La violence et la dérision

La violence et la dérision Who Are The Jokers The Jokers Are The Government, And The Biggest Joker Of All Is The Governor, A Bug Eyed, Strutting, Rapacious Character Of Unequaled Incompetence Who Presides Over The Nameless Middle Eastern City Where This Effervescent Comedy By Albert Cossery Is SetThe Jokers Are Also The Revolutionaries, No Less Bumbling And No Less Infatuated With The Trappings Of Power Than The Government They OpposeAnd The Jokers Are Karim, Omar, Heykal, Urfy, And Their Friends, Free Spirits Who See The Other Jokers For The Jokers They Are And Have Cooked Up A Sophisticated And, Most Important, Foolproof Plan To Enliven Public Life With A Dash Of Subversive HumorThe Joke Is On Them All

Albert Cossery November 3, 1913 June 22, 2008 was an Egyptian born French writer of Greek Orthodox Syrian and Lebanese descent, born in Cairo.Son of small property owners in Cairo, at the age of 17, inspired by reading Honor de Balzac, Albert Cossery Arabic emigrated to Paris He came there to continue his studies which he never did devote himself to, writing and settled perma

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  • La violence et la dérision
  • Albert Cossery
  • French
  • 20 August 2019
  • 9782844120366

10 thoughts on “La violence et la dérision

  1. says:

    Actually it s like 2.5 stars Albert Cossery had an interesting idea It goes like this a group of Middle Eastern pranksters oppose their authoritarian government not through violence or open revolution, but through outrageous feats of mockery An interesting idea, alas, is not a novel And Cossery at least in this translation of The Jokers is not a very competent writer he tends to want to describe the living fuck out of every character s attitudes and thoughts even the incredibly dunderheaded ones apparently not trusting his readership to respond to implication or subtlety And while he may not have studied the full four years at the V.C Andrews School of Clunky Dialogue, he at least got his associate s degree Sorry, Albert, but a lot of this junk reads like bad television, overwrought and oddly divorced from anything resembling Reality 101 Just then, Urfy was seized by panic All of a sudden he couldn t see he thought he had been struck blind It took him a moment to understand the reason for the sudden loss of sight the tears he d been struggling to repress now filled his eyes, and the lenses of his glasses were fogged up.Really, Urfy You weren t aware that you were crying And you also can t tell the difference between looking through foggy lenses and being blind How do people like this make it through the day in the real world I bet every night when they go to sleep, they get confused and think they re dead.Then the police man started scrutinizing the people seated on the benches He seemed to be looking for somebody specific and kept shaking his head with a disappointed frown.I don t know how people act in Cossery s world, but when people look for someone in a crowd on the planet Earth, they usually don t look at each individual face and then shake their head each time after realizing it s not the face they re looking for Or, if they do actually do that, it usually means they re off their antipsychotic medication again.Also, I d like to note that The Jokers is a short book only 145 pages in the NYRB edition but the substance of the novel could have probably been related effectively in maybe 45 pages If you took out all the overdescription and general bullshit, I mean For instance, there are two unnecessary and irrelevant scenes in the book where Cossery discusses the appeal of women s butts at length, in a slobbering, man in a trenchcoat kind of way that contrasts strangely with the staidness of the rest of the novel He also devotes a disproportionate number of pages to an argument about a donkey getting a haircut from a barber As a general rule of thumb, I d say that arguments about donkeys getting haircuts can usually be cut from most novels Like this one, for example See I m an editor Pay me.

  2. says:

    Voltaire used to say that only laughter could destroy his infamous adversaries It s Voltaire so we re talking about superstition, organized religion, some monarch or other, Joan of Arc, the whole package Laugh, laugh and you ll crush them, he d say Coincidently, or perhaps not, Voltaire went to the heart of Plato and Hobbes s theory of humour Albeit with some divergences, both philosophers believed that we laugh because we feel superior, we feel that are at an advantage before something or someone Voltaire understood that quite well because he was an expert at laughing at others and what was , at making others laugh at his enemies By laughing you are diminishing, you are condemning a person or a situation to triviality Laughter is uncontrollable So is humour Much of today s debate about the limits of humour is testimony to this Humour knows no boundaries, no decency, sometimes no accuracy It is the nightmare of dictators and statesmen alike because it is, by definition of its very being, anarchical.Cossery, aptly called the Voltaire of the Nile, understood humour so well that he writes a novel in which he puts in practice humour s endless possibilities In Alexandria where a tyrannical governor rules, a group of laid back revolutionaries attempts to discredit him by putting up posters that praise him to such absurd lengths that it can only be a joke But of course no vain, self righteous tyrant will ever admit to being the butt of a joke Plus, it s the proverbial catch 22 they re not doing anything wrong, everything is up to interpretation, they could be genuinely praising him, etc This attitude is contrasted with the figure of a sinister, faithful professional revolutionary, a caricature of Saint Just or at least, the Saint Just reactionaries believe in This man loves the people so much that he is willing to hate humanity for its sake He believes in violence because well, probably the world around him left him nothing to believe in Cossery s band of miscreants, on their part, are far nihilistic, but they are much happier This was an amazing read, I wasn t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did I m definitely getting my hands on Cossery as soon as I can.

  3. says:

    This is a short little novel with an irresistible premise A group of loutish prankster revolutionaries decide to launch a campaign against their hated governor, a combination of King Farouk, Silvio Berlusconi, and Hafez al Assad seen on the front cover Instead of trying to kill or depose him, they want to make him look so ridiculous that he is forced to resign They place fake beggars in the street for his policemen to beat, and paint up fake posters which praise his virtues far beyond the hyperbole of any reasonable propagandist.Unfortunately, the book s execution is a tad lackluster The book reads slowly, even at less than 150 pages, and could easily have worked as a short story There are some strange choices for scenes, and some make no sense at all The barber scene, for example, or the rambling talk about butts Still I have to give a book credit for predicting events and parts of human nature with such precision The most hated of rulers tremble in fear of a few light ribbings, as we know most recently from the case of Bassem Youssef in Egypt Despite the book s flaws, it is a quick and jaunty read through things we see on Youtube today.

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    Others have summarized this well enough so no need to do that here but I d like to add some emphasis on the life affirming absurdity and Groucho, Chico and Harpo Marxism on proud display here Taking yourself and your misery too seriously might be one of the worst actions you can self inflict This book gives you some major keys to unlock some very important lessons and it s done in a smart and light handed way I wish Alain de Botton would write How Cossery Can Change Your Life and use liberal Marx Brothers quotes to illustrate his ever so salient points Ah fuck it I ll do it myself despite the fact that I ll only fall short and potentially amuse only myself in the process The only time I stopped acting was when I played the harp HarpoCossery s writer character is tense and pensive only experiencing joy when he pens his feathered invectives this teaches you that if you are a writer you should write it took Proust 4000 pages to get to the same point Like Harpo as he looked to the sky before playing Cossery s characters are very self aware and never fail to linger long enough in their actions to extract every possible drop of essence from an experience I don t care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members GrouchoElitism in general is scorned as merriment and pleasure are the only conditions worthy of your attention The you get away from the labored sanity of a tedious life the freer you are Punish yourself for bothering to hate A young man in The Jokers attempts to join ranks with the pranksters only to be marginalized for his failure to abandon bitterness A child of five would understand this Send someone to fetch a child of five GrouchoCossery uses the 17 year old daughter of his Egyptian Ubu to expose the shortcomings of a foolish despot Her naivet is on full display as she achieves her greatest joys in rubbing either sand or people against her supple flesh She has no need to unlearn serious hate and thus makes the perfect foil to her oppressive father who understands nothing other than the fleeting essence of dictatorial power Cossery s penman teaches primarily to usurp the stifling role of formalized education The children already understand just don t let someone teach that out of them Humor is reason gone mad GrouchoIf you weep instead of snicker you are taking both sides of the sword Leaders can only control those willing to sulk and suffer You re going to effectively usurp pernicious influence with praise than bitterness Bigger weeds are easily located and uprooted Swell the egoists head until it can only pop to vent pressure Prose and portraiture are effective tools to achieve this air Cossery asks how a man so foolish can be mocked in image and it takes an artist s skill to do just that It s a writer s panegyric that is dangled throughout the book as the trocar that will ultimately pierce the dead man s organs I remember the first time I had sex I kept the receipt Groucho The Jokers second scene is a great scene of a woman refusing money for a night of impulsive passion The man seeks to subjugate his prey by reducing the experience to banaustic efficiency The woman refuses to be subjugated and is then named and transcends servitude Cossery has a Proustian understanding of sexual social interaction and an Antal Szerbian comprehension that if you stare too long at the vacuous pit of love you are prone to unplanned flights from reality I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today I can choose which it shall be Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn t arrived yet I have just one day, today, and I m going to be happy in it GrouchoThat is damn perfect.

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  9. says:

    A coterie of Egyptian revolutionaries weaponize irony in an attempt to shatter the corrupt, all encompassing structure of human civilization Prescient and clever, if a little looser than it might be in terms of structure and climactic weight.

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