See… we can’t readily predict what they might say, at any given moment.
We still give them excuses for this– we laugh it off, we ignore it… but there’s always that lurking fear: “Will they call me out for being fat? Or bald? Or too [insert perceived feature]?”
What do we call anyone else who might utter this innocently violent vociferation, this verbal flagellation…this… YAWP of clairvoyance– or at least of searing honesty?
Usually– we call them insane.
We call it Tourette’s. We call it schizophrenia. We call it drunk, or codependent.
Sometimes though, and however rarely (even simultaneously)– we call it writing. We call it art, we call it poetry, and in Louis-Ferdinand Céline’s case… “novels.”
Sure, he went a little mad at the end there (we all go a little mad sometimes, after all– though it’s only the best of us that produces novels, i.e., reproducible wisdom, gleaned from the experience), but then again,how could you not go mad, way down there at the end of a lifetime of writing down everything as you actually saw it–
and not, as so many others have, as how you SHOULD have seen it.
Like Céline, the laughing madman, one simultaneously scary (“Why is he laughing like that? Why can’t I understand it too?”)as well as intriguing (“What in the world is so funny that he keeps laughing at it? Do I truly want to understand that kind of hilarity?”).
Moreover, that Céline himself was a doctor makes his words even more darkly hilarious: we often naturally assume people as educated as doctors would be above thinking things like… I dunno… like we stink like we roll in shit.
It is only upon fully grasping this — that the truly wealthy, smart, powerful or famous are pretty much as fucked up as we are, and so there is nothing to aspire to — that one really begins to understand the truly peaceful (and yet truly horrifying) reality that Céline saw and described in Journey To The End of the Night and Death on Credit (aka Death On the Installment Plan).
Céline gets shit, and sometimes applause, for being anti-human, anti-establishment.
Céline is anti-bullshit. Céline is the guy at the Thanksgiving dinner table, airing everyone’s secrets that everyone at the table knew already. Everyone embarrassed, but not because they didn’t know, but because everything is out there and we’ll have to talk about it or work really hard trying to change the subject….
You know you get it. Make the concession to early-20th century French, and be rewarded as Céline imparts knowledge, however naive and obliquely….
Glean from your experience, is what I’m sayin.