[ilds] baboonism

Michael Haag michaelhaag at btinternet.com
Sat Jul 7 20:32:42 PDT 2007


Baboons have bare arses and raise their hands to the sun in worship.  
In this they encompass the sublime and the ridiculous, though we do not 
yet know which end is which.

However, I would like to introduce another subject: Suburbaboonism.  Or 
rather reintroduce it, as I have mentioned this before, though less 
mysteriously as suburbanism, and how Durrell starts off Bitter Lemons 
with various remarks, not unsympathetic, about the suburbanising 
tendencies of the British abroad, as in Cyprus, Malta, Gibraltar -- to 
which I would add Durrell's own India, not to mention his experience of 
growing up in South London.  I wonder whether Durrell is not a great 
suburban writer, the Betjeman of the Med, the man who got to these 
sunny places just before the rest of us, and whose achievement has been 
to put these places into the suburbs of our imaginations.  Corfu, for 
example.  Why go to Corfu?  Because it was so suburban, and with flying 
boats coming in from England on the mail run.  Why go to Cyprus?  
Suburban too, though Durrell adds the quite proper excuse of it being 
within the sterling area.  But even so, and allowing for the fact that 
northern Cyprus is the most beautiful part of the country, Kyrenia was 
definitely the most suburban spot he could have chosen.  He even wanted 
to open a bookshop to sell to his fellow suburbanites.  Durrell never 
actually goes out into the wild and woolly.  In Greece, before he was 
kicked out by the Germans, he avoided the hard bare islands of the 
Cyclades (he was dragged there), and he hated the magnificent Mani 
peninsula just down the coast from twee Kalamata.  Domestication is 
primary.  Cyprus was a delicate balancing act between suburbanising 
English people and suburbanising Cypriots.  Bitter Lemons is the story 
of their suburban tragedy.

:Michael


On Sunday, July 8, 2007, at 03:55  am, slighcl wrote:

> I do not recall at all the specific origin of our subject header 
> "baboonism."  What was that? 
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