January 27th, 2012 / 4:22 pm

L’invalide du post

In Manhattan (1979), for about one minute, the characters played by Woody Allen and Diane Keaton sit in front of the Queensboro bridge at dawn after an all night date — both strenuous and romantic it seems, as I’ve never been, though I can imagine the slow light creeping onto someone’s lovely face as bakers and newspaper boys wake up, and cats return to porches with heads. Keaton concludes the scene by saying she has lunch with a friend. In a lesser first attempt, in front of the Brooklyn bridge in Annie Hall (1977), Woody tells Diane in response to if he loves her, “Love is too weak a word. I lurv you, I loave you, I luff you,” the middle sentiment which I always hear as “loathe” because I’m a Nietzsche kind of bro; I appreciate more “The most beautiful words in the English language are not I love you, but It’s benign,” which he says in Deconstructing Harry regarding a tumor. Much of Manhattan is drawn in silhouette, black shapes eclipsing grey backdrops as moons before a muted sun. Artists are always going to a city for the low and high rent and culture, respectively, until that get’s flipped, and they move. Never say “gentrification” at a dinner party, it’s dumb. Paris may in the past, but their bakers’ butter still wafts in the air. In Les Misérables (1862)Jean once passes an “l’invalide du pont” (the invalid of the bridge, here Pont d’Austerlitz), a disabled war veteran given a job collecting toll. Georges Seurat’s, L’invalide (Conté crayon on paper, c. 1881) does not have such a task, but merely gazes across the waters. Most known for his laborious pointillist paintings, I’ve always preferred his studies for them, the brief encounter with form from a meandering hand, as if only loosely attached to the eye. It’s so sad how both the artist and his subject’s aloneless are contingencies for their very collision. I will take anyone who jumps off a bridge seriously. I bet Diane has a salad with a French word in it. I bet Woody had some pills, imagining them as almonds for her salad. If only time could yellow a .jpeg the way it does a drawing. This post should be $2.50, but I’ll let you pass.


  1. Brian M

      reading this made me feel lonely, but in a good way. the mixed up/down of emotion, similar to transcendence

  2. Anonymous

      You do know that Yale is a character in Manhattan, right? Played by Michael Murphy? If you do already know that and you were just making a joke of it, writing in character, that character being, I don’t know, a philistine holding forth on art, then okay, forget I said anything, carry on. If you didn’t know that . . . dude.

  3. D.

      I like Jimmy Chen’s work, but please: seems NOT seams

  4. Jimmy Chen

      wow, i’m rlly embarrassed. while i saw the movie, i only watched the youtube clip while writing the post, and thought she meant yale university (which, to be fair, is consistent with the character); i will edit my post now to remove the yale part(s); i do think it’s unfair that u call me a ‘philistine holding forth on art’ because i try to write about art in earnest and hopefully interesting ways, and i don’t know where your anger  is coming from. But your comment was very eloquent, and i feel worse now.

  5. Helen

      How is the view up there, how is the water, or the surface of it running by? How does it feel to be between two points, between the image and the motion of image?

  6. Jimmy Chen

      corrected, srry

  7. leapsloth14

      Any future Woody Allen posts of any kind would be welcome.

  8. Anonymous

      would love to see these essays collected somewhere. thanks for the post.

  9. Mahmoud

      One thing about this site is you sometimes can’t tell whether people are being bizarre on purpose or inadvertently.