Friday, February 5, 2010

Aimless Reading: The F's, Part 25.5 (Sigmund Freud)

Totem and Taboo
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Freud, Sigmund
Totem and Taboo

I probably bought this at Talking Leaves...Books, but I am not sure.

One of the perverse things about Buffalo is that summer, in certain neighborhoods, is a lot worse than winter. In such places, the neighbors and their children spend the summer outside. What begins in the morning as convivial entertainment, such as children playing in the streets and parents mowing the lawn, devolves by nightfall into drinking, screaming, fighting, brawling and so on.

So it was for the five years we lived in Black Rock, and so it was with the people who lived behind me on College St. In addition to the crack-addicted brother of the landlord and the drunken Patti Smith fan next door, there was the loud, drunken, obnoxious, economically disadvantaged, and intellectually challenged extended family behind us. Each year, as the sun came out, they would take the tarp off the above ground pool that occupied two thirds of the back yard, set the dog free into the yard, and basically make my life miserable.

In the afternoons the grandchildren would swing on the rusted, squeaky swing set for hours at a time. As evening approached the parents and grandmother would convene near the pool, drinking and chain-smoking and talking. The grandmother, who was about 50, but looked about 75, had bleach-blond hair and a voice the made gave the nickname "Froggy" a whole new meaning.

When the sun had set, she would be drunk and would start shouting, first at the dog, then at the children, then at the grandchildren. Even when she was just talking she shouted. Around midnight, she and the (adult) children would take a swim until about two in morning. After some more toweling off and yelling, they'd go in for the night, but not before they let the dog, who made almost as much noise as the family, out into the yard, where he would bark until dawn.

from Totem and Taboo

The Horror of Incest

PREHISTORIC man, in the various stages of his development, is known to us through the inanimate monuments and implements which he has left behind, through the information about his art, his religion and his attitude towards "life which has come to us either directly or by way of tradition handed down in legends, myths and fairy tales, and through the relics of his mode of thought which survive in our own manners and customs. But apart from this, in a certain sense he is still our contemporary. There are men still living who, as we believe, stand very near to primitive man, far nearer than we do, and whom we therefore regard as his direct heirs and representatives. Such is our view of those whom we describe as savages or half-savages fand their mental life must have a peculiar interest for us if we are right in seeing in it a well-preserved picture of an early stage of our own development.

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