August 25, 2005

Let them eat evil!

Nevermind how I know. Nevermind where I found The Oprah Magazine that has it. Nevermind etc. Let's just say that I little bird told me that Jodie Foster contributed a list of six books she wants everyone to know she likes to the "Bookshelf" section of Oprah's ad-fest of a publication. The first on the list is The Flowers of Evil, by my personal favorite French poet of the macabre, Charles Baudelaire. You know, I'm just gonna quote this, because I won't get it right otherwise:
"I went to the French lycee in Los Angelos, and, like every high school student in the French school system, I studied the work of 19th-century poet Charles Baudelaire. At 15, the height of brooding and dark self-discovery, I recited his poems by heart and thrilled to the exotic language, filled with taboo ideas and strange metaphors involving death and decay. It's a must-read for any depressed adolescent."
Wow. Personally, I hit the adolescent nadir all through the ages of 15-17 and only came to be a little (very) more sunny when I got to college. I did my duty and read my Poe constantly when I was a teenager. I memorized several of his poems, and I can still recite "The Raven" if I've had enough to drink. A friend of mine tells me that she knows someone who had her life saved by Poe, by realizing that "there was at least one more fucked up person out there" and that her dark thoughts did not necessarily kick her out of the herd of the rest of us. But I still don't think I'd actually recommend this stuff to depressed teenagers. Look what reading too much Poe did to me: I'm a philosophy student. The sad little dudes should read their Whitman. Uncle Walt can save the day. Or if they really want to read the French, they should read Rimbaud between math and lunch. Totally. Though for you grown-ups, you should read Baudelaire's Paris Spleen. That's yummy stuff.


ahniwa said...

I'm curious that you'd recommend the "sad little dudes" shy away from Poe and Baudelaire, but indulge in Rimbaud.

"They will no more kill you than if you were a corpse" isn't exactly airy reading.

I didn't hit Baudelaire or Rimbaud until college, though I definately overindulged in Poe as a "tween". I once acted out a comedic retelling of The Raven for a drama audition. Good stuff.

Pragmatik said...

Very true, Bava. But Rimbaud has the nice dirty comedy and some pretty little diddies for the kiddies.

A comedic retelling of "The Raven"? Now that would be really cool. What was the angle like? :)

ahniwa said...

The auditions were meant to be short, so I only got through the first eight stanzas or so, which was sad because I too had memorized the entire poem. Mostly it was a recitation of the poem that included dramatic pantomime, ridiculous voices (my raven voice rocked), and long pauses for comedic effect. During "while I nodded, nearly napping" I pretended to fall asleep for a moment. Stuff like that, it was great fun! :)

On another note, I voted for PRevo on that 100 blogs, 100 days thing, and you got day 2. For what that's worth, congrats. :) Gotta spread the graphite gospel!

My blog name is an obscure reference to Rimbaud, so it's cool that you dig him. Can't get too much Rimbaud. I did a pretty good translation of "The Drunken Boat" if you ever wanna check it out.