April 12, 2014

Missing limbs of the morning.

There are many things I see that seem almost bloggable, that I decide to pass up for one reason or another. And then there are things upon which I've recently passed, that become bloggable because the next thing I see resonates with that otherwise unbloggable thing. Here's something I passed on:



Here's the next thing I saw:



#1 is a statue with one leg broken off, purportedly by a museum-visitor who climbed onto its lap to take a selfie. Looking at the original...



... I said, aloud, in the privacy of my home: "The statue was asking for it." I liked my wisecrack, but also saw how I could be attacked for making humor in the general vicinity of rape.

It's not squarely a rape joke, because: 1. Climbing onto an inviting knee is not sexual intercourse, 2. It's a statue, and 3. Most politically correctly: The joke isn't mocking victims but those who blame victims.

That twinge of fear that I could be criticized for saying something wrong was the first small count against blogging, but I would have blogged it. What made it unbloggable was: 1. The broken statue is only a reproduction of the truly valuable ancient original (called the "Barberini Faun" or "Drunken Satyr"), and 2. The news story comes from a few weeks ago. I moved on.

Then I saw #2, which is a painting by Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the old, now deceased, Dr. Death, who was the unpleasant face of physician-assisted suicide for many years. The painting is called "Paralysis," so it appears to depict the subjective experience of being paralyzed on one side of the body — as subjectively perceived by a doctor-artist who favors accepting the preference for death by those who are forming that preference within their subjective experience of physical impairment.

And thus within the subjective experience of blogging, for me, the Drunken Satyr stirred to life.

23 comments:

MadisonMan said...

I don't expect statue legs to be hollow like that, but then I saw your explanation that it's a reproduction.

Given that he has a hollow leg, the satyr must've been able to drink just about anyone under the table.

Ann Althouse said...

LOL. Haven't seen the old "must have a hollow leg" joke in decades!

David said...

How about a copy of the drunken satyr for the quadrangle at Wellesley? Would they feel threatened? Should Wellesley students avoid museums entirely? All of Italy?

Lucien said...

Love the background of Kevorkian's piece -- the brain and spine hanging in chains.

Robert Cook said...

Wow...Dr. Kevorkian's painting is good...and pretty cool!

Lucien said...

Of course the Drunken Satyr would be threatening at Wellesley -- he's the poster boy of rape culture.

How the hollowness would be interpreted is another deal. Would it symbolize the emptiness of existence in such a culture, or show that rape culture in a college setting is just a Trojan Horse used by the Patriarchy to perpetuate its oppression of women?

rhhardin said...

If you tell a rape joke, who's going to complain? Not rape victims.

- Sarah Silverman

FWBuff said...

After clicking through to the article about the statue with the broken leg, I was amazed at the amount of graffiti on the base. Maybe it's a "broken window" problem, but that kind of neglect by the museum sends a signal that it's okay to mistreat the art. (I guess I'm blaming the victim here; another example of rape culture micro-aggression.) The museum needs a vigilant Meade to clean the graffiti off its bases!

traditionalguy said...

Spring Break 2014: where the Drunken Satyrs are today.

The Romans had fun.

Ann Althouse said...

If a statue is unprotected, people do think they can climb up on it.

Look at statues in parks. People climb up for photos all the time.

betamax3000 said...

Crazy Street Corner Guy Off His Meds Says:

I saw Leonardo DiCaprio raped by Harvey Keitel, it happened right in this alley. Almost made me want to go back on my meds, the sounds, the sounds, Harvey was bellowing like a bull moose and the screeching, screeching like rats, there were rats crawling in the alley and the pigeons were watching, there are always pigeons watching, they know what we do. I wanted to leave but this is my alley, this is my corner and this is my alley, it does not belong to Harvey and I told him he better damned well leave when he was finished. This is my alley.

betamax3000 said...

Belligerent Drunk Stand-up Comic says:

Society today (shakes head, sips drink), what a waste. Everyone is so sensitive, it's like you can't even make a rape joke nowadays without someone getting all bitchy about it. Bitchy, bitchy. Man up, women, man up. (sips drink) Stop with the groaning, it's only humor, it'll be over soon enough...

(sips drink)

I was accused of rape once, it's true. Bad experience, bad experience. I told her it couldn't be rape, I was drunk and besides I left her a twenty. Stop booing: it may seem cheap, but that was the going rate back then. (sips drink) Look, I'm not a skinflint: oral would've been another ten, she could've earned more. Or are you booing because I didn't leave a tip...?

(sips drink)

People say they don't like rape jokes, but they'll tell 'prison shower' jokes, no problem. A man raped in prison and we don't care, we think it's funny, but some college chick gets drunk and does the basketball team and we're supposed to be up in arms. (sips drink) And then what do people want to have happen to the basketball team? They want them all to go to prison and get raped in the shower. Strange world we live in, strange world....

Thank you, you've been a peach...

John Woycheese said...

I would have loved to have seen the face of the person on the faun's knee when the leg broke. I wonder if they (sitter and photographer) ran immediately, or if they are the ones who brushed the pieces to the wall.

Brian McKim & Traci Skene said...

Sheesh... Betamax3000 needs to get out more. And by that I mean that he/she needs to avoid whatever comedy clubs he/she goes to and see better comedians. (Or, since the parodies are so dated, perhaps Betamax3000 hasn't actually been to a comedy club since 1985 or so. Sips drink? Really? Sips drink? The vast majority of professional comics wouldn't bring a drink onstage. It's hacky.)

Prof. Althouse says, "...I could be attacked for making humor in the general vicinity of rape." and she experiences a "twinge of fear." So sad. Are we better off for all this fear and hesitation and attacking? Will the "rape culture" magically disappear when the scolds finally get their way?

mccullough said...

Looks like the Satyr has whiskey dick

Marc said...

Looking at the 200 comments to the Corriere della Sera's article about this, publihed a month ago, I don't believe any of those people think it's an acceptable thing to do to climb on statuary in museums.

Was most amused by the commenters who took offense at the use of the barbarian loan word selfie.

Jupiter said...

"That twinge of fear that I could be criticized for saying something wrong was the first small count against blogging, but I would have blogged it."

You aren't afraid you might lose your job? Does tenure give you the right to make rape jokes?

wildswan said...

What is the stuff inside the Kevorkian leg? It looks like the inside of shell or coral. Is that part of the parable? The brain looks like giant ray, the leg like a coral, the guy is on stairs going downhill, he looks like a stroke victim.

And what is the theme of the day in relation to this picture? "He could not do apostrophes any more so we go rid of him." The satyr "just didn't care, never got apostrophes right so we broke his leg." The doctors are misdiagnosing spring fever - does this circle back to Kevorkian and possible misdiagnosis of fatal illnesses?

But you know what?

Where I am the sun is shining and the air is warm and my mind has sloooowed down and its greeeaaat and the sun is heading north. "Here come's the sun!"

betamax3000 said...

All fifty states! That includes Rhode Island! And North Dakota! Exclamation point! I'll buy the book! Thank you for being vigilant!

betamax3000 said...

Mr. and Mrs. Comedy -- at Big Al's! Billboard! Give us a paragraph of yuks that you just came up with today! Exclamation point! Fifty states! Wrote a book! Give me five hundred words that haven't been in your act before, off the cuff.Do it two weeks in a row. I watched the 2013 Ferguson bit, so please no repeating.

betamax3000 said...

My apologies to our Hostess. Wave a red cloth and I am predictably bullish.

That said: in my Fantasy World I want to do a Blogging Heads with you. Your humor has a nice serrated edge in 'real talk' (I watch the videos) -- I would be okay with you dismembering me. The subject can't be law, though: you can't destroy me before I can even start. We can start with why puppies are so adorable. I've got nothing.

betamax3000 said...

Oh God. On Ferguson you used a 'my wife -- do these jeans make my ass look big' joke? Not 1985? Really? No twist, no meta, just: my wife asked me if my ass looks big? Of the fifty states where did this one kill?

Saint Croix said...

"The statue was asking for it." I liked my wisecrack, but also saw how I could be attacked for making humor in the general vicinity of rape.

It's an off-color joke, but it would be 1000 times more offensive if the statue was a woman. But the statue is a white male. So you would get away with it. Of course you would.

The joke isn't mocking victims but those who blame victims.

Yes but there would be no irony if the statue was a woman. It's the maleness of the statue that makes the joke safe. It's a joke about raping men.