize this is something which would not translate as humor in today's world--or very, very poorly at best.

Baudelaire saw this pantomime as the apotheosis of the absolute comic. He much preferred the English Pierrot to the French Pierrot.

Baudelaire was deliciously weird.  Baudelaire was a freakball.

Part of the joy and anguish of reading Baudelaire is seeing how his mind made these impossible leaps towards the twentieth century, the quixotic game he made of the challenges presented  him by the multipicity of cultures he ingested as a committed omnivore.

And yet he is trapped in a hunk of amber like an iridescent insect.

So much pathos and beauty in his plight.

He's damn funny quite often.

In describing his lecherous English Pierrot, he writes this: "Pierrot walks past a woman who is scrubbing her doorstep; after rifling her pockets, he makes to stuff into his own her sponge, her mop, her bucket, water and all! As for the way in which he endeavoured to express his love to her, anyone who remembers observing the phanerogamous habits of the monkeys in their famous cage at the Jardin des Plantes can imagine it for himself."

I think Baudelaire's chief charm lies in his obsession with making endless and endlessly rarefied distinctions, and his being unafraid to be idealistic and uncouth by quick turns.

He's dizzy with the pleasure of all otherness and this vertigo is infectious.














a few of my things

are located in this part of Psykomatic.

I like quite a few of the other pieces rubricized in this part of the website.

Thanks for having me.

McDroplet

McDroplet by William Keckler
McDroplet, a photo by William Keckler on Flickr.