Tuesday, October 02, 2007

ISYGF, Intermission: Proust in the news!

I know, I know, I've been using this move as an excuse for my absence for so long, you've probably deemed it an empty excuse. But let me put it this way: I am currently sitting cross-legged on the hardwood floor of my empty back bedroom, sipping bourbon out of a plastic cup. We are so far into the final countdown, my friends, that we might as well be a Europe cover band. (Rim shot.)

But! As I was lying on my couch (the bed is packed)last night, lulling myself to sleep with the New Yorker, what to my wondering eyes did appear? In a profile on Marie-Laure de Noailles, patroness extraordinaire of the Surrealists, the author (Francine du Plessix Gray) writes of her encounter with de Noailles while still a young rookie reporter:

As I proceeded to interview her, any trace of tolerance she might have had for me was diminished by my lack of an adequate retort to the one query she put to me: "Men who love Proust have short penises, don't you think?"

I can't decide if I love Marie-Laure an Andalusian dog more than I did before because of this, or if I now find her to be tiresomely stuck in some sort of perpetual adolescence. (I mean, it is kind of a highschool Mean Girl trick to play. Even if it is side-rippingly funny, if you're into the Proust-mocking genre of humor. Which I, obviously, am.)

I like to think I would have had the presence of mind, in such a situation, to shoot back that the only man I've ever known who was an outright fan of Proust was, so far as I can recall, about 5'10", and from head to toes an utter dick, meaning he was by far the largest penis I've ever encountered. But that's what I like to think I'd say. And I'm not a rookie anymore; I expect, at that age, I would have been reduced to a similar stammer. Does that mean I will be writer for the New Yorker in another few decades? Friends, we can only hope.

But it does bring up an interesting point: Should an artist be judged by his or her fans? I tend to vote no, because, well: Jesus. On the other hand, I do find a... well, at least a tolerance of at least one Joss Wedon project to be a good indicator of some minimal sort of compatability with a new person. Hm. This is the sort of question that, in a perfect world, would be solved with the judicious application of more bourbon. But, considering I have to be up early to let people into the house to take away yet more furniture, I think I'd better retire to the couch and try to stop thinking about how much I need to do in the next 36 hours. Proust, and his unfortunately endowed fanclub, will have to wait.


Blogger SleepinJesus said...

This entire blog is the most intelligent writing on Proust I have EVER read. I am a member of the Goodreads.com group "Orchid Stompin'Proust Haters Unite!" So far there are only two of us, but we're proud, damn it! If you aren't on Goodreads, I'd like to make you the OSPHU patron, or an honorary member, at least. If enough of us Proust-bashers get together, we can show the world that Emperor Marcel truly has no clothes. This blog belongs on NPR. Hilarious. I just spent an hour and a half of my company's time reading every single word. But I did it for Art. So it's okay.

12:40 PM  
Blogger Emptyman said...

Happy Birthday.

7:05 AM  
Blogger shutupproust said...

@ Sleepingjesus: I'm so sorry I'm only getting to this now--I've been in transit for a bit and am only now getting back to anything resembling normal life. Thank you so much for the kind words, and I would love to be a member of OSPHU, though I feel bad that I've let my Proust-reading slack for lo these many months. Does that nullify one's membership in OSPHU, or strengthen it?

@ Emptyman: Thanks. Go fuck yourself.

11:46 PM  
Blogger Luciene said...

I had just read the passage you refer to in your 2007 post about M. de Norpois, when I found your blog. I think I'm going to do some retrospective reading, because it will be fun to match my thoughts with yours as I go along the same adventure you have undertaken when you started reading La Recherche. The only difference is that I'm reading it a lot slower, because I'm trying to read it in French, cause I'm studying the darn (but lovable) language. Wish me luck, literature Yoda. :)

7:31 PM  

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