This is for all admirers of the notorious Weldin sisters. It's a compilation of stuff that's good for you and educational (carrots) and everything we just need to get out there (throw-up). Enjoy. Note: this is not in reference to Fat Bastard's farts.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

There Must Be More To This Provincial Life

The concept of becoming jaded by the normal hum-drum of everyday life plus the fact that it will be just as monotonous and bleak for the rest of your life has bothered me for the past few months if not past several years. I like to pretend that my life will actually amount to something - that I will accomplish something more than a normal career/family/American Dream life.  What is the American Dream?  Isn't it to be 'normal?'  I don't want that.  I want to be extraordinary.  I have no idea how to do this because I'm not smart enough to invent something or cure cancer/AIDs or discover a new species.  I like to knit far too much.  My biggest fear is that what my life turns out to be won't bring me contentment/happiness.  Is that what I want?  I'm happy/content now, so why am I worrying about it?  I don't know, so here's some throw-up for you today.

This struggle is seen in the media quite a bit.  For example, the newest album by Arcade Fire addresses the concept of achieving the American Dream, but finding out that it's not all it's cracked up to be.  It's some good, catchy stuff.

The Suburbs by Arcade Fire

So what happens when you get your hopes up and make your plans to have the perfect life and you are suddenly trapped before you know it?  Many things drive people to do the things they do and I like to think about this sometimes.

I just finished reading Madame Bovary by Gustav Flaubert.  Wiki summarizes it thus, " The story focuses on a doctor's wife, Emma Bovary, who has adulterous affairs and lives beyond her means in order to escape the banalities and emptiness of provincial life."  That is it.  Sounds boring and not worth your time, right?  Think again. Wiki further goes on to say, "The novel was attacked for obscenity by public prosecutors when it was first serialized in La Revue de Paris between October 1, 1856 and December 15, 1856, resulting in a trial in January 1857 that made the story notorious. After the acquittal on February 7, 1857, it became a bestseller when it was published as a book in April 1857, and now stands virtually unchallenged not only as a seminal work of Realism, but as one of the most influential novels ever written.
A 2007 poll of contemporary authors, published in a book entitled The Top Ten, cited Madame Bovary as one of the two greatest novels ever written, second only to Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina."

Maybe this is overstatement, or maybe this just shows my ignorance.  Also, i'm not trying to convince you people to read it, but if it at all piques your interest, please do.  There is a depth there that gives pause for reflection and the language is beautiful.  Flaubert is a realist, but he also incorporates romantic ideals, which he usually satirizes.  I, myself, relate to this style and thought process so well for some reason.  Is there such a thing as being a romantic realist?  Ha Ha  Anyways, it's an enjoyable, relatively fast read, despite the length.  For me, it's alluded to everywhere so I've always been intrigued by it's widespread appeal and when I watched Little Children (2006), I was convinced I had to read it because of this dialogue during the book club scene.  The main character, Sarah (Kate Winslet), is having an affair herself, so gives an interesting perspective on the book especially in comparison to the judgmental, gossipy housewives.

Sarah Pierce: I think I understand your feelings about this book. I used to have some problems with it, myself. When I read it in grad school, Madam Bovary just seemed like a fool. She marries the wrong man; makes one foolish mistake after another; but when I read it this time, I just fell in love with her. She's trapped! She has a choice: she can either accept a life of misery or she can struggle against it. And she chooses to struggle. 
Mary Ann: Some struggle. Hop into bed with every guy who says hello. 
Sarah Pierce: She fails in the end, but there's something beautiful and even heroic in her rebellion. My professors would kill me for even thinking this, but in her own strange way, Emma Bovary is a feminist. 
Mary Ann: Oh, that's nice. So now cheating on your husband makes you a feminist? 
Sarah Pierce: No, no, it's not the cheating. It's the hunger. The hunger for an alternative, and the refusal to accept a life of unhappiness. 
Mary Ann: Maybe I didn't understand the book! 

Stupid housewife.
The book goes beyond the act to the motivations behind them.  Very significant and interesting and one of the things that appealed to me about this book the most.

The movie was good, if you don't mind a lot of naked Kate Winslet, rough and passionate love-making, and some really disturbing images involving the neighborhood pedophile.  The imdb synopsis says, "The lives of two lovelorn spouses from separate marriages, a registered sex offender, and a disgraced ex-police officer intersect as they struggle to resist their vulnerabilities and temptations."  It has a lot of the same themes from Madame Bovary and is a good cerebral flick if you aren't offended easily.

Well there you go.  Have a nice day.