G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

'Failed to Provide Me with a Male Heir' Still Works

T S Eliot:

...you do not know
The unspoken voice of sorrow in the ancient bedroom
At three o'clock in the morning. I am not speaking
Of my own experience, but trying to give you
Comparisons in a more familiar medium...

As sex-ratio (F/M) tumbles in so called prosperous parts of India, a woman in even a modern Indian bedroom is well versed with this: You have failed to provide me with a male heir.

Like her previous 'Wolf Hall', Hilary Mantel's 'Bring Up the Bodies' has received rave reviews. (I have bought both the novels but not read them.)

Amazon.com describes it thus:

"The sequel to Hilary Mantel's 2009 Man Booker Prize winner and New York Times bestseller, Wolf Hall delves into the heart of Tudor history with the downfall of Anne Boleyn

Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son..."...a male heir.

Now only a very brilliant mind can come up with a cartoon projecting 16th century's monarchy of Henry VIII onto the institution of marriage, now inclusive of same-sex variety, of 21st century.

Artist: Zachary Kanin, The New Yorker, July 2012

James Wood has called The Thomas Cromwell novels of Hilary Mantel as "Invitation to a Beheading"

"...“What if . . . there is some flaw in my marriage to Anne, some impediment, something displeasing to Almighty God?” Henry wonders. Cromwell reflects that he has heard those words before, about a different woman. History repeats as farce, and the reader comes face to face with the Henry VIII of Eleanor and Herbert Farjeon’s funny poem, once quite familiar in British classrooms:

Bluff King Hal was full of beans;
He married half a dozen queens. . . .
The first he asked to share his reign
Was Kate of Aragon, straight from Spain—
But when his love for her was spent,
He got a divorce, and out she went.
Anne Boleyn was his second wife;
He swore to cherish her all his life—
But seeing a third he wished instead,
He chopped off poor Anne Boleyn’s head.

...“Bring Up the Bodies” fills its final pages with their trial and execution. After them comes Anne Boleyn, kneeling and blindfolded, as the executioner approaches from behind with his sword: “There is a groan, one single sound from the whole crowd. Then a silence, and into that silence, a sharp sigh or a sound like a whistle through a keyhole: the body exsanguinates, and its flat little presence becomes a puddle of gore.”..."

Anne Boleyn, Courtesy: Guardian and Photograph: Roger-Viollet/Rex Features

Go back to the cartoon above. Kanin's disenchanted Henry looks and sounds so sincere. (I would name Henry's partner Thomas instead of Richard.)

Today mercifully most marriages don't end with a beheading but the reason for parting ways can be more 'lame' than that of any past monarch. To paraphrase Woody Allen: The heart DOES NOT want what it DOES NOT want.

Zachary Kanin is probably the finest cartoonist of the present times.