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Baudelaire’s Ear December 10, 2011

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, film, movie, New Orleans, Toulouse Street.
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“Its the same story the crow told me/Its the only one you know” — Robert Hunter for the Grateful Dead’s Uncle John’s Band

It is not the eyes that read “monsters” instead of “mothers” in the email subject line but some part of the brain that takes over at moments, the subconscious peeking into the light of day. You’ve opened a door somewhere you do not know how to close, or rather out of that door that hasn’t closed quite right since childhood—an ill-fitted cabinet that opens every time you close another—something darker sometimes comes.

Often the misreadings or mishearings arecomic. You still play them for laughs with your son. In the case of hearing you often understood what was said; the creature inside just chose to play its tricks for laughs. Lately it is a different sort of comedy team: ladies and gentlemen, appearing for the first time at The Brain, the stage sensation of The Other Side Coyote and Crow, trickster and messenger, the greatest practitioners of the art of pointed and painful message comedy since Penn and Teller.

You would not close this door if you could. The words that tumble out are something like a muse: “something like” because it is not the mythic Greek creature of the Romantics, the whisper of birds in Wordsworth’s ear, but closer to the taloned thing perched on Baudelaire’s shoulder, murmuring darkly in his ear. You would not make Van Gogh’s mistake. You wish to listen. You want the mad sun of Arles, to turn your twisted ear to hear the words so you might assemble them into some form, a scaffolding in search of teleological order like the sets of Synechdoche, N.Y.

To return to a recurring character here, Federico Fellini (because of his willingness to perceive and listen and ultimately confront the madness of the world), you would build the mad gantry from 8½ (to which Synechdoche is clearly an homage), the director character attempting to assemble some sense in his confused life, to pay any price to reach for the heavens. Guido Anselmi does not fail but discovers in the ending that the only escape is into the mad Bacchanal carnival of the final dance, not out of but into life, like Marcello Rubini leaving both monster and innocence behind on the beach. Somewhere in that act is the promise of his novel realized: out of the senselessness bordering on madness of life not an answer but a story.

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