Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Other Problems

"There were other problems, but these were not so obvious at the beginning. I was six when my mother asked my father to get her a garbage can. I wondered what a garbage can was. She said a garbage can was a container for things that had to be thrown away because they had no use whatsoever. That was news to me. We'd never had to throw away anything before. Paper bags, for instance, we crumpled and rolled around and then used in the outhouse. Bran left from sifting the wheat flour to make bread was given to the chickens, as were potato peels and other vegetable skins. Table scraps went to the puppy, and rotten fruit and vegetables were returned to the earth, which gave them back to us the next summer in red and yellow and green. Nothing was wasted. So I could not see why Mother would need a garbage can, not at first. But it became clearer to me as the days went by. We had new things in the village, things that could not be fed to the dogs or the chickens or the earth, things that would not even burn."
- Anwar F. Accawi, "Unbreakable Wonder" (Harper's Magazine, September 2005)

6 comments:

Devo said...

Things like dead hookers?

NO, of course not. They burn easy.

On a more coherent note, I know we've spoken briefly of Rilke before, but I think his comprehension of the "purely American attitude" (as initially and perhaps more brightly examined by de Tocqueville before him) as regards objects is peculiarly befitting of this quote. He noticed that even homes have become objects in America. A home is far more often "just a house", to be passed on and given up once one is through using it. In Europe, on the other hand, homes are traditionally kept in a family for many generations, and one becomes deeply identified with them. Similarly, objects take on a much more visceral life in the more traditional culture Rilke evokes. Consumption is a wasting disease in more senses than one, methinks...

Brief post, but well played, friend.

paddalumpakins said...

On a completely unrelated note, I was surfing around Artnet and clicked on Art Gotham in their current events section. It looks like they have a show up you might be interested in - The Square Foot Show. I have never been to the gallery so I'm not going to vouche for it or anything...and their website, um, isn't the best...but nonetheless I thought of you

Hungry Hyaena said...

Devo:

Agreed, and well said.

St. SNAFU:

Good to hear from you. I checked out the blurb. I assume you're talking about the show dealing with Nature. It does look interesting.

The Square Foot Show I'm less into and I already missed it anyway. It's one of those shows I would definitely check out were I to be making plans for a "Chelsea Day," but wouldn't go out of my way to see.

One show I'm totally psyched for is Patricia Piccinini's show at Robert Miller. I'm a nut for her sculpture in reproduction and I look forward to seeing it in person. In any event, thanks for looking out for shows I might like.

paddalumpakins said...

You didn't happen to see the Diane Arbus show at Robert Miller Gallery. I noticed you posted a great photograph of hers. Anyway, the show is incredable...

paddalumpakins said...

Oh, and yeah, I was talking about the Nature Show not the Square Foot Show. Opps.

Hungry Hyaena said...

St. SNAFU:

Diane Arbus produced any number of stunning works; I missed the recent show, unfortunately, and I'm still kicking myself for that.