By My Sword of Finance!!


When I was in high school, my best friend, Rachel R., discovered Alfred Jarry. For some time after that, bicycles were “that which rolls” and occasionally there would be cries of “merdre!”

self-portrait, 2017

The main character in Ubu Roy is Ubu, a crude, ignorant, greedy, silly, incompetent windbag.
PAPA UBU: Bring the first Noble, and pass me my Noble hook. Those that are condemned to death I’ll put through the trapdoor and they’ll fall into the basement of Pinchpork and then into the room below where their brains will be removed by the debraining machine. (To the 1st Noble .) Who are you, you buffoon?
FIRST NOBLE: Count of Vitepsk.
PAPA UBU: What’s your income?
FIRST NOBLE: Three million rixdales.
PAPA UBU: Condemned! (He grabs the Noble with the hook and puts him down the hole.)
MAMA UBU: What base ferocity!
PAPA UBU: Second Noble, who are you? (The Noble says nothing.) You going to answer, dirt bag?
SECOND NOBLE: Grand Duke of Posen.
PAPA UBU: Excellent! Excellent! That’s all I want to know. Into the hole! Third Noble, who are you? You have a dirty head.
Ubu is, naturally, a familiar character to us all nowadays. I am quite sure that if Jarry were writing it today, Ubu would speak only in “tweets” or something.
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“Merdre” is great – the French word for “shit” is “merde” and there is no proper conjugation that yields “merdre” but it sounds sort of imperative. I’ve never heard a good English translation for it, though I believe “covefe” is close.

This shot was done with an overhead strip light and a big octodome to camera right as main lights, and a gridded spotlight on the backdrop. Photoshop was used to clean up dust, and a few things like that; mostly this shot was done in-camera.  I had my laptop controlling my camera so it fired every 5 seconds, then sat in the scene, mentally mapped the angles so I wouldn’t block anything or shade myself with my shadow, and yelled “MERDRE!” and “by my sword of finance!” a while, waving and hammering the squeak hammer. Then I had to take the mask off, find my glasses, go back and check the images on the laptop, go “oops, scrotum escape!” and adjust my USA diaper, then do it again.

I’ve been doing photography with varying degrees of seriousness for almost 30 years. Most of my stuff in the past has been stock or glamour, with some dance when I’m fortunate enough to have a model. So I’m used to photographing people who’d be considered conventionally beautiful – it’s a real challenge for me to put myself in the scene: all I see is an ageing guy who really doesn’t look anything like the fellow that’s behind my eyes (who is still 11 years old, approximately) So, perhaps you may think of my self-portraits as a form of karmic apology for over-emphasizing beauty for so many years. That’s a much more complicated topic I will write about someday, maybe.

Squeak hammers are kind of cool.

Edit: Script for Ubu Roy is [here.]

Comments

  1. says

    First of all, thank you for not posting the scrotum escape pictures. I check this blog from work before I start for the day and that would have been bad.

    Second of all, you pretty much perfectly captured the essence of the angry cheeto.

  2. says

    Hee. I love that photo, you know I do. Pinchpork. :rolls Pinchpork around my (27 year old) brain: Pinchpork, that’s a grand nickname for the Tiny Tyrant.

  3. johnson catman says

    Too bad you couldn’t shrink the size of your hands to match the real thing.
    .
    .
    .
    A very worthy effort though! It accurately portrays the mentality of 45.

  4. says

    James Matta@#1:
    irst of all, thank you for not posting the scrotum escape pictures. I check this blog from work before I start for the day and that would have been bad.

    Yeah, fear not. Nuclear weapons secrets are one thing, but scrot is entirely another. PS- American flag makes a lousy diaper, I don’t know how Donald manages it.

  5. says

    chigau@#4:
    Does the phone still work?

    Yep! My kitchen has a still-working rotary dial wall phone. It’s fun to watch young people go “what are all those clicks?” I’m sure eventually it’ll stop working mysteriously because Verizon.

  6. says

    Caine@#2:
    Pinchpork, that’s a grand nickname for the Tiny Tyrant.

    Jarry was some kind of genius. You can see, he anticipated the invention of the debraining machine by almost 100 years. (I assume that’s what Congress is using nowadays)

  7. says

    So, perhaps you may think of my self-portraits as a form of karmic apology for over-emphasizing beauty for so many years.

    I don’t think there’s anything bad about emphasizing beauty in art. Artists enjoy making images of beautiful subjects (at least I sure do). Viewers like it when artworks look beautiful. Models too want to look beautiful in their photos (and even models who would be considered conventionally beautiful tend to use make-up and prefer to have their pictures retouched).

    That’s just how it is. People like it when art looks beautiful.

  8. says

    You can see, he anticipated the invention of the debraining machine by almost 100 years. (I assume that’s what Congress is using nowadays)

    No, they’re just grown that way.

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