Saturday, August 24, 2013

Current Favourite Mental Collapse

'The previous year, Carlota had returned to Europe to plead for support for her husband's failing regime. Napoleon III was unwilling to back up his Mexican ambitions with the necessary military force, so Carlota went to Rome to beg for help from the Pope. On the way she began behaving strangely. Modern psychiatry would doubtless have a more precise diagnosis, but the language of her day seems more appropriate. Carlota went mad. She became convinced that an organ grinder on the street was a Mexican colonel in disguise, and that spies of every sort were trying to poison her. As a precaution she ate only oranges and nuts, checking the peels and the shells for signs of tampering. She made her coachman stop at Rome's Trevi fountain so that she could fill a crystal pitcher with water certain not to be poisoned. In her hotel suite she kept a small charcoal stove and, tied to table legs, several chickens, to be slaughtered and cooked only in her sight. With her obedient staff in despair, her rooms slowly filled with feathers and chicken droppings.

Flushed and weeping, Carlota burst in on the Pope one morning as he was finishing breakfast, dipped her fingers in his hot chocolate, and licked them hungrily, crying, "This at least is not poisoned. Everything they give me is drugged, and I am starving, literally starving!" A cardinal and the commander of the Papal Guards manoeuvred her out of the room, whereupon Carlota gave the guards' commander a list of her staff members who should be arrested for treachery.'

Adam Hochschild, King Leopold's Ghost (1999)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Thomas Struth (1954- )

More information here.

Current Favourite Sentence

It was like a welling, congested, sentimental weepiness without an object, as emotions triggered by images of, say, a depressed-looking girl smoking in bed and some unspecific tragedy in a crowded street sought cathartic resolution in vain.

David Salle (1952- )

More information here.

Thursday, August 01, 2013