October 8, 2013

"But you don’t think that the proof is in the pudding at all? It is such a brilliant film."

"Yeah, because you can see that we were really suffering. With the fight scene, it was horrible. She was hitting me so many times, and [the director] was screaming, 'Hit her! Hit her again!'"

"In America, we’d all be in jail.... She was really hitting me. And once she was hitting me, there were people there screaming, 'Hit her!' and she didn’t want to hit me, so she’d say sorry with her eyes and then hit me really hard."

It's hard for me to get past "The proof is in the pudding."

No, it isn't.
Yes, I selected that quote for the headline — I had my reasons — despite the presence of a cliché — normally, I filter out clichés — and a particularly bad cliché, since it's a corruption. Like "You can't have your cake and eat it too," it's a cliché that has superseded an earlier cliché that made more sense. Here's a couple of NPR guys talking about it:
STEVE INSKEEP: The proof is in the pudding, he said. Tim Lowe wrote us all the way from Santiago de Cali, Colombia, and he writes the following: Frank, the proof is not in the pudding. It would be a messy, if not completely silly place to keep it. With that in mind, we called Ben Zimmer, language columnist at the Boston Globe.

BEN ZIMMER: Well, the proof is in the pudding is a new twist on a very old proverb. The original version is the proof of the pudding is in the eating. And what it meant was that you had to try out food in order to know whether it was good.

INSKEEP: Zimmer adds that the word pudding itself has changed. In Britain, dating back centuries, pudding meant more than a sweet dessert.

ZIMMER: Back then, pudding referred to a kind of sausage, filling the intestines of some animal with minced meat and other things - something you probably want to try out carefully since that kind of food could be rather treacherous.
And that gives new insight into the old saying "If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding!"

ADDED: Cliché or not, the suggestion that test is whether the movie is good must be answered, clearly, NO. If we know that what looks like a great acting performance is, in fact, real human suffering, we should — out of morality — decline to see the film. And we shouldn't enjoy it, or if we do find it pleasurable to observe that suffering, we should recognize that this is either sadism or a creepy capacity to compartmentalize.

Further pursuit of this thought in a new post, here.


David said...

Somewhere Roman Polanski is turning blue.

Jimmy said...

"... we had fake pussies that were molds of our real pussies. It was weird to have a fake mold of your pussy and then put it over your real one."

Well, that's certainly good to know.

Carnifex said...

Next years winner will just feature live prison rapes. So arty...so...progressive.

cubanbob said...

I suppose it's too much to expect an actor to read the script before taking the gig.

rhhardin said...

Automatically generated Tom Swifty :

Hit me with your midpoint, she said meanly.

Dad said...

It's hard for me to get past "The proof is in the pudding."

No, it isn't.

TML said...

Isn't it, "The proof of the pudding is in the tasting"? that would make a lot more sense in this context AND be more accurate regarding the quote. Wasn't there a post on this phrase on Althouse earlier?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

"Gild the lily" is another of those. It was "To gild refined gold, to paint the lily" in Shakespeare's King John, which makes more sense.

I try not to mix math homework into my pudding, myself :-)

tim maguire said...

I was hoping for an explanation of "you can't have your cake and eat it too" as that saying makes even less sense than "the proof is in the pudding." Why else would one have a cake but to eat it? Who would even want a cake if they couldn't eat it?

Sam L. said...

I shall remember not to see this movie.

Joan said...

Tim, the point of that saying is that once you've eaten your cake, you don't have it anymore. If you want to continue to own something, you can't consume it.

Why would anyone see this movie, having read this interview? Why isn't that director in jail? Why did those actresses continue to show up day after day, for such abuse? Is French contract law that different from ours? This story is horrifying. If the young lovers were hetero, wouldn't this film be vilified?


Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I think Ann is pointing out that it used to be "You can't eat your cake and have it," which says what Joan says above: You can't simultaneously consume something and still possess it. At some point the verbs got switched, so that the familiar version doesn't make sense.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

And Joan is right: Even if I'd wanted to watch this film before, I certainly would not now.

Alexander Ignatiev said...

Finally, a justification for Sweden's official censor of illegal snuff films, a job so horrifying to PJ O'Rourke that he actually empathized with a government functionary in Eat the Rich.

Ann Althouse said...

If you your cake, you won't have it anymore, not in cake form anyway. To some extent you have it, chewed up, digesting in you stomach, and later, you may have it in the form of fat, and indeed, if you don't move around more, you could be having 10 cakes distributed about the thighs and ass.

Paco Wové said...

"The proof of the pudding is in the tasting"

This also emphasizes a less-common meaning of the word "proof", which is more of a synonym for the word "test" or "trial".

As in "proving ground", "the exception proves the rule", "galley proof", etc.

jr565 said...

IF there was a rape scene would the director actually have the actors raping the actresses? Rape her harder! It's not convincing enough. Punch her in the face! Choke her!
And.... cut.

jr565 said...

I will say though that sometimes actors and actresses will ask their costars to slap them across the face for real (if the script calls for them to be slapped across the face) to add authenticity. And, thus there may be a line which allows for a bit of brutality in the furtherance of art which so long as you don't cross is acceptable.
A slap across the face maybe (so long as the person being slapped initiates the request). But how about a kick in the balls. How about a punch in the jaw.

jr565 said...

tim maguire wrote:
"Why else would one have a cake but to eat it? Who would even want a cake if they couldn't eat it?"

Because cakes are so pretty before someone starts carving them up with knives. Maybe you'd want the object untouched and looking complete for some reason.
Though, agreed. There are very few uses of cakes other than to consume them. It seems like a bad object to try to show a point.

Maybe better would be "you can't have money and spend it too". or, "you can't spend money and still have it". Because there at least there is value for having money (and for spending it) that makes sense to people.

Freeman Hunt said...

Just read the article. Appalling. Not them, the director. Really. Abominable.

Adèle: Of course! She was really hitting me. And once she was hitting me, there were people there screaming, “Hit her!” and she didn’t want to hit me, so she’d say sorry with her eyes and then hit me really hard.
Léa: [Kechiche] shot with three cameras, so the fight scene was a one-hour continuous take. And during the shooting, I had to push her out of a glass door and scream, “Now go away!” and [Adèle] slapped the door and cut herself and was bleeding everywhere and crying with her nose running, and then after, [Kechiche] said, “No, we’re not finished. We’re doing it again.”

There are all sorts of stories of great directors pushing actors for great performances. This isn't one of those stories. This is just abusive.

Paul Zrimsek said...

That's how Robert Burns was able to call haggis "Great chieftain o' the pudding-race".

MadisonMan said...

The director sounds like a horrid man. Truly disturbed. But I guess he's an artiste.

Indigo Red said...

..."Great chieftain o' the pudding-race".

Another example of "race" as other than human difference, but merely a group of something, anything.