Sunday, August 28, 2016

News for Individuals Performing for the Big Other...

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
Shakespeare, "As You Like It" (Act II Sc VII)
Hello Dolly!

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6 comments:

FreeThinke said...

Brief Encounter is not really about what it seems to be about at all. Noel Coward, whose profound genius I respect enormously, was homosexual. He was never particularly closeted about it, but in the era in which he rose to prominence homosexuality was not something one could discuss openly, except in the most sophisticated circles, and even there, though better understood and tacitly accepted, talking about it was generally avoided.

Coward had a great heart, was deeply patriotic, and had a profound capacity for affection and remarkable empathy for the Human Condition. However, he kept the essential sweetness of his nature well hidden behind a brittle, witty, highly mannered, elegantly clownish facade. He wore this veneer as armor against those he was afraid might abuse him if they knew the depth of his true feelings.

Enter Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard. They may not have known it, but Celia in truth served as a stand-in for a married gay man who finds what he truly yearns for in Trevor Howard who is ALSO a stand-in for a married gay man. Neither wants to give up the comfortable, respectable life each has carefully built for himself behind the sheltering cloak of traditional marriage. They are not really unhappy in their marriages, but they they each have denied themselves the essential joy of true sexual passion.

I believe Noel Coward wanted his audience to feel the agony men of his sort must continually experience in a world that has no legitimate place for them. Brief Encounter was his clever way of doing just that without exposing himself to ridicule.

I doubt somehow, that this interpretation of Coward's almost unbearably poignant tale ever occurred to Zizek, and may never have been known by Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard, but that doesn't mar the point Zizek tries to make about the nature of the facades ALL of us must put on for any number of reasons in order to make ourselves seem acceptable to the society in which we must live.

The irony of what you have presented here, dear Farmer, is that the adroit PARODY that elegantly attempts to make a mockery of Coward's wistful tale is much closer to the literal truth than the play as Coward originally presented it.

Which brings us to the point of asking why do so many homosexuals both male and female present themselves as grotesque CARICATURES of the sex they are not, but truly wish they could be?

I believe it is what psychiatrists like to call a Defense Mechanism. By continually mocking themselves and everyone impinging on their lives they can successfully avoid protect themselves from being badly hurt, because the caricature the world despises and often find humorous in unkind ways is ARTIFICIAL and, therefore, cannot be hurt.

I first experienced Brief Encounter as a little boy in a television adaptation that featured Wendell Corey as the doctor. I hadn't clue a to what it was all about. I still hadn't heard abut the birds and the bees, yet I distinctly remember feeling terribly upset by the thing which struck my nine-year-old mind as heartbreakingly sad. It actually made me cry, which upset my parents a good deal, as you may imagine. The spell it cast over me lasted several days –– a singular experience I've never forgotten.

Funny how one can feel so intensely without understanding a thing about why, isn't it?

-FJ said...

Interesting. I hadn't really considered Coward's motives, but now that you mention it, it seems logical, as do the rest of your insightful comments. Thank you for sharing them. I think that you've struck the mark all around.

-FJ said...

ps - Perhaps none have more need to believe in the "Big Other" than homosexuals. Perhaps its' responsible for their overtly exaggerated and maintained "fashion" sense.

FreeThinke said...

Thank you for your und words and understanding. What you say about exaggerated Fashion Sense, et.al. is no doubt correct, but it fails to take into account the vast number of homosexuals who live and work in the larger society unnoticed, because their outward appearance seems perfectly normal.

Oh yes, Virginia, they do, indeed exist! };^)>

I've always felt the Screaming Queen and Diesel Dyke phenomena, which trouble and offend most, present an ATTACK on the "normal society" which despises, rejects and causes much grief and anxiety in this curious segment of society. In my view it's a childish method of wreaking VENGEANCE on one's tormentors. I say "childish," because it's inherently self-defeating, and serves only to underscore and strengthen the larger society's ill feelings against the unfortunate minority.

A crude analogy bound to raise poor Gert's hackles, as if I could possibly care, illustrates the point very well:

Can you imagine how it must feel to be a JEW who took expensive elocution lessons to get rid of his offensive accent, had a nose job, changed his name to Basil St. Clair Rutherford, III, ;-) and finally managed to get himself accepted as a member of the "exclusive," "restricted" Westchester Country Club, he'd been longing to join only to find himself subjected to crude, anti-Jewish jokes in the locker room, at the bar, and on the golf course?

By the way, everything I said about Noel Coward might also be said of Oscar Wilde, another tormented genius with a great heart whose life ended in tragedy, and all because he refuse to Play the Game.

No matter what Zizek may think it is IMPERATIVE that all must Play the Game. Failure to do so is likely to end in utter misery and early demise. It doesn't matter whether this is right or wrong. It's just the way it IS –– and always has been.

I love Life, but have been singularly aware since childhood that a profound sadness lies at the heart of Existence.

Paradoxically, however, once we accept this it becomes a great deal easier to enjoy the many good things Life has to offer.

I have come to believe that Denial of Reality –– the quintessential, defining position taken by the Left –– may very well be the source of most-if-not-all human misery. The others being disease and natural disasters.

Thought Criminal said...

Faggotry. Meh.

Trevor Armbuster said...

Bigotry. Ugh!