Sunday, October 14, 2012

DSK, skirt-chasing, greatness, and death

The article about Dominic Strauss-Kahn and his whoring ways in the NY Times got me to thinking. First off, it took me back to the classic scene in Moonstruck where Olympia Dukakis (Rose) is out to dinner with the older guy who's courting her, while her husband is out to dinner with his floozie.

Rose: Why do men chase women?
Perry: Well, there’s a Bible story… God… God took a rib from Adam and made Eve. Now maybe men chase women to get the rib back. When God took the rib, he left a big hole there, where there used to be something. And the women have that. Now maybe, just maybe, a man isn’t complete as a man without a woman.
Rose: [frustrated] But why would a man need more than one woman?
Perry: I don’t know. Maybe because he fears death.
[Rose looks up, eyes wide, suspicions confirmed]
Rose: That’s it! That’s the reason!

This rings truer than most scenes in movies.  So it follows that "great men", from DSK to JFK to MLKJ to slick Willie to Tiger Woods, can't keep their dicks in their pants for exactly the same reasons that drive them to be "great":  they fear death in a big way, and are compelled to overcome it by projecting their egos onto both beacoup des femmes but also the great canvas of history.

The key to keeping your libido under control and your marriage intact, then, is to get over the fear of death. That would, in fact, be helpful in a lot of contexts.

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The writerly approach to this problem is, I think, better.  Here's Pushkin, who in turn riffs on Horace.  Dunno if this is the best translation. Gotta get the kids to the library, and thence to Flyfleaf Books, for which Natalie has a gift certificate burning a hole in her pocket.

I have erected a monument to myself
Not built by hands; the track of it, though trodden
By the people, shall not become overgrown,
And it stands higher than Alexander’s column.

I shall not wholly die. In my sacred lyre
My soul shall outlive my dust and escape corruption–
And I shall be famed so long as underneath
The moon a single poet remains alive.

I shall be noised abroad through all great Russia,
Her innumerable tongues shall speak my name:
The tongue of the Slavs’ proud grandson, the Finn, and now
The wild Tungus and Kalmyk, the steppes’ friend.

In centuries to come I shall be loved by the people
For having awakened noble thoughts with my lyre,
For having glorified freedom in my harsh age
And called for mercy towards the fallen.

Be attentive, Muse, to the commandments of God;
Fearing no insult, asking for no crown,
Receive with indifference both flattery and slander,
And do not argue with a fool.

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