Archive for May, 2003

happiness? sacre bleu!

Saturday, May 31st, 2003

I confess it, I’ve been remiss. (Wow, guess the church time did stick with me.)

Our last days in Paris were 74 degrees with sun and picnics and boat rides on the Seine, and I just couldn’t muster the will to type. Plus, somehow describing that sort of thing starts sounding saccharine really fast.

And even though now I’m back in New York, we actually finally got some of that gorgeous spring here, which was a first for this year, so again with the uselessness from moi. Way too much park frolicking and ice creamery to do – not to mention ESPN’s full day of Geek Olympics, with five hours of the National Spelling Bee and Mathletes during the intermission… I mean, that spells “irresistible” in any language.

However, today it’s raining again, so here I am at the keyboard.

Still, I can’t think of a thing to rant about. My venom and skepticism and snarkiness have abandoned me, and I am left bereft here in what I would normally note is a rather unflattering LCD backwash, but today I will call a silvery glow. So how about this: I, the cynical, solitary empress of looking on the dark side, am happy.

It’s lovely. I highly recommend it.

To make amends for failing to entertain (all 3 of) you today, and for the past several days – and with thanks to the inimitable Jonathan Newman, who found it – I hereby provide this. “Fluffy Mackerel Pudding” and “Cabbage Casserole Czarina?” To think I’ve been making do with French cuisine.

[For the sake of completeness and in a stab at coherence, this entry was imported from my previous, dormant blog.]

the temptation of transcendence

Sunday, May 25th, 2003

Today was a dangerous day for an autonomous soul here in Paris.

After a lazy morning and a picnic lunch, we went to hear a concert of organ music at Notre Dame, and then we stayed for vespers, the wistful evening service that is done entirely in song. And sitting there inside this soaring building with walls made of lace made of stone, with shards of blue and red and golden light from the rose window piercing the semidarkness and the smoke of incense snaking past your defenses, you want to believe. I mean, granted, those are some seriously overwritten sentences that I just splattered all over this page, but that’s what it does to you – it slips under the skirt of reason and restraint and leaves you delirious, eager, suggestible, melting with messy, primal passion. A choirgirl chants the Latin and the organ coos and bellows and you understand how some peasant who lived in a mud hut and would probably die before he hit 25 would surrender, do as he was told, accept, submit. Because you feel it too. And once they’ve got you primed, they deliver the pitch, and it’s seductive, this thing they’re selling, the idea that all the important things, the matters of life and death, have already been sorted out.

They hit all the buttons – all your senses are stroked. They’ve got all the symbols covered: magic water? Check. Eternal flame? Check. Blood, wine, bread, flesh, transformation? Check. And there’s the tease – she’s a virgin – but it’s all about sensuality, remember? Sharp, sexy smells, and tickling, rumbling sounds, and get-on-your-knees and put-this-in-your-mouth… So they talk denial, but they slip you delight. And all you have to do is lie back, and relax.

I mean, this is why religion is so dangerous. Because it grabs you somewhere much deeper than your head, the place where extreme behavior comes from in the first place. It takes all those primal feelings and gives them a big, strong vehicle to carry them out into the world. It’s an S.U.V. on the road of life. And you can’t argue with it, or impose reasonable boundaries on it, because it’s fundamentally irrational, or pre-rational. Let’s be clear, this is brainwashing. But it’s beautiful, delicious brainwashing. I suppose it ought to be: this is a program that’s been fine-tuned for a couple of thousand years. It’s perfect. Which is what’s so scary. It’s a flawless machine for removing your will to think for yourself.

And the pathetic thing is, I just want to go back again tomorrow.

[For the sake of completeness and in a stab at coherence, this entry was imported from my previous, dormant blog.]

bonjour, le monde!

Saturday, May 24th, 2003

Well, with a little push from a pesky little brother (is there any other kind?), I have now joined the blogosphere. And I confess, I feel a little glamorous, because I’m writing this first entry from France. In fact, it’s time for breakfast, and as much as I’m eager to update my massive public on my comings and goings here in gay Paree, croissants come first.

So I’ll just say thanks to PJ (really, he’s the opposite of pesky; the bestest brother a gal could have) for giving me this new platform for my rants and vanities.

A bientot!

[For the sake of completeness and in a stab at coherence, this entry was imported from my previous, dormant blog.]