Today I read the world.
The morning started out with my ordinary dosage of telemarketing mixed with some of Project Gutenberg's finest offerings. Sabine had recommended Ibsen to me, having learned in horror that I have never delved, or even dabbled, in his writing, so I read A Doll's House and Hedda Gabler. Nice, fun, uplifting fare. I actually quite enjoyed them both-- I would love to see them performed, and it was lovely to finally find out what everyone is talking about when they reference "poor Nora". (Hah! Hah! I did it! And knew what I was talking about! Hah!) IN the afternoon, however, I decided to go with lighter fare, and so picked up-- or rather, downloaded-- The Picture of Dorian Gray. For some reason I've been substituting the word portrait for the word picture for years, a fact that will bother nobody but myself. But yes. Wilde is the stuff for a good afternoon of living in your imagination. I just watched Velvet Goldmine for the fifty bazillionth time, that is, if a bazillion is more than a jillion... I tend to forget. Anyhow, Velvet Goldmine is peppered throughout with Wilde quotes and even has a little opening sequence, that gets forgotten later in the movie, concerning Wilde. As a piece of work, the movie itself isn't anything to get commemorative tattoos over, but as a vehicle for imagination, it's lovely. And it's the same thing with Dorian Gray. There's the lust for the exciting, depraved lifestyle that I fear afflicts every person in a eight year radius of twenty, more in some cases, obviously, and while reading books and watching movies that pontificate so movingly about the manner in which life should be conducted, it is lovely to parrot them to yourself and feel that you are truly badass for adoping the statement, "To get back one's youth, one has merely to repeat one's follies." (Oscar Wilde, Portrait of Dorian Gray), for instance, as a complete, immutable law. But it's not badass. Not that I don't have an envelope in front of me scrawled with quotes from the book, and not that I didn't frantically start emailing my friends things like, "There is only one thing worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about." (Ibid.) because they are awesome statements, but before adopting them as credos, one should consider that it was good ol' Oscar who came up with them (and he's going to come back from the grave and kill me for calling him that) and so we should perhaps try and be original and not rely on quotes. Not that I should speak. I live a life fuelled by romantic images of places and people and situations and ideals, and I do agree with him, that in a way, "the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes." (Ibid... aren't you loving how I'm actually vaguely citing sources?!?!? Whoo!) but for heaven's sakes, people can also come up with their own personal take on this, and not take his word as dogma, simply because he preached disaffection and hedonism.
Ahhh... I get convoluted and pompous at times, and I apologise dearly for this trangression of decency. I'm going to go dream of men in sparkly boots now...
And yes... my pet peeve is people who twist quotes to their own contexts. Compare:
"All art is quite useless."
to its contextual setting:
"We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it.
All art is quite useless."
Slight difference in meanings. Ach. You know Alex is itching to get back to school when... she writes things like this.