C’est ne past a toast

Official poster Midnight in Paris. Picture courtesy Sony Pictures Classics.

Official poster Midnight in Paris. Picture courtesy Sony Pictures Classics.

There was, some time ago, when all the artistic movement changed. When new ways of to understand or to see art emerged. When, in general, it started a conceptual artistic revolution. A new world of techniques for to discover.

However, between revolution and creativity, it showed up a new theory which pretended to analyse everything, including dreams or toasts.

René Magritte was one of the first in to reclaim this sort of absurdism. It arrived a moment in the XIX century that certain abstract painters from the Russian and German side had to explain so much in journals which were the motives, reasons and theories of their abstract work. That he decided to reclaim a pipe was not that if not just the representation of it. The real was not the painting, the symbol or meaning, real object… if not just a vision or way of to see it. This created more talk even than a bunch of old wives at a market. It only served for that. Because when people insist in to add logics an explanation to the things which are not logical, just like creativity, it is when the whole world turns mad.

In fact, there is an old name which I dislike but which in my past has repeated too much. His name is Sigmund Freud. Honestly, I do not care about his work if not how people seem to excuse on his work for to justify everything. With that, no one has never in consideration than symbolism is not something universal which must be imposed like a global rule about what a “pipe” means, if not each individual would have a different concept of what that “pipe” means.

It is important to start on the basis of the absurd fact: a pipe is a pipe and a toast is a toast. There should not be needed more complex looks at that, interpretations or crazy issues. Still, like it seems the whole world seems obsessed in to put meanings to everything. I would like to explain why Magritte was right and Freud no.

René Magritte was right for the same reason Dali was right. Or Picasso, if you prefer to already read this with politic connotations and to give for granted the first one was a conservative one when the second was a left thinker. Add Buñuel if you want to go to extremes. I mean, if you are going to start to excuse your reading on the beliefs of the author you can take anyone.

Those three names were some of the most well-known artists in Spain because they were revolutionary. Not because their work agreed with Freud or they respected his theory. The three of them took a very different path in the same historical context. Some were more eccentric on their looks than other. Some were more persecuted than others for their work. But all of them were more acclaimed outside their country than at Spain for their craft because while they were interested in to create or to talk with their art about problems of their times Las Hurdes film, El Guernica… Others were so worried in to guess what they tried to mean. While those critics did not want to see was what they were actually seeing and reclaiming if not any other absurd thing based on wrong interpretations and readings of the art of those creative people.

Maybe it is all a problem of history, education and the lack of real historical information which has made that the virtual society has turned to the repressive times. So, here arrives the moment of a basic history class.

It was in the middle of the Spanish Civil War when the Nazi Party took power at Germany winning democratic elections on March 1934. A few days later, they dissolved the Parlament and other democratic chambers declaring them useless and corrupt. And well… The list of “glorious things for the party” just started there.

On those times, here in Spain, the war was not so good. So, both sides decided each one of them had to make an ally for to win. To who they went? The Franco side asked help to the Condor Legion, German troops. While the red side asked help to that new promise called the USRR. It could not be more extreme ever.

Old legends said that, in fact, the II Republic we had in those times did not really look for an ally on the URSS if not they paid for it. Being on there one of the huge Spanish history mysteries called the Moscow’s Gold. Which is not another thing that they gave all the gold at the Spanish National Bank in exchange for the help the URSS promised. After it was ridiculous the help and no one recognised where that gold really went but the truth is it was gone. I think Santiago Segura made a film mocking about this Russian’s Gold legend some time ago.

Marion Cotillard, Midnight in Paris. Picture courtesy Sony Pictures Classics.

Marion Cotillard, Midnight in Paris. Picture courtesy Sony Pictures Classics.

What happened there? The Franco side made a deal with the Nazis whom they really saw an opportunity for to have an ally on this side of the map. But do you think they helped for free?  No, they did not. They made it with the promise Spain was going to win and to keep on their side and once Franco had that; he would have to pay back to the Axis side. With what if the country was without a real -coin of the times- and in ruins? It did not matter, they had to pay back anything Hitler needed because it seemed all the people who did not understand why all those blood fields were about owned that to Hitler. Then he had a full country of slaves passing hungry working for him.

Still, do not really believe all that happened at Spanish Civil War is: “toro y olé.” Like Hemingway narrated in some of his edulcorated tales. Well, let’s be honest, so many journalists are professionals in to write fiction too.

In fact, I have met several people who fought in those years and they told me they were left without commander like more days at the year than after they had to work. And they were in front of the other enemy line at the Ebro. So do you think they fought with bullets? No, they did not. They saved them for to hunt rabbits or anything which they could put in their mouths while they fought the opposite side with verbal curses. They made that. They ended playing football, pilota, or so many other sportive competitions. This was their particular vision of to resolve the war while there was not any of their captains or high superiors around. Then, the history books said: “The battle of Ebro was a hard battle full of deaths and suffer.” Those folks looked between each other saying: “Alright, it is truth Paco, Manolo and Gilberto died… We stood there for long… But struggling with death every single minute of our lives… Someone has added too much drama to this story kid. Don’t believe all that the books and papers say.” For this is a common belief that books and papers do not tell the truth. Why not? Because if the country was already devastated and hungry, just a few people could read and they were reading that. Imagine if in those first years of “War is over” the only books which were allowed to read were the ones the Nazis allowed to read: Goethe, Kafka, Freud, Nietzsche… Even on my days when it had passed a long time for all of this. The concept of international authors was closer to the German ones than to Shakespeare. In fact, to read Shakespeare was an oddity when it was more common to read Quevedo or Calderon de la Barca. Somehow, like those are old Spanish fellows it seems it is given for granted they do not need interpretation. Still, it seems it does not happen the same with any lecture which comes after Freud published his work. With this, we keep going because if Dali was already interpreted for to paint dreams, Buñuel had to leave the country for to go to live in Mexico. We have not advanced so much since then.

Like on those times when it seemed stories and books were dangerous for to develop certain faculties it seemed hard to find any good reading, people became creative.

One of the few things which were allowed were the Italian films, mostly for the old friendly Axis deals. So, the Spaghetti Western became one of the most common ways of entertainment. The Italians needed the south lands of Almeria which looked like those USA deserts they imagined and the Spaniards needed to blame someone else for to have had that idea of to have filmed that. And it was better to blame the Italian fellow than to assume it by themselves the… Not well-seen censorship inquisition techniques.

Please do not be wrong, in those moments of repression at Spain were produced and released more films and short novels than probably are today. However, rarely some of them were signed with their real name. In special the writers or if anyone had made anything a bit which could be kept in doubt. Of course, to remove gloves was totally forbidden. All of them had that clear enough. You will know why after.

Corell Stoll Midnight in Paris. Picture courtesy Sony Pictures Classics.

Corell Stoll Midnight in Paris. Picture courtesy Sony Pictures Classics.

But, if you were a writer on those times and you liked to write western stories… To call yourself Paco Muñoz -not the real name- did not sound cool. Plus, it was his real name and only for that he could be jailed so, someone called William Morris sounded far better. It is true, my grandpa had like hundreds of those western short novel stories which exchanged with other friends for to read. All of them were written by the real true American like names and the bad guys had all more than 7 feet… No, they were not giants, it is just the USA folks measure the things weird but like it was needed to sound American and no one could check how to measure right… Things which happened…

Furthermore, who cared how tall was the bad guy in less than 100 pages! They all wanted to know if he was going to be killed by the Sheriff John Mayer or by Henry the one without the eye. I remember one of those tales. But vaguely. I remember he was the tallest man John Mayer had ever had to deal with. His presence was all a threat because he unmounted of his horse and he stood firmly in front of Sheriff John with a face on non-good friends. The foreigner was more that 7 1/2 feet in height… He should have to be a long distant parent of Hagrid or something, isn’t it? And then, after to have read those stories they all went “secretly” to address to Paquito: “Xe, quina anímala has fet! Entretinguda, pero t’has lluit. Xe!” (Translation: “What an exaggerated thing you have done! Good one, but you’ve exaggerated too much.” NOTE: The translation can never be accurate to English if you do not understand Valencian humour. We tend to add “Xe” to everything we say, it does not have a proper translation or a meaning. But we add it because we are so cool like that. In fact, in the rest of Spain, they call us “Xe” or “Che” for this reason. Despite it could seem different words is the same expression without translation. Phonetic issues. Note inside note: A Catalan could understand completely the text but not the humour. We do not share that despite we sound quite alike speaking. In fact, that was the real fictional origin of the Ebro battle and not the metaphorical one: if Valencia was part of Catalonia or outside. That war keeps going since XVII century if you ask.)

Added this last historic note and knowing about other countries… I am sorry to inform you but that story some of you keep having with the William Wallace side… Ours is even older than yours. All for a king… You know those things… I think he was Charlton Heston before he finished on The Planet of Apes or something… Yeah, quite crazy and fiction like it is.

Life for creators around here was so crazy and hidden like it sounds. Not easy at all indeed. Ruefully, in our days, it seems it has not been done anything else better about to solve that thing.

It is weird. Those old people who passed their time with western stories used to say another story: “That Walt Disney was Spaniard and that he left Spain for the war and political issues.” Before Spanish Civil War, there were similar historical dictatorship and Republic situations repeated. So for the people here, it was easy to believe that could be the truth.

They used to say he could run away with his family on a boat. To arrive at the USA and to finally made it. Not only to tell stories for kids without no one will have to censorship about. Actually, Mickey Mouse wore gloves and it seems no one around the world has bothered for to censorship those scenes… Yeah, you later will know about the gloves…

Those men admired that. And even if that was the sort of hoax like the one the actual Paul McCarney is not the original one if not someone else… They did not care to know if that hoax about Disney was true or false. They even recognise it, that if it was false, it was far better to think that, than to believe the tragic story of Lorca or another sort of stuff.

Marion Cotillard and Owen Wilson, Midnight in Paris. Picture courtesy Sony Pictures Classics.

Marion Cotillard and Owen Wilson, Midnight in Paris. Picture courtesy Sony Pictures Classics.

Maybe, what in certain places of the world happened was a very bad historical joke when it seemed that when one imposing ideology was over. The other completely opposite side of the so polarised point of view wanted to reclaim its place too. Until the point, no one had in consideration what current people thought about metaphors and Freud or about which sort of books certain “authorities” said they were good or wrong. Or if the “nouvelle vague” could be seen but no one understood that and, instead, they preferred to keep watching the censored Bogart, John Wayne or Gregory Peck because it was better stuff than the “new thinking way” or “style”.

Once upon a time, someone said: “One should not listen to the people who do not know how to dream.” That person is right but for to listen to that advice, to read western novels and other harmless things; people were punished in certain places of the world with electroshock and all sort of Freudian therapies. Because those dreams could not be classified and catalogued. They could not fit inside the logical Freudian, German belief. How was going someone to prefer to believe a lie about a man who invented offensive cartoons against an ideology which they considered perfect instead of to assume what it was normal for the reason and the mind: that the person was sick because he kept thinking like a kid? And do you know in our days how many people scattered in several countries around the world keep having the same problem and doubting about themselves? In special very creative young teens? So many indeed. When the only thing those people want to do is to express their creativity without no one will make them doubt after a metaphorical reading of their work. Or they will try to apply the logic to their creative process saying that like it is not logic that is wrong, that they are wrong. Is that we had not enough of this sort of stories in history that we keep needing more instead of to let people live their lives as they wish and want?

So what is a toast? A toast is the representation of the symbolic meaning of, not a celebration like an English thinker will believe, if not of the basic common “sustento” which is bread. Ergo, a toast means the representation of a way of living because anyone, or the representation of the toast “imaginario”, could tell, not exactly but approximately, that the basic bread is the basic income. Riddle me enough? Because this is just the beginning of to let you understand why Christian people like Dali who painted about dreams had to suffer. What some people keep suffering. And all those old fellows who were at war and who were from one side or other depending on the community in which they lived they would tell to all those readings those are “bobarrachas and mariconadas.” Sadly, most of them had passed away so long ago so they cannot speak to all this sort of intellectuals that we seem we have around, invading the online world, with toasts and cloud interpretations of this sort.

Imagine how should have to be the sort of papers those people had in certain times that most of them after the WWII was over travelled hiding to the French frontier; ONLY, for to get good stuff for to read. And you are going to have fun with the “concept” of good stuff. Because they only tried to get exemplars of Moliere, Victor Hugo, Alexander Dumas AND the most dangerous of all: Kipling. I am sure The Jungle Book was read with so most dangerous old thinking and metaphoric Freudian stuff to be forbidden. In fact, almost all the British and USA books were forbidden by common rule. Until it was created some sort of unconscious believe that any English speaker was a bad folk.

In fact, when the times changed and the dictatorship side decided to open the commerce turning Spain in a worldwide tourist potency, they did not address to the Brits for to sell them apartments and holidays with the sun; if not to the Germans and Swedish because we all know those blonde girls are hotter. It was needed to be intelligent, isn’t it? If they had to confess their sins for to have seen indecent girls in underwear. Why not the hottest and not the old concept about the classic not really pretty Brit girl? We all know, times are changing… But on those ones, there were so many prejudices about so many things.

Let’s be honest. Have you seen the classic film, Gilda? It was censored here. It was almost impossible to find an uncensored version of the classic until passed 2003. Contradictory, because it was possible to watch: Funny Games by Michael Haneke, Battleship Potemkin (Eisenstein), any Dogma or French film… But that movement of Rita Hayworth taken out her gloves… It seemed so sexually charged than it was cut. So, when to kids like me were told: “This film has been censored and now you are going to see the uncensored version.” When before that it had been obligatory to see Haneke’s work. I thought that Gilda maybe made something wrong and not only to take out her gloves. Shocked to check it was less than a minute cut in which she only removed the glove while singing. Not anything else.

Which is the lesson? That it seems it is well to hit people for fun because “they are not mad if not they are the representation of how this society hits you and how insensible we are to all of that” -about Funny Games– but it is wrong to remove one’s gloves. See how much harm certain books and ideas made? Because I am weird and I am sensitive to those films and the blood or harmful scenes and television and not like it seems the big majority or teachers believe we are not.

Let me tell you the lesson with the “gloves”. The issue was not Rita was making it so sexually. If not someone interpreted the “dreams” like on their gloves are clothes and to deal with situations with extreme care. Rita was taking them off and that meant she was “getting naked to do not handle ANY situation with care.” Think bad on that ANY and you will guess right because it is like the Nazi/Freudian/Russian/censorship way of thinking worked. And it keeps working…

In fact, it is curious, because this sort of medieval humour the Brits have with all these London Dungeons, their history… It is psychoanalysed and treated like if The Live of Brian is damn wrong and not only for the Brian/Jesus issue… But any other book or story like the Marques of Sade ones are justified and they have perfect logic and sense inside the Freudian… You know, everything must be about the phallus, power, control and men. All the symbols-explanations are about that including if those are against God or… They are just melting clocks on a painting.

So what can be done with more complex things like “a pipe” or “a toast”? A cloud maybe? Which is a mutable form and it can allow the complexity of to share on its same molecular component a series of different non-identified shapes? Let me tell you: “We can do whatever we want.” Because we can make that toast: a new symbol, an ideal, a sell, a marketing creation, say we have seen Jesus shaped on it, that the shape represents any absurdity that you will have in mind and after justifying yourself with other Freudian excuses or metaphors, even the work of other artists with it… People will keep without to understand if it is the simple representation of a pipe or a toast because they will want to believe first the complicated “logical” explanation than the most “common”, real and simple one which is: “I was not really thinking about anything in particular when I made it.” Sadly, it is how our society works.

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