Monthly Archives: May 2008

Harvey Korman (1927 – 2008)

Blazing Saddles - Harvey Korman

Harvey Korman (right), click to play YouTube video

Blazing Saddles (1974) Harvey Korman

Blazing Saddles is world cinema classic #51.

See also YouTube – Dentist Sketch – The Carol Burnett Show, a hilarious comedy sketch with Korman in a supporting role, in which the latter is unable to keep from laughing. Korman was infamous for breaking character on The Carol Burnett Show when he would start laughing during sketches, usually due to the antics of Tim Conway, who would deliberately try to crack Korman up.

WMC#42: To shake memories into the air

This post rhymes with air

She threw back her hair
Like I wasn’t there
And she sipped on a julep.
Her shoulders were bare
And I tried not to stare


“Summer (The First Time)” (1973) by Bobby Goldsboro

A Hemisphere in Your Hair (French: Un hémisphère dans une chevelure) is a poem by Baudelaire collected in Paris Spleen.

Laisse-moi respirer longtemps, longtemps, l’odeur de tes cheveux, y plonger tout mon visage, comme un homme altéré dans l’eau d’une source, et les agiter avec ma main comme un mouchoir odorant, pour secouer des souvenirs dans l’air.
Long let me inhale, the odour of your hair,
into it plunge the whole of my face, like a thirsty man
into the waters of a spring and wave it in my fingers like a scented handkerchief,
to shake memories into the air.

In the film Withnail & I Richard Griffith’s character recites the line “Laisse-moi respirer longtemps, longtemps, l’odeur de tes cheveux” (Eng: Long let me inhale, the odour of your hair).

Elsewhere #9

An Almeh by Gerome

An Almeh by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Notice the enticing quality of the semi-transparent voile. Voile is French for veil.

  1. New or newly discovered blogs dedicated to individual artists: Jean-Léon Gérôme [2] and Odilon Redon [3]
  2. The anglophone film blog Flickhead[1] quits.
  3. Trevor Brown reports[4] on a friendly letter received by Belgian artist Wim Delvoye after Trevor had caught him plagiarizing his work in Delvoye’s tattooed pigs project[5].
  4. To start your Monday musically, here is the video[6] of “Crank That (Soulja Boy),” just a quick reminder that I like (some) of my black music funky (in its original meaning, smelly and dirty) as well as dangerous-sounding. “Crank Dat” has the most original use of the steel pan since Mad Professor‘s[7] use of it in the early 1990s (I can’t remember the name of that album). Since its release in 2007 “Crank Dat,” which epitomizes the gangster sound, sold over three million copies.

Click legend: all text links are internal, numbers are external.

Like willow I will be the willow on your bedside

or, sweet words for sweet ladies

Like willow I will be the willow on your bedside.

Like willow I will be the willow on your bedside

The quote comes from an old Asian ghost tale. The photo was taken by a Wikipedian. As an afterthought: it’s very difficult to find out who at Wikipedia is responsible for which photo, it’s equally difficult to understand the intricacies of Creative Commons licences. Enjoy the photo and quote and have a nice weekend. See you on Monday.

Every woman adores a fascist

Or, in praise of difficult women

In my never relenting quest for the stereotypes of modern culture, I’ve mentioned the “difficult man”[1] and the “sexually frustrated woman”[2]. Today, let’s have a look at another archetype: the “difficult woman.” But before we go on I would like mention that I want to include in my definition of “difficult” the connotation “complicated.” Many difficult people are difficult because they are complex personalities, often torn apart by conflicting inner desires.

The archetypical difficult women in world literature are Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina, who both had a quixotic lust for fiction and who both committed suicide. Many difficult women are also strong women and that is why we men love them and at the same time have a complicated relationship with them. We love them and hate them.

Many “difficult” people lead unhappy lives, and many commit suicide. Easy-going people don’t.

To say that Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) was a difficult rather than an easy-going woman is a platitude, she is only one of the talented but tortured people who left our planet voluntarily prematurely. She famously said that Every woman adores a fascist,” in a poem dedicated to the memory of her father. I would like to add to her words that “every man adores a femme fatale, bad girl or difficult woman,” and would like to conclude with Sylvia Plath reading from her own poem “Daddy“. If you want to head straight to the “fascist” quote, scrub to 2:14.


Playa Bianca

Charles Petit is the director of this superb video clip to the musical composition “Playa Bianca” with sweet parlando vocals by French writer Michel Houellebecq.

In the words of the director:

“Michel Houellebecq released an album five years ago on the French label Tricatel. The lyrics was from his poems, the music was from Bertrand Burgalat, and I was the director of the video.”

The CD’s title is Présence humaine, and it was released on Bertrand Burgalat’s Tricatel label in 2000.

The track reminds us of “Sea, Sex and Sun[1] by Gainsbourg, but also (and the link is more oblique here) of Deleuze reciting Nietzsche on Richard Pinhas‘s Le Voyageur composition.

“Playa Bianca” means “white beach”.

Tip of the hat to De Papieren Man.

Les téléclitoridiennes

Princess Marie Bonaparte

The story of Princess Marie Bonaparte is as least as strange as that of her contemporary, Serge Voronoff who grafted monkey testicle tissue on to the testicles of men while working in France in the 1920s and 1930s.


Princesse Marie directed by Benoît Jacquot

Princess Marie Bonaparte (18821962) was a French psychoanalyst, closely linked with Sigmund Freud. Her wealth contributed to the popularity of psychoanalysis, and enabled Freud’s escape from Nazi Germany.

According to the 2008 book Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach, Marie first consulted Sigmund Freud for treatment of what she described as her frigidity, which was later described as a failure to have orgasms during missionary position intercourse. After conducting research on women’s orgasms, she concluded the reason was the distance between clitoris and vagina. She called those, like herself, the “téléclitoridiennes” — “she of the distant clitoris.” She then attempted to “cure” her own failure to orgasm by having her clitoris moved, surgically, closer to her vagina; although the removal worked, the reattachment was not successful. It was to Marie Bonaparte that Sigmund Freud remarked, “The great question that has never been answered and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is ‘What does a woman want?’”.

Her story of her relationship with Sigmund Freud and how she helped his family escape into exile was made into a television film, released in 2004. Princesse Marie YouTube was directed by Benoît Jacquot and starred Catherine Deneuve as Marie Bonaparte, and Heinz Bennent as Sigmund Freud.

World cinema classic #49 and 50

While looking for YouTube footage of the Henry Jaglom film Can She Bake a Cherry Pie, I saw my first episodes of Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert thumbs down/up film criticism show Siskel & Ebert at the Movies. My sympathies went out to Ebert, who I’d formerly dismissed as too mainstream, but who surprised me when he rooted for both Can She Bake a Cherry Pie YouTube, scrub to 5:35 and Joe Versus the VolcanoYouTube trailer, two of my World Cinema Classics. They are WMC #49 and 50 respectively.

World music classics #39, 40 and 41

Beastie Boys - Cooky puss
Added: 6 months ago
From: iwillluvher
Views: 7,489
Ciccone Youth -
Added: 3 months ago
From: dipsetmuthafucka
Views: 2,381
Liquid Liquid -
Added: 6 months ago
From: tertolkin
Views: 7,336

Background info:

Notes: There is a better version on Youtube of “Cavern” (sound-wise), but the one featured here has the original music video, and the only one commissioned by New York record label 99 Records. “Cooky Puss” was a revelation when it came out, and my first exposure to the Beastie Boys. “Into the Groove(y)” was also my first exposure to SY, there are two alternative versions of this Madonna spoof/cover.

If you have the time, check dipsetmuthafucka‘s Youtube channel, he, or rather his musical selection, is the incarnation of taste.