Kerry and I were supposed to be taking care of some business in midtown — it got cancelled at the last minute. We were just walking, not really going anywhere, when we wound up in front of the MoMa. We knew we were headed there at 7:30, but it was only 5. What the hell, I said, let’s see what’s playing now? Turns out it was Duck Soup! We sit down. And unbeknownst to us, it isn’t just Duck Soup, but Duck Soup with an opening, um, lecture by Slavoj Zizek!
I won’t lie to you — I’d only kinda-sorta heard of this guy. I knew who he was, knew he was a little eccentric, but I’d never seen him before. Let me put it to you this way: no outrageous Saturday Night Live-esque parody will ever do him justice. You can’t out parody someone beyond parody. At the lecturn, he spoke like an ever erupting volcano — his arms flailing, face red, constantly sniffing and rubbing his nose (what’s that about?) all in a remarkable Slovenian accent. What was he talking about? Um. . .er. . .I was with him for a while, but eventually he left me trailing in the dust. (Kerry’s favorite line, “I am sure you are familiar with what Russian philosopher Blahblahblah Blahblah had to say about THAT subject!”) All I know is that remarks like “Kristallnacht is the ULTIMATE act of Carnivale!” got something of a gasp, as did its rejoinder, “much like Ku Klux Klan and the raping of the black girls and hangings of the black man in the American south is example of Carnivale!” as if we didn’t get the point. After thrity minutes, I admit, I kinda tuned out, but I did wake up as he said, “There is a car waiting for me outside, but before I go it is important you understand that the chant of the Marines — “I don’t know what I’ve been told/Eskimo pussy (pronounced Pooh-See) is mighty cold” is NOT a subversive act. It is the opposite of such. Thank you!”
The man is clearly a genius.
Anyway, Duck Soup. If you haven’t seen Duck Soup you are missing one of the greatest comedies of all time. I particularly like Groucho’s costume changes at the end.