Pasolini and the sacred

Apart from the end of the English Shadow, last night I read JM Castellet’s Els escenaris de la memòria. JM was a literary critic, which is French for vulgar gossip, whose occasional qualms regarding the persecution of Jews and sexual non-conformists in Russia don’t seem to have stopped him attending any number of well-catered Soviet-sponsored writers congresses. (Someone must have written a book about Great Critical Hunger that accompanied the end of communism.)

Most of the conversations recorded in the book consist of people you’ve never heard of relaying snippets from people you probably have heard of. One exception is his encounter with Pasolini, face-to-face one presumes, that contradicts what seems to be a generally-held view: that, although he whored for the fascists, flirted with the Nazis, joined the communists when the war went their way, and then clambered early onto the bandwagon of regionalist intolerance, at the end of the 1930s he “left behind the religious fervor of his early years.” JMC suggests to him the possibility of a religious reading of Il vangelo secondo Matteo:

Yes, he replied, but in relation to the profanation of the world (of nature, of ideals, of the imaginary even) represented by the bourgeoisie. I didn’t have, stricto sensu, a religious education, but I can’t bear the banalisation of the mystery of life and which may be transcendent or not–I don’t know… I am very sensitive to landscape … and the damned industrial bourgeoisie has screwed them up. I’m talking about the bourgeoisie that wants to produce and consume following the North-American model, which not only has fractured the equilibrium in relationships between man and nature, but which has perverted an order which lasted centuries and which worked… Hatred is certainly the origin of Teorema. A visceral hatred towards those who destroyed the imaginary [I think this is a ref to Lacan] of my infancy, as well as a lot of other things obviously… I have always been pursued by nostalgia for the sacred [and in] consequence I detest the profanation of that which I consider sacred: a natural order based on the mystery of nature, of vaguely transcendental origin…

That expresses for me succinctly the fucked-up thinking so prevalent in Spanish politics which, on a personal level, leads apparently rational people to do freaky shit like embrace and weep over trees to which they haven’t even been properly introduced:

–It was so beautiful and meaningful!
–Yeah, but what was the tree called? I want to try it too.
–Why are you so hateful?

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Comments

  1. Conversation concerning a small statue on display in a house in La Iruela:

    “It’s San Anton”.
    “Really? I thought it was San Blas. It looks so much like San Blas”.

  2. Don’t play that moral equivalence game with me, sunshine. St Blas helps people with bad throats while St Anthony was a filthy troglodyte. (Father Fuck tells me that St Ignatius of Loyola had his visions whilst living in a cave near Manresa. God had told him not to have the leg he broke in whichever war fixed, and it went septic and affected his head. When he came back to Barcelona he had to have it rebroken three times to fix it, but his head never got better. Says Father Fuck.)

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