Tuesday, August 24, 2021

The War of the Roses

Some couples fight all day and only come to rest as nocturnal creatures. Their conversations are Greek tragedies in which the disquisition proceeds by way of choral juxtaposition. Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) which starred Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, who in real life were a warring couple, is a play devoted to the subject of relational conflict. Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas played another such couple in The War of the Roses (1989).  Why do people fight so much? Does it go back to the sandbox and sibling rivalry? Is it because opposites must pay the price for their attraction? Is it a way of not taking each other for granted, or even bonding? If you’ve got an axe to grind or a bone to pick, you’re not likely to wander too far from your Appomattox. Switch and bait is a wonderful way to keep a loved one on a string and if you’re too lax, you might be giving them just enough rope to strangle the relationship with. There's something comforting about conflict and countervailingly lugubrious about complacency and even calm. Serenity is a dangerous commodity. While the cat’s away the mice will play. Is this why nations often face off against each other or find a certain identity in being polar opposites? Rivalry and competition are methods of self-definition. They may speak French in Montreal, but the Quebequoise is insulted if you mistake them for a Parisian. Arthur Schnitzler’s Traumnovelle which was the basis for Eyes Wide Shut sees life as serieis of transformations in which varying partners go round and round before they find their way.

Read "Radical Acceptance" by Francis Levy, TheScreamingPope

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