September 28, 2013

"A tragedy is a tragedy, and at the bottom, all tragedies are stupid."

"Give me a choice and I'll take A Midsummer Night's Dream over Hamlet every time. Any fool with steady hands and a working set of lungs can build up a house of cards and then blow it down, but it takes a genius to make people laugh."

Said Stephen King. 

Then there's this super-concise, possibly perfect aphorism: "Life is a comedy to those who think, a tragedy to those who feel." That's the playwright Racine, who should be from Wisconsin, but he was French. And though that quote feels related to King's, I think it's quite different. King is talking about works of art and how hard it might be to crank them out, as he does in great volume. Racine is talking about how any given person might view life itself.

What do you think and feel? (Multiple answers allowed.)
  
pollcode.com free polls 

16 comments:

David said...

Oh, whoa!

surfed said...

It's Saturday Professor. Saturday morning to be exact. No thinking until tonight. But, truth be told, I prefer comedies, especially the Shakeman's rom-coms.

Paul Zrimsek said...

If you don't want to be dismissed as either unthinking or unfeeling, you'd better let everyone know that you regard life as a black comedy.

Bryan Townsend said...

It's not Racine it is from Horace Walpole and has long been one of my favorite quotes. It is from a letter written to Anne, Countess of Ossory in 1776. CF Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horace_Walpole

traditionalguy said...

The way people interact within life's tragic curve balls is a show of strength and sensitivity. And those same characters can do very funny things as well.

A good example is Olivia Hamilton's airplane ride in Steinbeck's East of Eden, which was one book full of characters suffering Biblical Tragedies. Also Cannery Row's cast of characters as funny as they get while living out their hard luck stories.

jr565 said...

I never once laughed while reading any Stephen King novels.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

I couldn't come up with a poll answer. I feel like it required too much thinking. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Diomedes said...

:Dying is easy, comedy is hard."

Amexpat said...

It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry

Christy said...

Don't ask me, I found Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin a heartbreaking tragedy.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

I would like to see Hamlet performed as a bloody comedy, Quentin Tarantino could pull that off. Or as Stephen King style horror, Hamlet as Carrie. What if you had to argue that Claudius was innocent?

I laughed when I read jr565 saying, "I never once laughed while reading any Stephen King novels." That formulation confesses to reading at least three Stephen King novels.

richard mcenroe said...

Eventually Peckinpah started ending his movies with a character laughing out of sheer force of habit. He thought life was a comedy but he'd forgotten the punchline.

surfed said...

@Amexpat - good one. Wish I had thought of it.

Sorun said...

I leverage Althouse for my thinking but not my feeling. Althouse-feeling sometimes make me feel frustrated with Althouse.

Ann Althouse said...

"I leverage Althouse for my thinking but not my feeling. Althouse-feeling sometimes make me feel frustrated with Althouse."

Yeah, but that's feeling. Think about it.

Mark said...

Any person who can't do both (think and feel) is either damaged or deficient (or both).