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.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

Will Self: “To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one.”

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."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

I Steal from Both: The Simpsons and Henry James

Louis Bayar:

"No matter how many times you're reminded, you will always forget you're watching an animated show. Mr. Burns and Waylon Smithers, Principal Skinner and Groundskeeper Willie, Barney and Apu and Moe and Ned Flanders and Krusty the Clown (with his superb initial "K") will seem more real than any flesh-and-blood television family. More real, maybe, than your own family because life can't distill us quite so succinctly into our essences. For that, we need art. Which "The Simpsons" manifestly is."

My younger brother Bhaiyya (Abhimanyu अभिमन्यु ) - one of  Vasant Sarwate's  (वसंत सरवटे) and the late Vijay Tendulkar's (विजय तेंडुलकर) favourite cartoonists-   introduced me to The Simpsons more than a decade ago. And the life has never been the same again.

Since then I have often looked at the world through the eyes of  The Simpsons.

Most times I have behaved like Homer Simpson, my mother and wife have been like Marge Simpson, my son and brother have been like Bart Simpson, my sister has been like Maggie Simpson, fundamentally most of my corporate bosses have been like Mr. Burns, whenever I have felt a bit intellectual I have been like Lisa Simpson, the cops have been like Chief Wiggum, politicians have been like Mayor Quimby, drivers on the roads have been like Otto Mann, when we had a tom cat - Chintya (c1969- 1981)-  he was like Snowball and slowly I am turning into Abe Simpson....

Whenever I get very critical of US and Americans- white and brown, I remember my indebtedness to that nation...She gave me 'The Simpsons' and Orson Welles...I forgive her and them...

As A O Scott says: 

“I have long been of the opinion that the entire history of American popular culture — maybe even of Western civilization — amounts to little more than a long prelude to “The Simpsons."

And thanks to the globalization, instead of Western  civilization, we can just say middle-class life.

There of course was a similar family in my past: C V Joshi (चिं. वि. जोशी) created Chimanrao's (चिमणराव)  family. That family to me is as dear as  'The Simpsons'. 

I have spent days reading and fantasizing about that family- how Chimanrao and co. might behave in a particular situation in my life.  TV serial based on it was good but not even close to the greatness of the original. You have to be Orson Welles or Yasujirō Ozu or Guru Dutt to capture its warmth on the TV screen!

In one of the greatest essays I have read in my life, 'Divine Comedy', Julian Gough writes:

 “A comparison between The Simpsons and a soap opera is instructive. A soap opera is trapped inside the rules of the format; all soaps resemble each other (like psychologically plausible realist novels). What the makers of The Simpsons did was take a soap opera and put a frame around it: "this is a cartoon about a soap opera." This freed them from the need to map its event-rate on to real life: they could map its event-rate on to cartoon life. A fast event-rate is inherently comic, so the tone is, of necessity, comic. But that is not to say it isn't serious. The Simpsons is profoundly serious. And profoundly comic. Like Aristophanes, debating the war between Athens and Sparta by writing about a sex strike by the women of Athens and beyond.

With its cartoon event-rate, a classic series of The Simpsons has more ideas over a broader cultural range than any novel written the same year. The speed, the density of information, the range of reference; the quantity, quality and rich humanity of the jokes—they make almost all contemporary novels seem slow, dour, monotonous and almost empty of ideas.

So steal from The Simpsons, not Henry James."

I steal from both! 

I may yet fail but no one can blame me for not stealing! 

 

courtesy: Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, Sam Simon, Fox...

Look at the picture. It's a treasure trove. Look at the frame on the wall...Duff beer can, fish skeleton,  cupcakes on the carpet, TV remote, cat and dog sharing premium space on couch...Healthy food in Lisa's hands and junk in Bart's...How happy they look together...

They are wishing us happy 2013!