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J’aime/Je n’aime pas

By Ange Mlinko

Let’s take a break from theorizing (or not). Let’s play the J’aime/je n’aime pas game, which I am totally cribbing from the bloggers Jenny Davidson and Ed Park, who cribbed it from Roland Barthes, who said:

like, I don’t like: this is of no importance to anyone; this, apparently, has no meaning. And yet all this means: my body is not the same as yours. Hence, in this anarchic foam of tastes and distastes, a kind of listless blur, gradually appears the figure of a bodily enigma, requiring complicity or irritation. Here begins the intimidation of the body, which obliges others to endure me liberally, to remain silent and polite confronted by pleasures or rejections which they do not share.

I would also like to suggest that this simple game shows how false our concrete/abstract binary (see here) usually is.
J’aime:
All sweets, Alsatian Pinot Gris, Calvados. Peasant fare: minestrones, bourguignons, bouillabaisses, borschts. Paprika. Butter. Having someone else cook. Walking by an open window where someone is practicing piano, guitar, or opera singing. Disheveled boys carrying guitar cases in the subway. Seeing bands in small clubs. Vespas and bicycles. Beautiful clothes. Botanic gardens. Cheap seaside motels. Beach roses. Crocuses. Railway yards, power stations, aerials and radio towers. Russian Orthodox liturgical singing. Lemon yellow paired with smoky gray, as in certain November skies. Clear blue skies; gusty winds. Fridays. Autumn. New England, the Hudson Valley. Gardening. Laptops; wifi. Getting email. Book collections. Academics. Grownups who like children. Children’s voices. The first pregnancy, but only the first. Walking endlessly, preferably in a foreign city. Reading twenty books at once, in the back yard. Painting (Figurative). Sculpture (Abstract or Figurative). The moment before opening the present. The Lyric.
Je n’aime pas:
Crowds, arenas. Hiking, camping, wilderness. Sports. Onion/garlic powder. Takeout. Skyscrapers, corporate buildings, commercial parks. Midtown Manhattan. Fleece; ugly clothes; cheap fabric. Protestant Hymns. “Edgy” films. Fetishized violence. Newspaper book reviews of poetry, the term “class warfare,” all American politics without exception, evolutionary psychology. Housework. Home décor. Malls. Walmart. Filling the tank. Changing diapers. Collecting toys on the sly when they have been recalled for lead paint; having to ration fish because of mercury; worrying that fresh spinach will kill my baby. Finding myself at a table with lawyers and people in the “financial industry.” Walking to the library check-out and having elderly men burst into a sprint to get there before me. People who say, “My dog never bit anyone until now.” Cell phones. Programming phones. Fetishizing technology; planned obsolescence. Reading on the subway. Driving, but even more so, riding in a car. All airplane travel. “Firm” hotel beds with scratchy sheets. The day after my birthday. Comics. Top forty. Lowbrow conceptual art that sells for millions of dollars. Pandering.
[I also have more comments to make on other posts, but I couldn’t resist this perfect Friday afternoon divertissement…]

Comments (2)

  • On September 28, 2007 at 2:53 pm Ben Friedlander wrote:

    I do like “Shall We Gather at the River,” which I mostly know from cowboy movies (it seems to be the funeral song of choice in westerns). Is it typical of protestant hymns?

  • On September 28, 2007 at 4:31 pm Ange wrote:

    I didn’t know that one, so I went to the iTunes store where there’s, like, a hundred versions. They don’t sound the same in recordings as they do in churches, where the tempo is always v-e-r-y s-l-o-w.
    I loved your comment on neglect, which may have been the most radical thing anybody has said about poetry on this site.


Posted in Uncategorized on Friday, September 28th, 2007 by Ange Mlinko.