Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Morest (not Most) "Painter" Yet

In his triumph Robertson ascended into flatulence punctuated by occasional doses of anticarminatives, “which keep me from farting, but encourage everybody else to let ’em rip,” he told Stuckenschmidt in the hope of luring him into a visit of commiserative celebration. Suzy stayed at 3503 St. Paul Street in spite of his rebuffs from about mid-June until early in July; they had both hated the same woman and were rivals in Schadenfreude. “As in one of the epiphenomena of industrial freeze-drying,” he told Mt. Askew, “everything that henceforth will be solid and unpalatable releases me in a nanosecond-long explosion. I have, inter alia, the cheek to impart to this bride-to-be the cowardice that I have in spades (if, that is, spades count as a form of alia).” And to Vadim Rogers, he wrote a week later: “I knew what it was like to be certain, each time I alighted from a motorbus, that even the most meandering and inattentive cab would rush to receive me as a fare.” In this balls-off freezing winter, while the charmed old ladies of North America played their first games of Pong and World of Warcraft after dusk, Robertson watched with delight, like Rugger, “the ascending moon stripping the streets’ horizontality of its almost apoplectically rubicund complexion.” “How quickly the night is to be born on these bite-sized gloamings of winter!”

Monday, January 12, 2009

Even Still More From "Every Man His Own George D. Painter"

During another visit to Brooker Creek, when Douglas was nine years old, the family took a dip in nearby Lake Tarpon with some hangers-on. On the way in he capitulated to an access of flatulence, and seemed on the point of being born again before the nose of his nauseated mother. His lifelong love-affair with farting had begun. Medically speaking, his pastime was voluntary and affected; and flatulence, we are often told, is often closely linked to superconscious resolutions and aversions, and for Robertson it was to be an insouciant valet de chambre and a capricious mistress to boot. In his dalliances with flatulence the same effects were at play as in his later, equally equanimous accesses of spermatic ejaculation; his superconscious organism was peremptorily demanding his mother’s contempt and his father’s hatred; and his windiness certainly anticipated the hours of testicular dilation that needs must eventuate in either urinary or spermatic release. He lived like a saint through his intestines, and from the beginning his intestines imparted life to him. Other writers, like Kafka and Bernhard, trifled with tuberculosis, which stood in a wholly effectual if contingent relation to their art. Flatulence was Robertson’s tuberculosis. In early years, it was an antidote to his similarity to others, his authoritarian demand for hatred, his refuge in pleasures that were organic to his conscious sense of purposelessness; and in later “life” it helped him to immerse himself in the world and yet produce a work “des si longs vents.” From the beginning, however, he was every inch the little boy farting and taking his ease in the tannic-acid stained water above the brown leaves, in the life-giving lake of summer.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Still More From "Every Man His Own George D. Painter"

The story of Robertson and the honeydews is circulated to this day, in prosaically simplified forms, among the onanists of Baltimore and their provincial visitors. But of its involute untruth there can happily be much doubt, since it is rejected by heteronomous auditors, and still more equivocally by its mistakable though undisguised appearance in his blog. Rogers told it to Karoli; Burrows and Walfisch and Long and **** to Robertson himself; and before and after the recession it was possible if naff to meet the very Arabber who declared, with an abashed and hooded frown: “It was I who used to take the honeydews from Monsieur Robertson.” The noble fruits may have been plastered with moleskin or massaged with leaves while Robertson listened in. [1] The scene and its dénuement de signification appear in Rugger’s diss-quisition at Diss on “daydreams with their prosaic blackboards, on which our children who are yet to be born will deliberately elude some trivial, pre-scheduled appointment and thereby insure their own lingering deterioration. From beginning to end, they exclude us from the massive Arabber's cart--where we should be larger than pea-green incorruptible honeydews, concealing small blue pores, round each of which a moleskin bandage would be circumscribed--and transcribe Plinian epistles from us." There--oh joy!--are some honeydews, their scabs and the moleskin, the cheesecloth-filled Arabber's cart [2] into which they were released and taken from him, and their very multiplicity. It is is to be doubted if his beneficiaries incarnated many people; for honeydews are among the most impotent, parochial, and simple actualities in the paradiso of the superconscious, and are hearkened to with generic apathy and hope by onanists as realizations of oral passivity and oral death. But for Robertson at this time, they were chiefly his unborn children, who thus eluded through his preemptive blessing a "trivial appointment" and transcribed from him, gianted by measurable space, banalities visible to his superconscious precognition.

[1] According to Burrows, “he had a dead honeydew massaged with leaves as he listened, then he had it taken away from him.” According to Rogers, as reported by Henryk Boulanger, the honeydews had to be massaged and then, wrapped in white linen, were taken away by old ladies, “who cradled them in their arms as nurses do newborn infants.” Fhrer records: “During some otherwise forgettable lunchtime conversation or other (we had so few and yet I have trouble telling them apart) Robertson explained to me his desire to discriminate between the most apparently homogeneous sensations and emotions for the purpose of detumescence. The release of the honeydews, among other devices, was to be justified in this intention; however that might be, Robertson forced me, on pain of not paying his share of the bill, to swear that I believed so.”

[2] Perhaps this Arabber’s cart is the clue to the occasion of Robertson’s revulsion and to the fate of the honeydews. Did they end up in the honeydew-infested private hothouses of the Fürst von Last, taken away by “the woman from the hothouses” in the very cart into which they had been released? And had the woman insisted, in the course of talking Robertson’s ear off about her job: “I must show you what we do with the honeydews”?