Monday, November 8, 2010

Episode 103: How to Read "Lolita"

Okay, so art school. It's a lot of fun and very very hard and challenging but it is not exactly rigorous when it comes to the non-art-related fields. There was some silly one-semester-minute requirement for other liberal arts and they mainly consisted of classes called things like "Turning the Page: How to Turn the Page of a Book" or "Why Books are Rectangular." But there were a couple of really interesting classes taught by professors from the nearby fancypants university who would cross North Parkway and slum a little. One of the classes was called "The Search for the Great America Novel." We read six books - "Absalom, Absalom!," "Pictures of Fidelman," something else, something else and a Nabokov double feature, "Pale Fire" and "Lolita," which I had read before.

Now these English classes at art school were made up of a motley crew of people -- mainly people willing to be there at 8 in the morning for the easy "pass." This particular class had examples of the opposite poles of art school students in it. One was named Anne and I loved her. She wore pajamas to class and was always making nutty provocative art, like a self-portrait bust of herself made from Underwood potted meat. The other was Judy, who was an older lady who did large ultra-realistic pastel drawings of, oh, parakeets sitting on perches and she was always the one screeching out "I don't get why this is art" if someone brought in a drawing of a vulva to drawing class, which, coincidentally, Anne would do with almost mind-numbing regularity.

So! We get to "Lolita." Judy comes in in an absolute fury, demanding to know why we have been assigned this book when we shouldn't even be reading fiction! We should be reading true stories, like the BIBLE! Not this filth about a young girl and a father figure having sex in every little seedy motel in America. And there sat Anne in her patchouli-scented pajamas, grinning from ear to ear as she puffed a cigarette (ok, maybe not but in my memory she did) - who then leveled the room more effectively than Fat Man and Little Boy took care of Hiroshima - with one simple little question: "oh Judy, for god's sake. Haven't you ever imagined screwing your daddy?"

Now. Have you ever watched a watermelon be thrown from the top of a building onto the pavement below? That's pretty much what Judy's head looked like right before the screaming match began. And it was a screaming match as yet unrivaled, and that includes all of reality TV since then. I just sat there laughing - along with the professor - and doodling my new tattoo idea, which included the phrase "I Heart Anne 4-Ever."

I haven't kept up with either of them; I'm sure Judy's off in some windowless church putting a snake back in a box. Anne? Who knows. She's either in jail or a professor somewhere; I certainly hope it's the latter and she's spending her days opening the eyes of horrible, stupid Judys everywhere.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And THAT is how you fuckin' read Lolita!