Monday, July 11, 2005

Les Fleurs du Mal

It is strange that I drifted in an odd indirect way to Baudelaire while brooding on 7/7, because he also helps us to understand in Les Fleurs du Mal why it is almost always the bored, disaffected, priviliged youth who commit such acts. If and when the perpetrators of these crimes are brought to justice they will almost certainly be affluent and educated, with more in common with Leopold and Loeb (a deliberately insulting comparsion) than the oppressed brethren they have adopted.

The truth of it lies in this fever not in religion. From Au Lecteur (to the reader):


Si le viol, le poison, le poignard, l'incendie,
N'ont pas encore brod? de leurs plaisants dessins
Le canevas banal de nos piteux destins,
C'est que notre ame, helas! n'est pas assez hardie.

If rape and poison, dagger and burning,
Have still not embroidered their pleasant designs
On the banal canvas of our pitiable destinies,
It's because our souls, alas, are not bold enough!


C'est l'Ennui!-l'oeil charge d'un pleur involontaire,
Il reve d'echafauds en fumant son houka.
Tu le connais, lecteur, ce monstre delicat,
-Hypocrite lecteur, -mon semblable,-mon frere!

It's Boredom!- his eye brimming with spontaneous tear
He dreams of the gallows in the haze of his hookah.
You know him, reader, this delicate monster,
Hypocritical reader, my likeness, my brother!"

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