Monday, August 6, 2007

Canadian Content

Here in Canada, where I live, today is a provincial holiday -- "Civic Holiday," to be precise. Happy Civic Holiday everyone! I like the way the Wikipedia entry puts it:

"Civic Holiday is the name given to a civic holiday in Ontario."

To celebrate, I went out and bought a second book by the awesome Quebecois graphic artist Julie Doucet: her 1993 Lève Ta Jambe, Mon Poisson Est Mort! (Lift Your Leg, My Fish Is Dead!).

Self-Portrait, by Julie Doucet (from Read Yourself Raw). (Copyright Julie Doucet; used with permission).

I already owned her 2006 book, My Most Secret Desire. As this title suggests, one of Doucet's subjects is the subconscious, and in particular, her own obsessions: boys, girls, pregnancy, periods, penises, her own imagined sex-change operation.

In Lève Ta Jambe, one series of drawings depicts a woman's relationship with what she calls her "conscience" -- which I am assuming is meant more in the French sense of "consciousness" than our conscience. Especially since her "conscience" does everything the woman is ashamed of: chases guys, drinks too much, exposes her breasts -- basically, she's an incredible embarrassment.

The woman is driven nuts by her, keeps yelling at her to fucking cool it for once, and calm down. The consciousness just taunts her, yelling "jealous! jealous! ha ha!" as she jumps on people's cars and propositions men.

In an earlier post, I reflected on the strange loneliness of being unable to connect with one's inner self, of having such imperfect communication and understanding with what I said seemed more like a pet than a part of one's self.

For me, then, the ending of Doucet's strip was very moving. The woman storms off, sits at her desk fuming. Her consciousness comes in. "Oh, it's you," the woman says with irritation. Her consciousness surprises her with a kiss; the woman opens her eyes and mouth in pleasure; the consciousness sits down on her lap as they embrace.

1 comment:

Captain Colossal said...

That's pretty awesome, actually.