Saturday, November 10, 2012

Unfortunately, It Was Paradise

This will be the last post inspired by Jean-Luc Godard's Notre Musique (2004) -- for now.

In panning for more gold, another found nugget is Jean Racine's Phèdre (1677). This connects to contemplation of suicide by a main character in Godard's film. "Suicide is the only truly serious philosophical problem" - derived from a statement by Albert Camus (1913-1960): "Il n'y a qu'un problème philosophique vraiment sérieux: c'est le suicide" -- from Le Mythe de Sisyphe (1942) / The Myth of Sisyphus (1955). And then there's this eerie announcement: “Tonight I will be in heaven.”

Claude Lefort (1924-2010), a social-political theorist like Hannah Arendt, also pops up. Lefort wrote about, among other topics, Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) and Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859), the butt of many pot jokes in American high school classes. I'm not sure if this is from Lefort, but around this time in Notre Musique, the following statement is made: "The life of man is but a battle for existence with being vanquished the only certainty . . .”  How will each person conduct that battle in the meantime?

Finally, there's Palestinian poet-writer Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008), born in Palestine, died in Texas. Given his arc, the title Unfortunately, It Was Paradise: Selected Poems (2003) makes perfect sense. Displaced, exiled, with no hope of return, in Notre Musique, he speaks of being a Poet of Troy, the city overrun near the end of the Trojan War. The thorny Palestinian-Israeli relationship has been at the heart of many a Middle Eastern dilemma for as long as I can remember, with no out in sight. 


Mahmoud Darwish discussing poetry and life in Bosnia links to the arrival of American Indians (aka Native Americans) at the Mostar Bridge, pointing to a feeling of similar displacements in North America. It could be that reconstruction of the bridge after the Bosnian War will parallel reconstruction and reconciliation for "First Nations" here in the 21st century.

Today's Rune: Separation (Reversed).

1 comment:

jodi said...

Erik, I like how he was confident that his place would be in heaven. I wouldn't be so sure...