The Human Comedy


I finished reading a few stories from Balzac’s Human Comedy anthology, and I can understand the hype, and why he’s considered a phenomenol writer. His descriptions might as well be movies, granted that you really dedicate yourself to the reading. In other words, his stories were written in a time without internet, television, or cinema; people could spend hours curled up in a corner and just read without any non-living interruptions. Even if we’re not interrupted, we are always tempted to check our phones. How long can you read without checking your phone? An hour; 2 hours; 3?
The editor mentioned this fact in the preface and I was mindful of it as I read, and I’m glad I did, because you really do need to just completely shut off the material world, with its trillions of distractions, to get the most out of the stories. I wasn’t always so disciplined, but I got a good mileage.

Balzac is a conversationalist; the action and stories occur within dialogues and interactions that people have. The reactions to these dialogues, which can themselves be lengthy, further allows the readers to occupy the world that Balzac has verbosely created. He provides the readers a very detailed glimpse into the French society at the turn of 19th century. Balzac’s penetrating character-studies bring life and emotion to his stories. The readers are able to see/understand where the character is coming from– we are given explanations and histories of dreams, desires, and thoughts that help to make the characters archetypal. These archetypes, matched with the context-specific issues of 19th century France not only allows the modern reader to learn about everyday life from that period (as if watching a movie), but it allows the modern readers to empathize and follow along, even though the situations, social-roles, manners of speaking/interacting are so arcane to us.

Balzac does focus on high-society and (upper-)middle class, so the conflicts are not as grimey or harsh, but Balzac does nonetheless paint a vivid picture of the echelon of society he deals with. Even more than painting a picture, he exhibits the characters’ psychology, their insecurities, their internal logic and rationales at play. Because all of the works I’ve read are short stories, it’s not possible to see the characters develop in a complex manner, like with Dostoyevsky, but I would say Balzac is a short-story equivalent.

The stand-out ories that come to mind are The Dessert and Life; The Duchess Languid; Gentleman Across the Hall, Blind Man from Venice and I, the Observer; The Credior Capitalist and Character with Character… to be continued (maybe).

Chewing Gum, Michaela Coel

Wow man. 

This comedy series , written and starred by Michaela Coel is a piece of honest and true gem. 

The casting brilliant, and all the characters and actors are superb. I don’t know but the British have seriously got a lock on non-white, fictional TV productions. Issa Rae’s Insecure, on the State’s side, is comparable, and it is brilliant and a gem in its own right, but the sort of socio-economic reality that Coel brings, with her own comedic twist, is just.. a mix I haven’t seen before. Atlanta touches upon the that socio-economic reality with the comedic twist, but the humor is different, and perhaps reflective of the American experience. I did enjoy, and love both, Atlanta and Chewing Gum equally : ) and I also want to reiterate and Coel is an amazingg actress. 

Chewing Gum’s type of comedy reminds me of Peep Show, so maybe it’s safe to say I like British comedy. Because some really serious shit happens, and it does require a loose take on reality, but what I find most charming is the integrity and openness of all the characters. They are who they are and they are decisive, I think that might be a British peculiarity 🤔 which I highly admire and even aspire to.. I think. 

It’s 4AM and so.. all things considered. 

New York City, with a high 60s and 70s

And low of 20s and low 30s, in a matter of few days.

That is a drastic range, and it’s occurring more frequently. That range is the difference between summer, spring, and winter. They are different climates that are alternating at a higher frequency and quicker pace; we as humans haven’t adapted to these changes in nature and climate, to the say the least of its chemical make up, which is affecting ‘wilder’ animals more inimately due to their lack of solid habitats, i.e our climate controlled and insular homes.

Plants, vegetation, flora, and fauna that respond to these changes quite directly, with their blooms and seasonal outputs, will adept; and we have to learn, listen, and (re)act accordingly. 👩🏽‍🌾