August 16, 2013

Taki and the Weatherbird crew with fish

Taki and the Weatherbird crew with fish

Even worse, Papa then started to write ambivalent love letters to Sara Murphy—was it real friendship or pure lust?—hinting at Gerald’s ambivalent sexuality. However much I worship Papa, this pissed me off. Gerald was not homosexual but had suggested in letters to Archibald MacLeish and to his own wife that there was a “weakness” in his sexuality: “I am not into savage sex.…” In other words, unlike Mussolini, he wouldn’t grab a woman, shove her up against a wall, and ravish her standing up. Although I’m not an expert, I don’t think his inability to screw a woman against a wall makes one a homo. Gerald had defined tragedy as a fear of life—and Papa pounced on that definition in one of his letters to Sara. But Sara didn’t bite—unlike the six-foot sailfish we caught just off Kyparissi that we hauled on deck and was mercifully killed by the crew instantly. We dined on it that evening.

My interpretation of Gerald’s letters and his fears were not those of Papa, but those of an artist. His impersonal precision of a watch, an engine room, or a liner’s smokestack shocked even the modernists of the time. Gerald, like Scott Fitzgerald, was evoking the past with a resonance of the new and mechanical. The cult of the machine was very American and it fit Gerald perfectly. His canvasses were large, almost billboard-like. Only four remain, which is a tragedy.

But back to the present. Someone onboard said that there was no unhappy love before people had sex. It sounded profound but was merely a thrown-up remark with no meaning. I said the real tragedy of Greece is that no one ever learns anything from the past. Journalism is as yellow as before, just as corrupt as before, and just as inaccurate. We wallow in lies like the Arabs do, but unlike them we call ourselves Europeans. We are nothing of the kind. The only thing we inherited from the ancient ones is envy. We have no Pericles, no Miltiades, no Themistocles, but plenty of Alcibiadeses. We lie and lie to cover up our lies, but then we write that we are like our ancestors, which is the greatest lie of all.

(P.S.: I enclose a pic of the fish I caught so you won’t think I’m a liar like the rest of my countrymen.)



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