Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Success in America

Success in America
Excerpt from:
Cette grenade dans la main du jeune negre est-elle une arme ou un fruit?, Dany Lafferriere

(Part 1) "L’Amérique n’a qu’une exigence: le succèss. À n’importe quel prix. Et de n’importe quelle manière. Le mot <> n’a de sens qu’en Amérique. Que veut-il dire ? Que les dieux vous aiment. Alors les humains se rapprochent de vous, vous reniflent (le capiteux parfum du succès), vous frôlent et, finalement, dansent autour de vous. Vous êtes un dieu. Un dieu parmi les maîtres du monde. Il vous sera impossible d’aller plus loin. C’est ici le sommet. Le toit du monde. Surtout : on vous regarde."
(Part 2) "Celui qui regarde en Amérique est toujours un inférieur, jusqu’à ce qu’un autre furtif, rapide (pas plus de quinze minutes, n’est-ce pas, Warhol !), car, il y a toujours quelque chose d’autre à sentir en Amérique. Le nouveau parfum, justement."

>>So, what in the hell does that mean (say's Michelle)? I have written my interpretations of the passages, but I have not translated them word for word. If I did that it would lose its effect. So here goes:

(1)America has only one demand, one motivation: success. No matter the price, no matter how it is obtained.
The word success, only has meaning in America...and yet what in the hell does it mean? Does it mean the gods love you? Does it mean you spend your days adoring yourself and dancing around in celebration of yourself? You are a god, you are a god among all the great masters of the world. To feel at the top of the world, that is your goal, that is all you can reach. At most, you want the world to watch you and admire you.

(2)This is my favorite piece of this paragraph. Here, he says, those who watch, are always inferieur. In other words, the goal is to be watched, to be glorified, and in the spotlight. If you are in the act of watching, you are not in the spotlight.
However, he also remarks on the culture of fads, what's in style, who's out of style, etc. The complete absurdity of it. To be watched, one must conform to this system, one must constantly be "in style" to be in the spotlight.

I am much more verbose than Dany, but these are the things I have taken from this passage. Dany's books are available in English---just look him up on Amazon.

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