Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Me and The Marquis: Floating to Odd Destinations on an Internet Stream of Consciousness (...while I wait for the Ambien to kick in.)

(I don't take Ambien every night, just once in a while, when I know I need to get to sleep but will be up until 6:00 AM trying.)

How My Mind Ended up in Paris With the Marquis de Sade, Watching Pasolini's Salo or The 120 Days of Sodom During One French Network's "Controversial Film Week"

The story begins as I board my ethereal Kon Tiki, built with logs of web. My first blog-stop is Richard's Electronic Ephemera, where I find a mid-life crisis in this link's destination. After entering different age-markers from my own life and the lives of others, I start hitting the "random" button. The number 51 comes up as the age at which the Marquis de Sade wrote Juliette.

I realize that I know only what most of us know about the Marquis and have never even heard of Juliette, so I Google it and the Marquis. I read critical essays and other bits from here and there as I peruse the results until I land on this page. Having had my curiosity sufficiently piqued, I happily find immediate gratification in the form of free PDF downloads. The offerings: Philosophy in the Bedroom and 120 Days of Sodom.

I download both and begin reading. First, Philosophy on the Bedroom. Though it served well as a vocabulary primer for the second book, I find it a bit too contrived and the dialogue so hokey (maybe a bad translation) that I'm unconsciously making fun of it out loud. So I move on to 120 Days of Sodom. Of the 391 page book, I read the 56 page introduction, which is the "set-up," followed by Part the First, which is 256 pages long. I don't get through the whole of this section because the more I read, the more I am struck by the familiarity of the many perversities. I've seen this before....

I stop reading and go back to Google- looking up Pasolini, and lo, there it is. Springtime in Paris, 1999. It's Controversial Film Week. Tonight's Movie: Pasolini's Salo, or 120 Days of Sodom. To see this piece of work made into film is really something. My traveling companion was quickly disgusted, couldn't take it and went to bed. But I stayed up and watched the whole thing, in Italian with French subtitles. It was one of the most bizarre films I've ever seen. (And I've seen some strange ones.) It would probably gross most people out. But sometimes sick things fascinate me in that way that makes my curious mind struggle to understand the appeal.

I parked my little boat on the Seine for the night and I didn't get to reading the other blogs on my itinerary. You never knoe where someone else's posts and links will deliver you, despite the best laid plans. I never would have imagined this destination.

Controversial Film Week Post Script
On the following night, (our last in Paris,) we were treated to Ken Russel's The Devils. This web site describes it as follows:
The Devils is one of the finest of Russell's films. Throughout his films Russell takes a schoolboyish delight in courting outrage. And The Devils is filled with such typically Russell-esque touches - self-flagellating nuns, piles of rotting plague victims and corpses tied to wheels, sexual fantasies of nuns fucking Jesus Christ, and nun mass orgies.

I remember seeing this film in the 1970s. It was a brilliant follow-up for Salo and it really set the tone for next day's visit to Mont St. Michel and our late-night tour of the Abbey, which is illuminated only by candles and all this creepy music plays as you walk through. We slept in the room of an inn on the mount and I swear, I thought I heard the cries of orgiastic nuns that night....
Awe RATS! Look at the time!


Blogger Richard said...

Wow, I didn't know I would kick off such a strange and fascinating journey. It just leads back to my personal quote, "You can find ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING on the internet!"

4:38 PM  
Blogger LisaPal said...

Richard, my friend, you are absolutely right about that. By the way, (and this had NOTHING to do with this post, something I must assert lest you infer otherwise), you showed up in a blog dream a few nights ago. It was one of those dreams that's so vague that you can't recall any details. The only thing I could remember was that it seemed like we were floating comfortably in the current of a river. We were talking as we drifted, but I couldn't see you. I know there was more after that, but I can't remember any other details.

All of you regulars who have been hanging out with me here since last fall (occasional disappearances notwithstanding) have popped up in starring roles or at the very least, cameo appearances in my dreams. And I'm happy to tell you that none of none of my dreams have been anything like a Ken Russell of Pier Paolo Pasolini film.

3:33 AM  

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