Wednesday, October 30

CATFISH

Watching a tv-show called Catfish has been one of my guilty pleasures lately, especially after coming home from a long and boring day at work. Somehow I’m intrigued by the fact that so many people seem to fall in love with a complete stranger, someone they’ve only met online. It seems so easy to stare at a picture on your computer, exchange a few sweet lines via various chat functions,  and imagine that indeed this person is the perfect one. Connecting with a stranger somehow feels like a relief, like we can finally open up and be ourselves, drop all the masks we have to carry in our daily lives and liberate ourselves. The internet has made it possible to build intimate relationships with complete strangers, while we wouldn’t even dream of talking to our neighbour who lives in the same street. It shows how a certain distance always creates strong desire, the hope everyone has of a perfect match and a better future, the ability to deceive and be deceived without knowing, the craziness and possibilities of meeting people on the internet. And yes, at the end of the show I always wonder: who would I really like to go out with, Nev or Max?     

Sunday, October 20

BEWARE OF PITY

During the summer holidays I bought a second hand book called “Beware of Pity” by a writer named Stefan Zweig. I had never heard of Zweig before, despite the fact that New York Review Books has included his title in their list of publications. Beware of Pity is a gloomy novel, first translated from German to English in 1939, telling the story of a friendship between an officer of the Austro-Hungarian army and a cripple young girl. The young girl falls in love with the officer, who had once, unaware of her situation, asked her to dance with him. The officer obviously feels guilty about his faux pas afterwards, and their relationship unfolds. Zweig states there are two kinds of pity: “one, the weak and sentimental kind..., that pity which is not compassion, but only an instinctive desire to fortify one’s own soul against the sufferings of another; and the other, the only kind that counts, the unsentimental but creative kind, which knows what it is about and is determined to hold out, in patience and forbearance, to the very limit of its strength and even beyond” What is interesting about this novel is that it is so clearly anti-Semitic, despite the fact that Zweig came from a wealthy Austrian-Jewish family. If the manuscript were given to a publisher today, it would possibly be rejected. Stefan Zweig took his own life in 1942, while living in Petropolis, Brazil.   


  

Friday, October 11

YELLOW

Last week, on my way to work, I saw a young woman wearing a bright yellow suit. She wasn’t beautiful, she felt beautiful, and somehow, while her body was in motion, you could see the feelings that she kept inside. Her conviction forced the image of beauty upon you, like someone who had just flown in from Cannes or Nice or Hollywood. It was as if you could hear her inner mantra: I am beautiful, I am beautiful, and be swept away, just by looking at her precious face. I wanted to tell her she shouldn’t wear yellow, that other colours would look much better, but all I did was stare and sigh. Her confidence cured my insecurity, and when she looked at me I waved and smiled.