samedi 18 avril 2009

Waiting for the frogs

Water lilies

it's raining.
it's drizzling.
the young man is avoiding.
gone to his room,
to organize his things
'cause waiting for Godot
is so disappointing.

(Sung to the tune of well, you can guess. It's a bit of a train wreck with all the extra syllables, but you can do it.)

At least I think that's what all the noise up there is. I am unaccustomed to the sounds of cleaning over my head. It's desperate when Sam sees organizing his room and dusting, which can only be done after he places his cherished mementos of his enormously rich young life into the plastic storage bins purchased for this effect yesterday at Mr. Bricolage, under the amused and watchful eye of the employee, so charmed with my accent when I purchased new outdoor electric cables for the various garden power tools the other day, as superior to anything else he could possibly be doing. We heard all about his opinion of Waiting for Godot at lunch. Audouin most especially appreciated it.

"Et bien, ça revient à mes arguments de hier soir à propos de l'art moderne."

"Ah, non! Ne recommençons pas!"

"Tout depend de l'opinion de l'individu si c'est de l'art ou non." I take umbrage and a totally different point of view, which is that we are not all equally apt to judge art and pronounce a painting or a piece of writing as art or worthless. There are, in other words, determining standards not available to all if not prepared. My husband, while conceding a minimum of truth in this point of view, maintains that art is democratic and the criterion for determining whether something constitutes a work of art lies in whether it is pleasing to the individual.

That's when I start to see living rooms decorated with art market (you've seen them advertised on cable television, the ones for hotel managers, dental office managers and suburban home owners) sea landscapes and clown heads on velvet.

Art, the always subjective, according to doctors and statisticians, whose world is bounded by the unarguable and superior objective, where they feel they can rule both.

Warhol is the subject of the moment. In Brest, I bought Sam a collection of essays on Andy Warhol by Cécile Guilbert that won last year's Le Médicis Prize, Warhol Spirit. I had considered buying it for him for Christmas, but that was when I thought he might still be able to pull off a decent second première. I have given up. He bought a Holga from Hong Kong for a few euros and adapted it for 135 mm film ("120 mm is too expensive, Mom"), and he has been photographing everything again. He showed me his savings, a collection of euro pieces and monnaie in a plastic box on his desk.

"I've been taking a fork with me and buying salads to save from my lunch money for developing film." He's motivated. I broke down and bought him the book of essays and a book that situates Warhol in pop art. Warhol is the perfect complement to his fascination with gangsta' rap. He knows more about the Crips and the Bloods than the LAPD. Teen disillusion and frustration. I remind him the same courses through the veins of the racaille in the VF.

"You're the same."

He knows it.

He probably is an artist. Of some kind. Blame it on me unless his father has something to add to our understanding. His fascination with global politics and the three dictators of the second world war are not necessarily sufficient to motivate a university career in political science and economics for a career in international law, as much as he wants to make an indecent living and rule the world. Stewie, minus the Broadway songman flair, comes to mind.

What really motivates him is popular culture, litterature, photography and advertising (another way to earn an indecent living), so when Asmaa left him with a copy of Waiting for Godot, saying that he absolutely must read it in preparation for this year's attempt at the French bac, he dove right in, which I learned at dinner last night when he came to the table, collapsed on his left elbow, shoulders nearly in his plate, and said, "Attendant Godot c'est de la merde. Mais c'est nul de nul. Il ne se passe rien."

"That's the point."

"There is no point."

"You can read it as a commentary on the human condition. Situate it in its historical context, after the war." He wasn't buying it, and Audouin was having a field day, the sparkles in his eyes dancing, the wrinkles around them folding in the wide grin his cheek muscles were barely attempting to lessen. His point of view was ascendant, being illustrated by the resident litterary scholar.

I was ready to kill Sam. I get it. It's the story of my life. Call me Didi.

Waiting for the frogs.

"No truth value attaches to the above, regarded as of merely structural and dramatic convenience."
-- Samuel Beckett, referring to Waiting for Godot.

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