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Your words alone are my desolation...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Some people just reveled in their tragedy. Seriously, read these and tell me what you think:

First, we have poor Juliet. She writes: "Romeo - Where art thou? Write to your Queen, your darling Juliet, 325, or Juliet 369 Herald Uptown." I mentioned this a long time ago, way, way back in the early days of this blog, that people seemed to like borrowing the names of tragic lovers, and here's the most obvious and most cliched one there is: Romeo and Juliet. At least this woman did have the intelligence to know that "Wherefore art thou" had to be changed to "Where art thou," so kudos to Juliet for that one ("wherefore" was definitely not being used anymore). But really - you guys couldn't come up with anything better? And don't they know that Romeo and Juliet, you know, died? Oy.

Then there's Henri. He wrote, "Your words alone, not your acts, are my desolation. They have wrung my heart and split it with sorrow. Art satisfied? You can sting me no deeper." Look, it's not that I think the sentiment behind this can't be real; perhaps it is! I just think it's...well, funny. I guess I'm sort of mean, but I have this feeling that if he was really as heartbroken as he claims to be, he wouldn't be capable of such a dramatic and prettily-worded ad. Because he'd be heartbroken.

Reading over this entry I am clearly rocking the cynicism right now! Wow! Probably I'll come back to these tomorrow and have a totally new perspective. One of the biggest pitfalls as a historian (for me - I don't know if others experience the same problems) is that, of course, everything is open to interpretation. So how do you stay objective when you're studying something that is, by its very nature, always open to debate? Because if we say that there is only one truth, then history as a field dies. Obviously if I see my ads one way one day and another way the next, the study of history is hardly in peril. But it does make it hard (again, for me) to be sure of my own conclusions when I am so aware that my conclusions could easily be based on what I want rather than what is real. Little things like me being in a cynical mood on the day I happen to be taking notes on certain ads might have an effect on the way I view my sources and the story they tell. Who knows?

Pardon the soliloquy on the trials and tribulations of a jaded PhD student!

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©2009 Pam Epstein

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