I was planning to review In the Freud Archives by Janet Malcolm today but it will have to wait. Not quite in the mood after a typically rushed Monday and with general moodiness about. Some bullet points instead:
• South Africans will be voting in our fourth post-1990 general election on Wednesday. I am hoping that the ANC doesn’t get a two-thirds majority and that their support drops to below 60% for the first time since 1994. It’s rather depressing knowing that 60% of the electorate have a totally different political outlook to me, but encouraging perhaps that 40% are unhappy with the idea of Jacob Zuma as president. (I could add that I voted ANC in 1994 but that since then I’ve been rather disappointed with the lack of progress on a number of issues including crime, corruption, healthcare, Zimbabwe and others. I’m voting for the opposition.)
• On the reading front it felt almost surreal to begin reading The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot in election week. With so much buzz around Jacob Zuma and the ANC vs the rest, it was also refreshing though to step into George Eliot’s 19th century England where attention to detail is everything. I was not really expecting to get pulled into the story so quickly but I’m admiring Eliot’s subtle humour, her keenly-observed dialogue, her long descriptions and her gently meandering plot. I also like the way that she deftly blends the individual and the social with subtle reflections on the position of women. I’m interested to see how the story of Maggie and Tom develops but I’m already frustrated that the bright Maggie apparently won’t be getting the advantages of her older (and duller) brother.
• I really enjoyed In the Freud Archives by Janet Malcolm this weekend. Malcolm writes so well and so thoroughly that even if I wasn’t interested in the history of psychology I would have been fascinated with the inner goings-on of the Freud inner circle. I’ll hopefully review this later this week but in the meantime here’s a quote:
“To be an analyst and to be certain – they don’t go together. You have to have doubts. You have to be capable of certainty, too, but it has to be hedged with doubt.” — Leonard Shengold
• My dear and slightly demented dog had me losing my temper this weekend with her obsessive licking. Unfortunately we share a room and she got it into her brain to lick her paw obsessively (with insistent schlurpy sounds) at 3am on Sunday morning for about three hours. I know I shouldn’t have smacked her nose and shouted at her to “Just Stop It!” before grabbing her collar and marching her downstairs but in mitigation I was tired and I’m really not at my best at 3am on a Sunday morning. P was not impressed and I also felt bad for not having more patience.
• The irony of the situation was that I was feeling pretty good before that. I’d been to the gym and I’d found good books to read and P and I were having a relaxing weekend. Perhaps Joschka felt left out or just anxious or something. Maybe she’s worried about the approach of Winter and her arthritis was playing up. I don’t know, but the schlurping felt like Chinese water torture. I clearly have a low schlurp-threshhold. (How does one work on that?)