23 September 2010

Louis Aragon

I'm reading Louis Aragon's Paris peasant. The first half of it is an extended description, with interludes, of the Passage de l'Opera, an arcade that contains the dadaist hangout the Cafe Certa:
To be sure, the word dada is understood rather differently at the Certa than elsewhere, and with a great deal more simplicity, too. Here, the word connotes neither anarchy nor anti-art nor any of the other things that so frightened the journalists* that they preferred to designate this movement by the name of Hobbyhorse. To be dada is no dishonour, it simply means a group of regular customers, a few young people, a bit boisterous at times, but likeable. One says : a dada, as one might say ; the fair-haired gentleman. One mark of identification is as good as another. Indeed, dada has become such an accepted term that there is even a dada cocktail here.

On the next page is reproduced:

Apparently, this list was 'surmounted by a placard advertising some drink whose name escapes me, a placard hand-painted by one of their former waiters in the style of Francis Picabia's mechanical pictures, but which vanished some time ago'.

Aragon, the cunt, neglects to record for posterity the recipe for the dada cocktail.

The asterisk on the word 'journalists' in the quote above leads to this footnote:
*I shall have passed through this world with a few people all graced with a quality of absolute purity, that same purity you may have had the fortune to glimpse in the sky one summer evening (Andre Breton, for example) scorned, insulted, spat upon. But if one day my words become sacred – they are already – then let my laughter echo back from far away. My words will never serve your miserable ends, you who thought to sneer at us, filthy creatures. And when I say journalist I always mean scum. To hell with you at L'Intran, Comoedia, L'Oeuvre, Les Nouvelles Litteraires, etc, morons, creeps, bastards, swine. All of you, without exception : glabrous bugs, bearded lice, burrowing your way into reviews, into dubious publications of all sorts, you'll get what's coming to you in the end. It all stinks. Ink. Squashed cockroach. Shit. Death to all you who live off the lives of others, off their loves, their boredoms. Death to those whose hand is pierced by a pen, death to those who paraphrase what I say.

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