April 3, 2015

"I have kind of flashes in my mind and I try to put them on paper. Thinking? No. That is too serious."

Says the fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, who does not go out:
I imagine the world from my window. I’m happy wherever I am. I’m very happy to be in the Mercer right now because I bring myself with me wherever I go, thank God. Traveling, I think it’s a nightmare today. The airports and things the people in the street with the selfies … I like to stay at home and read.

What are you reading?

I will not talk about that. I like to read biographies, history, philosophical things like this. But it’s for my private use, and not for making people say, Oh, how clever this stupid man is. I don’t make intellectual conversation. I’m very superficial. I’m just a fashion designer. Fashion designers look at fashion magazines, right?
I'm quite amused by his form of expression. Short sentences that tease. Is he brilliant or an idiot? It's one thing I loved about Andy Warhol. You should read the whole interview, especially if you're into cats. Lagerfeld is quite devoted to one cat. That made me wonder whether Andy Warhol was attached to cats, and I see he put out a limited-edition book called "25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy." 
[T]here is no text in the book. The calligraphy for the book was done by Julia Warhola, Warhol's mother.... Warhol's mother left the letter "d" off of the word "Name" in the title and Warhol kept the error in, as he liked the random imperfections which appeared in his creations resulting from the techniques he used. Both Warhol and his mother had a passion for cats and they were all named Sam except for one called Hester....
Anyway, I wanted to talk about Lagerfeld's statement "I’m happy wherever I am.... I bring myself with me wherever I go." It's a sunny variation of the old "Wherever you go, there you are." Here's an old-time-y web page devoted to it: "Where have you seen or heard the quote 'No matter where you go, there you are'?" The challenge is to find a source before the iteration in the movie "Buckaroo Banzai."

Some people think their own dad started it. Many others cite Confucius. Remember when everything used to be attributed to Confucius? I think that habit was broken when it became socially unacceptable to begin the attribution with "Confucius say" — that is, leaving the letter "s" off the word "say," not as a random imperfection in the manner of Andy's mother, but following a deeply embedded convention about how to represent Chinese in English.

Somebody finds it in the 15th century devotional work by Thomas a Kempis, "The Imitation of Christ":
"So, the cross is always ready and waits for you everywhere. You cannot escape it no matter where you run, for wherever you go you are burdened with yourself. Wherever you go, there you are."
Maybe "Imitation of Christ" one of those "philosophical things" Karl Lagerfeld is reading, cat Choupette on his lap, in the Mercer Hotel. Or is he, because he is a fashion designer, reading fashion magazines? Did you know Imitation of Christ is a fashion label?

15 comments:

tim in vermont said...

Karl bought a house down the road from us. Did a photo-shoot there, fixed it up, but now it is back on the market. I always want to steal apples from his trees in the fall because they just go to waste falling into his lawn and rotting or attracting deer. They look like beautiful apples from the road.

Laslo Spatula said...

" Lagerfeld is quite devoted to one cat."

I understand the sentiment. I am quite devoted to Scarlett Johannson's pussy.

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

"...but following a deeply embedded convention about how to represent Chinese in English."

Orientalism, I imagine.

Ken said...

A version of "No matter where you go, there you are" was in Mad Max 2 The Road Warrior three years before Buckaroo Banzai.

Tank said...

I would mention what I'm reading, but I don't want to show off.

traditionalguy said...

Thomas a Kempis is apropos for the subject. He is a writer "who kind of has flashes in my mind and tries putting them on paper." That is how Christ speaks to men using the Spirit of Holiness. That's what wrote the Bible and made scripture unbreakable, or it can just lead the listener.

You'll need to remember about that the next time a person ridicules you by saying, " And does God speak to you?" trying their best to discredit a believer's claims to hear from God as schizophrenia.

Scott said...

Karl dresses funny.

Being comfortable wherever you're at is a characteristic of an enlightened person.

Ann Althouse said...

Thomas a Kempis seems to have started that thing of beginning a sentence with "So."

Bill said...

I have a zippered edition of IoC that I take everywhere with me. It's bracing, uncompromising stuff.

Bob Boyd said...

A lot of good jokes start with "So..."
For example:
So Jesus, Mohammed and Pee Wee Herman are sitting around a campfire...
or
So this guy gets his dick cut off in an industrial accident...
or
So a lawyer and a necrophiliac are walking down the street...

Marc said...

I imagine that the frequency of the 'so' is due more to the limitations of the translator than to Thomas's Latin, which, while direct, undecorated prose, is the language of a well educated man.

Foose said...

Seneca (and Socrates) said it first:

"Though you may cross vast spaces of sea, and though, as our Vergil remarks,

Lands and cities are left astern,

your faults will follow you whithersoever you travel. Socrates made the same remark to one who complained; he said: 'Why do you wonder that globe-trotting does not help you, seeing that you always take yourself with you? The reason which set you wandering is ever at your heels.' What pleasure is there in seeing new lands? Or in surveying cities and spots of interest? All your bustle is useless. Do you ask why such flight does not help you? It is because you flee along with yourself." Seneca, On Travel as a Cure for Discontent

Ann Althouse said...

This is why it makes more sense to take an LSD trip than a fly-in-an-airplane-stay-in-a-hotel trip. You change who YOU are, and then you're somewhere new.

You can also become the guy 3 posts up who got brain damage that gave him Borrowed Identity Syndrome.

traditionalguy said...

The Travel Denier Force is strong in LaAlthouse.

But living other places, which is more than one quick trip through, but is three + months living there, allows our minds to do a differential diagnosis of the culture we came from and fully appreciate its good points.

Oso Negro said...

On the quote,"No matter where you go, there you are", it seems to me I first ran across it in the early 1970s, probably in some underground comics thing, like Gilbert Shelton's Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers.