Friday, April 25, 2008

Lydia Pinkham (1819-1883/1905)

I am the Mother of God

'[... a psychotic structure] is rigidly circumscribed as to "living space." When, as in this case, another person invades the delusion, the original occupant finds himself literally forced to give way.
    This fantastic situation can also be represented by imagining an encounter between two victims of, let us say, the Napoleonic delusion. The conviction of each that he is the real Napoleon must be called into question by the presence of the other, and it is not unusual for one to surrender, in whole or in part, when such a confrontation occurs. Some years ago I observed exactly this while on the staff of a psychiatric sanitarium in Maryland. At that time we had a middle-aged paranoid woman who clung to the delusion that she was Mary, Mother of God. It happened that we admitted another patient with the same delusion some months after the first had been received. Both were rather mild-mannered people, both Catholics, both from a similar socio-economic level. On the lawn one day, happily in the presence of another staff member and myself, the two deluded women met and began to exchange confidences. Before long each revealed to the other her "secret" identity. What followed was most instructive. The first, our "oldest" patient, received the information with visible perturbation and an immediate reaction of startle. "Why you can't be, my dear," she said, "you must be crazy. I am the Mother of God." The new patient regarded her companion sorrowfully and, in a voice resonant with pity, said, "I'm afraid it's you who are mixed up; I am Mary." There followed a brief but polite argument which I was restrained from interfering with by my older and more experienced colleague, who bade me merely to listen and observe. After a while the argument ceased, and there followed a long silence during which the antagonists inspected each other warily. Finally, the "older" patient beckoned to the doctor standing with me.
    "Dr. S.," she asked, "what was the name of our Blessed Mary's Mother?"
    "I think it was Anne," he replied.
    At once, this patient turned to the other, her face glowing and her eyes shining. "If you're Mary," she declared, "I must be Anne, your mother." And the two women embraced.
    As a postscript to this story, it should be recorded that the woman who surrendered her Mother of God delusion thereafter responded rapidly to treatment and was soon discharged.'

Robert Lindner, The Fifty-Minute Hour (New York, Bantam 1958)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Nobel Prize 2: Theodor Mommsen (1817-1903)

'The History of Italy falls into two main sections: (1) its internal history down to its union under the leadership of the Latin stock, and (2) the history of its sovereignty over the world.'

Apparently, 'Mommsen came to take the view that the French were fundamentally Celts, like the Irish, and consequently that it was the Germans, not the modern Latin peoples, who most truly represented the values of the ancient Romans.' Which seems slightly suspect from a post-1945 perspective.

Next time: Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Александр Матвеев (1878-1960)

Untitled (1916)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Calculated Insult; Some Advice

20. Ju Pei wanted to see Confucius. Confucius declined to see him on the grounds of illness. As soon as the man conveying the message had stepped out of the door, Confucius took his lute and sang, making sure he heard it.

22. The Master said, 'It is no easy matter for a man who always has a full stomach to put his mind to some use. Are there not such things as po and yi? Even playing these games is better than being idle.'

Yi is the game we call go; po (it says here) is believed to be the C.5 B.C. version of Ludo.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Katerina Bilokur (1900-1961)

Ukraine's answer to Gauguin? If 'Gauguin' is the answer, what's the question? More info here.


I saw 'With Octopus' by the Japanese artist Shimabuku at an exhibition of Japanese art in London in 2001-2002. That was, among other things, the record of a trip the artist took, with an octopus, from the Seto Inland Sea in Japan to the Japan Sea round Japan. He 'imagined that this would be a major endeavor for an octopus, something like travelling in outer space for a human'. The octopus died en route, sadly.

I wondered what he'd been doing recently. The above is a still from 'Shimabuku's Fish and Chips', shown in Liverpool in 2006. He hasn't got any saner. Here's the pitch:

'Visiting Liverpool the artist discovered Scouse, the dish made of lamb, onions, potatoes and carrots that gives locals their name. Curious as to how its component parts, each from different counties within Great Britain, first came together, he sampled various recipes in eateries throughout the city. Pondering other British dishes he came to the nation's other great contribution to global cuisine – fish and chips. His film for the Biennial documents the fictional first encounter between the dish's constituents and sees the artist diving with fish while potatoes mysteriously fall from above. With the octopus, Shimabuku introduced the sea to the land, now it is time for the land to meet the sea.'

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Goodbye, The Children

Au revoir les enfants (France, Louis Malle 1987)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Elizabeth Schwarzkopf (1915-2006)

Esther Williams (1921- )

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Олег Шелудяков (1971- )

Late Guest (2007)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Current Favourite Sentences

    "What?" he began, noticing the difference in costume, but deciding to treat the encounter as if it had been fatally ordained since the beginning of things, "Have you come at last?"
    "Has it seemed so long?" said Amy, inspired by her wicked new frock, and by her knowledge of his reputation, to adopt that bright tone of sexual gallantry which she understood to prevail in the glittering circles in which he moved.
    "Eternity!" he replied, with mechanical efficiency.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Про Это - About This

Monday, April 07, 2008

Graphic Art

It has some annoying advertising down the side, but this blog is well worth a wander.