Saturday, 29 April 2017

‘This national soil, virgin and prolific, fertilised daily by the heroic manure of our national cattle’

There is nothing more ridiculous than the nation – except, of course, when that nation is your own, in which case it is the repository of all that is virtuous and progressive. But when it comes to other nations, it is clear to us that their claims, myths, institutions and practises are absurd, embarrassing and pathetic. If they could see what we can see then they would be ashamed of themselves. Never mind. The absurdity of the nation is the theme of the hilarious excerpt above from the 1963 filmed version of Jean Genet’s play The Balcony, in which Peter Falk is the chief of police plotting from an S&M brothel to put down a rebellion that has broken out and restore ‘authority’. The play has been lauded for recapturing the spirit of Aristophanes and classical Athenian comedy.