Archive for June, 2013

Headless

June 20, 2013

News are flowing thick and fast, not just the irresistible water cannon of the big stories but also the incessant drip-drip of the not-so-big, so people could be forgiven for trying to insulate their brains against it as much as they can.

But how to ignore the mind-boggling absurdity of the case of the West Yorkshire “spiritual healer”, who was arrested, not because of what most sane people would think (i.e. that he was taking money from vulnerable people to perform healing rituals that had never been proven to work in a double-blind test) but because while performing said rituals, he occasionally groped his patients’ tits.

No, he wasn’t arrested for fraud and neither was Psychic Sally, quite the opposite. The very fact that the otherwise rightly maligned Daily Mail was forced by law to prove that Mrs. Morgan doesn’t talk to the spirit world makes you wonder why we bother with a legal system at all. ‘I can tell straight away that you are an emotional control freak: you do let yourself go emotionally, but you avoid that because when you do’, she tried to dazzle the hack of the Mail (according to the article that prompted the libel action) and one can only admire the way she had mastered Barnum statements.


Now, if we imagine that absurdity distorts the brain the same way gravity bends the fabric of space-time, forcing thoughts to follow a curved trajectory, the equivalent of a black hole is when absurd overflows into grotesque.

Like when a local council in Hungary decides to erect a statue to honour Cardinal Mindszenty (and it’s hard to think of a more deserving subject for a statue) but it isn’t completed on time for the official unveiling. A tricky situation undoubtedly but this kind of thing must happen fairly regularly, artists can’t be hurried after all. ‘We mustn’t let this spoil a good PR opportunity,’ the organisers must have thought, ‘not with a lot of politicians and other dignitaries lined up for the event.’

So they went ahead anyway. The great and the good (as well as the bad and the ugly) all assembled on time, speeches were spoken, claps were clapped and when the covers were finally and very-very carefully removed, they revealed…a cardinal with his head fastened temporarily and probably rather hastily.

And this is where it all gets weird.

The big ceremony over, as the audience was dispersing in a suitably solemn mood, the sculptor turned up, expertly removed the head and took it home for further work.

And to this day the statue is still headless.

At least they put the covers back on the stump, probably out of respect.

(Photo: Szabolcs Barakonyi / index.hu)

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