Tuesday, October 04, 2011

There’s A Woman With No Clothes On Here!

Today’s post is stuff from the weekend that has given me things to think about these last few days.


First of all, there’s been a woman with no clothes on hanging out around my studio! Look, here she is by my keyboard:

She’s beautiful and interesting and I can hold her any time I want, but sadly she is ‘only’ a book.

It’s a hardcover copy of V. R. Main’s fiction/non-fiction story of Victorine Meurent’s life, “A Woman With No Clothes On.”

So a couple of weeks ago I didn’t even know this book existed. [ The blog was a whole different color in those days! ] Then one day when I was getting over a sore stomach I was flipping around blogs looking at Manet paintings and I saw a photography blog post a news story from a British paper about the title. Our local suburban library system doesn’t own even a single copy of the book, so I bought a copy from one of those Amazon associate places.

And now I own a copy.

I haven’t read the book yet. But I have read all the front-matter and back-matter and it sounds very cool. I’m looking forward to getting into the book itself.

But I have spent a little time wondering why no local libraries own a copy. At first glance, it appears to be exactly the kind of book any library would want to own. The author is both British and credentialed, a Ph.D., and all that. And as historical topics go, the Impressionist era is a popular topic. And there are not a lot of other books about Victorine Meurent available. It sounds like a book that would be in a lot of libraries.

But it isn’t even in one around here.

I bet I know why.

Now, I haven’t talked to an actual librarian about this. When I walk into a library, it is like a Marx Brothers movie. All the librarians hurry to put an OUT-TO-LUNCH sign on the counter, then they crouch down and sit under the counter eating donuts and reading month-old People magazines. If I walk up and say, “Hello, is anyone here?” I hear a squeaky, obviously fake voice say, seemingly from out of nowhere, “Nobody’s here. We’re all out to lunch. Come back later. Umm, this is a recording. Beep.” And then I hear giggling. I just look off to the side like Groucho and leave. So I haven’t talked to an actual librarian about why no one has a copy of this book.

But I do have a theory.

I bet it is all about the cover and the title.

The cover is a picture of a naked woman. Look at the photograph. The title of the book is “A Woman With No Clothes On” and the cover is a close up image of a woman with no clothes on.

I bet libraries don’t want to stock that. I bet librarians feel kids would steal the book or adults would complain about the book or the cover would get defaced and constantly have to be repaired. I bet it is as simple as that. Because of the image of a naked woman on the cover, I bet librarians feel (and probably rightly so) that the book would simply be more trouble than it is worth.

If that is the reason (or even part of the reason) isn’t it remarkable that Manet painted that image more than a hundred years ago to make a statement about society and culture and, well, naked women, and it is still making a statement today.

And isn’t it still a more interesting statement than whatever the hell most modern artists are saying with their art? Or “art?”

Anyway, so now I’ve got a cool book to read.


Second of all, I discovered over the weekend that, in an internet sort of way, I know one of the principal organizers of this ridiculous so-called “Occupy Wall Street” nonsense going on in New York and in other cities.

I couldn’t believe it.

If the Feds ever kick in this guy’s door and confiscate his computer, they’re going to find something like a decade’s worth of e-mail exchanges with my name on them. And it’s my hotmail account, so it has my actual name right in the address.

[ I’m shaking my head as I type this. ] Back in the Old Days, before AOL and the Dark Times, the online world was very interesting. You met interesting people online. It wasn’t that easy to setup hardware and software to get online, so the community was, to an extent, self-selecting for people who had a working brain.

Nowadays corporations make it trivially easy for everyone to get online and, to be frank, corporations prefer dubious people because dubious people are easier to market to. And money from dubious people—as it happens!—is every bit as good as money from smart people.

So, anyway, the moral here is be very careful about the people you make friends with on the internet.

Almost nobody online is what they appear to be. And many people turn out to be something like the very opposite of the cyber-personality they present.

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the e-mails I’ve exchanged with this left-wing nut. Mostly we talked about philosophy and theology and I don’t think the Feds will be sending any jack-booted thugs to kick in my door.

But, really, be careful. Almost without exception, when I’ve met people in real life that I first met online, I’ve ended up shaking my head and walking around all numb and dazed and confused thinking, “What a nightmare.”


So. Now I’m off to do something really rebellious and revolutionary, like read a good book about a woman with no clothes on!

1 comment:

Blogger said...

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