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.”

Shel Silverstein : “Talked my head off Worked my tail off Cried my eyes out Walked my feet off Sang my heart out So you see, There’s really not much left of me.” ~

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."

Friday, February 10, 2017

जगातले सगळ्यात प्रसिद्ध स्मितहास्य उपदंशाने जन्माला घातले आहे...Syphilis and Mona Lisa



Thomas Mann, 'Doctor Faustus‘, 1947:
“...disease that rides on high horse over all hindrances, and springs with drunken daring from peak to peak, is a thousand times dearer to life than plodding healthiness. I have never heard anything stupider then that from disease only disease can come. Life is not scrupulous—by morals it sets not a fart. It takes the reckless product of disease, feeds on and digests it, and as soon as it takes it to itself it is health. Before the fact of fitness for life, my good man, all distinction of disease and health falls away. A whole host and generation of youth, receptive, sound to the core, flings itself on the work of the morbid genius, made genius by disease: admires it, praises it, exalts it, carries it away, assimilates it unto itself and makes it over to culture, which lives not on home-made bread alone, but as well on provender and poison from the apothecary’s shop at the sign of the Blessed Messengers...”


कै. शरद जोशी:
" ...जगाचा इतिहास 'सिफिलिस' या आजाराने मोठय़ा प्रमाणावर बदलला आहे. हा लैंगिक आजार त्याचे जंतू हळूहळू मेंदूपर्यंत पसरतात आणि रोग्याच्या मनात त्यामुळे विनाकारणच काही तरी भव्यदिव्य करून दाखवावे अशी बुद्धी तयार होते. त्याकरिता आवश्यक तर हजारो नाही, लाखो लोकांचेही मुडदे पाडायला तो सहज तयार होऊन जातो. इतिहासात रशियातील पहिले तीन झार आणि अलीकडच्या इतिहासातील माओ त्से तुंग वगैरे पुढारी या वर्गात मोडतात. भारतातल्याही एका नामवंत पुढाऱ्याची गणना यातच होते. आपण अकबराचे अवतार आहोत अशी भावना करून घेऊन त्यापोटी सगळा देश लायसेन्स-परमिट-कोटा-इन्स्पेक्टर राज्यात बुडवणारे आणि इंग्रजांनी प्रस्थापित केलेली कायदा आणि सुव्यवस्था संपवून टाकणारे नेतेही या वर्गातलेच."
 (लोकसत्ता, मे २९, २०१३)

Kevin Birmingham, July 2014:
"...Unlike gonorrhea and chlamydia, a case of syphilis was often a prolonged, multi-systemic affliction. It begins when a person comes into contact with a pale, corkscrew-shaped bacterium called Treponema pallidum that gathers in lesions on an infected person’s skin and genitalia. Once the microbe enters the body, it can lurch and coil its way into virtually every type of tissue it encounters: blood vessels, muscles, joints, nerves, cerebrospinal fluid, and vital organs are all potential targets, and any two cases might present substantially different symptoms. Periods of increased spirochete activity alternate with dormant periods, and the advanced stages sometimes led to what in (James) Joyce’s time was called “general paralysis of the insane,” which could cause abrupt psychosis, erratic personality transformation, memory loss, or grandiose delusion. Raising suspicions of syphilis in virtually any public figure (Lenin and Nietzsche are two examples) stirs controversy because a syphilis diagnosis potentially tarnishes a person’s life and accomplishments, be they a political regime, a philosophy, or Finnegans Wake..."

T S Shejwalkar (त्र्यंबक शंकर शेजवलकर) says in his classic Panipat 1761 (पानिपत १७६१):  “Ahmad Shah Abdali probably had a disease like syphilis and so too was the case of Najib khan”.

Shejwalkar also speculates that some chieftains from Maharashtra (most names he quotes are Brahmins) too might have suffered from the disease. Those bigwigs married multiple times and also kept mistresses. One reason, he argues, they married very young girls late in their life because it was believed an intercourse with such a girl would rid them of the disease. The other possible reason was hypothesized increase in virility that came after mating with such a girl.

It is worth noting that all these Marathi bridegrooms left behind very young widows.

Even today that belief exists in parts of India: “… having sex with a ''fresh'' girl can cure syphilis, gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted diseases, including the virus that causes AIDS.” (The New York Times May 11, 1998)

उपदंश (Syphilis) या ब्लॉग वर यापूर्वी दोनदा आला आहे: मे १५, २००८ आणि जानेवारी ३० २०१४. उपदंशाने खूप इतिहास घडवला आहे. पण तरी हे वाचून धक्का बसला की जगातले सगळ्यात प्रसिद्ध स्मितहास्य उपदंशाने जन्माला घातले आहे!



courtesy: Wikimedia Commons  

Jonathan Jones, The Guardian, February 6 2017:

"...When Del Giocondo posed for Leonardo in 1503, syphilis was shaking Europe to its core. Some said this new disease had been brought from the new world by Columbus’s sailors in 1492. It spread like wildfire. Could there be hint of it in Leonardo’s most famous painting? The Mona Lisa is shown in front of a hilly landscape through which a road snakes towards distant water and mountains. Perhaps the far-off mountains across wide, blue water represent the new world – the source of the Mona Lisa’s secret...

...If the Mona Lisa is a portrait of someone with a sexually transmitted disease, these hints of death and illness suddenly make sense. As for her half-smile, it becomes a wry acknowledgement that sex can make you sick...

...Freud would surely think it interesting that the model of the Mona Lisa may have had syphilis. Of course, he made a lot of mistakes in his book about Leonardo. This is probably a red herring, too. However, there is surely something unhealthy about the obsessive allure that draws so many people to admire this beauty behind her screen of glass. Whatever the true meaning of the Mona Lisa, it is a slightly decadent masterpiece. Fin de siècle fantasies of syphilis-spreading vampires don’t seem so wide of the mark."

Artist: Charles Addams, The New Yorker,  April 1952