Luncheon on Grass

I never liked this painting of Edouard Manet.

Because the women are naked or half naked while the men are fully clothed (with dark and quite heavy clothing, no less). And the foreground man seems to be pontificating. He’s wearing the hat of some students of the time.

As a woman, I felt it to be offensive. And I didn’t like, and still don’t, the display of patronizing way to, once more, assert a supposed superiority of male over female humans. So, pen being mightier than sword, here’s my countermeasure to this ongoing sexism.

It seems to me that the stark contrast shows how shocking it is, because it’s a seldom seen reverse of the “roles”. And it reveals how groomed we have been into thinking it’s ok to see a naked woman sitting between those two clothed men, with her female friend, half naked (or half dressed), knee deep in the pond behind them. Curious.(Original painting below).

This type of fantasist painting also reinforced in the collective consciousness the idea that it’s acceptable for women to be gallivanting in rivers in their undies or have luncheon naked.

Don’t get me wrong, I know it shocked people at the time, just as I was unimpressed when I first saw it. It brought fame to the painter as well as controversy, as Manet knew perfectly well how to use it ( look no further than his “Olympia”).

Art historians deemed this painting his most famous, because Manet brought nature into his painting to a perfect rendition. Ok, maybe. Probably here, fame (because of scandal) morphs into remarkable execution. Yet, I’m not convinced. I’d rather they were ALL naked…

And the fact that the woman breaks the “4th wall”, while unclothed could be read as an invitation for later… intimate games.

It also indicates a rule being broken by Manet.

It’s not a portrait, it’s a group painting. Looking at us, this young lady is showing she’s unashamed of her naked body (a good thing in my book), but in 1863, it could be read differently. And it sure sparked notoriety and controversy. The former because of the latter.

But still….

What kind of idea is that, if not another desire to portray women in a less than respectful way?

This is part of the so called “celebration of femininity” and beauty of the female body.

It’s just another lie to objectify women, evacuating their soul and personnality (and their consent maybe too?) of the equation and letting them know that they have nothing to say about it.

It’s also a trickster way to brainwash visitors into thinking that it’s the way things are and must be perpetuated.

This painting maybe a feat in terms of….. impressionist craft…. but it’s rubbish as to what message it aims at delivering and it’s time society stops celebrating art that devaluates this half of humankind.

Curiously, painting naked female body it ok. But painting or drawing naked male body and you’re bound to receive a warning, even be flagged as offensive and rated R. (hence the little club I had to put on the private parts of this gent for viewer sensitivity and to avoid to shock wordpress) .

As long as its not showing signs of … action… why should it be?

Why naked female body is ok and not male naked body? Why AGAIN a difference of treatment?

This society model is sickening.

But it’s changing, thank God(dess).

The Johnny Depp trial and why it matters

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Just my thoughts here, a bit more grave pondering than usual. Bc as Mr Chew said, it’s out showing that the truth is worth fighting for.

Truth hath prevailed. Copyright Florence Vitel


The verdict has been given, and Johnny Depp wins. And with this, it’s all the silenced victims of arrogant abusers that, in a way, win. The gain here is the awareness being brought to unseen abuse, that happens between two ordinary sentences, actions, smiles, even. Behind closed doors, when there’s no witness. The other beneficial thing is that maybe now abused men will be taken seriously and get the strength to speak up.
Behaviors like his abuser inflicted on him are seldom understood by those who have the luck not to have been exposed to it for years. Too often, the abusers are deemed “difficult” to cope with, by not intimate or close family members that do not experience it first hand.
They are not difficult, they’re cruel, they choose to behave that way, they never take responsibility for what they do and they complain about everything regarding their victims.

This trial matters because the abuse that occurs behind closed doors is doubly damaging because people unaware of such behaviours can simply not fathom what it’s like to b on eth receiving end.

This trial matters, because narcissism has been too long discarded as a particular “irritability” of the perpetrators, and such actions, the verbal abuse have gone unchallenged, unpunished, and uncalled, for too long. The Meetoo wave has brought awareness to unwritten rules rampant within the movie industry, the beneficial result being that narcissism was brought to daylight, The personality of 45th president, being the narc he is, with many of his outrageous remarks, has been analyzed by experts and psychologists, and as his gross disrespect and despise for disabled, veterans, women, scouts, religions, etc… has been named for what they are : traits of a narc PD. Thus bringing into the common language and to ordinary people tools and words to understand what they might have been exposed to for so long, but for which they had no way to comprehend aside from a one-fits-all category: difficult.

BPDs and narc personality disorder are better understood, as they are detailed, and documented like never before. Body language experts help us understand the subtleties and signs, psychologists put names on all the manipulation and conniving techniques and tools they use to ensnare their victims. By explaining and giving access to a vocabulary and linking them with patterns of behaviors, they give the abused a path to having their pain and suffering, the very fabric of their painful reality, a possibility first to be precisely mapped out, understood, and recognized. And a path to healing. A key to self-restoration and closure. It gives them space and provides strategies to protect themselves, t finally being able to respond without being invalidated by the abuser. It allows victims to shake off the guilt because society demands we act a certain way. If the abuser is an aging parent, the abused child must nonetheless “honor” and sometimes provide for the said abuser. Well, it begs to consider if an abuser, because he/she is aging, must therefore be forgiven and get away with the cruelty and abuse he/she chose to inflict because it’s easier for a society to close its eyes a little longer to things that prove all is not rosy in modern western civilization.

This trial also draws attention to the fact that men can also and are abused. And shall not be mocked. Johnny Depp had et courage to set his life under the microscope, to get to the truth and have it recognized for what it is. He’s given a voice to silenced abused men, and he’s helped silenced victims of quiet and devastating abuse share their pain and have it recognized and validated. In a good way.


On a personal level, this trial has brought me so much closure, bc my mother is the same type of abuser.
This verdict, the awareness it allows, feels like a breath of fresh air.

Thank you, Mister Depp.

More guns with my breakfast, Hollywood, pls.

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Hollywood of the hills

Hollywood maybe be the cray-cray pool of inspiration where imaginative writers craft unique stories. It’s also where dreams are not just built, but watered and nurtured to become the illusion of reality that we are fed to think that’s what our lives should look like. Through the prism of series and movies, reality shows and talk shows, and televised quiz shows, all carefully designed, scripted, and filmed (yeah, even reality shows where cheating spouses were “exposed”), we are given a standard to compare ourselves, our lives and achievements too, and feel a certain way about it. Usually, bad or depressed…. thank you very much, hollyfriggin’wood, now’s time for my anti-depressant…… So that we can consume more “happy content” (solid, visual, liquid, powder, smoke…) and forget about our own life, goals, and dreams.

Hollywood also fiercely fences itself within its own glam distortions of basic decency and respect for ethics. Arrogantly, Hollywood showed its true nature from the early days on with gigantic wood letters perched on the mountains surrounding this well of unfathomable wealth (but not everybody can drink from it). The very location of the Hollywood sign screams: “I’m above you, you’ll never reach the top unless I decide so, on my terms.”

Interestingly those terms have been exposed in recent years, but with various reception. And the script, the visual storytelling, the cast, and the score permeate society invisibly, changing rules, making rules, making us accept things or deem them “the standard” (I don’t like the word “Normal” which annihilates the possibility of something different to be welcomed as an ok and a viable alternative), when they are not. Another form of coercion or violence that one has to accept in order to get a job or become toast. (Ask Brendan Fraser)

Hollywood of the limelights

Hollywood is also where the lights of the city blind anyone with bling and fake happiness, displayed on glossy photoshopped snapshots in magazines.

Hollywood of the quiet brainwashing of minds

In the name of “creativity”, many things have been filmed and fed to the masses, that serve no purpose other than instilling fear or rage. Or plant ideas that glamorize violence. It’s done on a massive scale, it’s done in technicolor and large screen, with HD sound, the best cast and crew, and more FX than we can think of… It’s more or less subtle… It’s called …brainwashing.

I recall here the chef Olivier Rollinger, who was one evening beaten to death by teens after they had watched Clockwork Orange, just because they had watched it and wanted to unleash their violence onto someone. He was left for dead, badly injured, bruised with a broken nose. Because Hollywood gives itself full license and freedom to do anything and everything (porn is also made there), because morals are deemed to be outdated or a sign of bigotry, movies explore human behaviors and the human psyche with a fresh approach.

Yet, do we need to see horrendous things happening on a large screen, thus engorging our brains with unfiltered horror?

Hollywood of the unapologetic spreading of violence

Violence begets violence, exposure to violence, and the ensuing degradation of our senses as to what is acceptable and what’s not erodes our sense of compassion and respect for others. We are left with a bruised sense of self-respect and respect for this fragile yet wonderful thing: life.

Who can think it’s beneficial for any of us?

Numerous medical studies have shown it’s not innocuous.

When the only resort for angry young men is reaching for a gun and killing kids in schools, what does it say about society?

When words cannot express their inner feelings, because they are not shown that’s what to do, and because a gun does it “better” for them, because it’s been seen countless times on screens, isn’t time for a deeper reflection?

When will Hollywood clean its act for good and take full responsibility?

It won’t, because violence, and guns, sell. And it sells because we have been groomed into thinking it’s a better movie with the supposed thrill of a gun being drawn, at some point. Or the potential of it happening. Even some “family movies” such as “Home Alone” feature guns. (Am I the only one to be shocked by that?). And we’ve been shown, that it’s a “normal thing” (= as in “it’s the norm”). Well, it’s not and shouldn’t have become an accepted standard.

The glamorization of gangsters in the 30’s, alongside the renewed lease on supposedly”loveable” bad boys who suck at getting a proper meaningful life, but who are swift to produce a GUN, is still going strong in Hollywood (think no further than moronic Han Solo and his pathetic line to Leia “You love bad boys” and how he grossly ignores her rebuttal of his unsolicited advances, what a jerk, really). Notwithstanding the killing of women or girls, in countless legal or detective dramas/series. (it’s still nauseating really, to see the proportion of females, in comparison to males, being killed in order to “create entertainment”, haven’t those misogynistic or revengeful (for whatever reason) writers not heard of #metoo? or basic respect for the other half of the population?)

Since 1950, gun violence in movies produced in Hollywood has doubled in proportion. Mass shootings have been increasing accordingly too.

From Hollywood to Anytown, Usa

Deaths by firearms (mass-shooting, individual shooting, suicide) are not showing any decrease. Coward politicians refuse to tackle the debate, and thus, there’s been no debate about 2nd amendment since the shooting at Sandy Hook, basically.

/www.politifact.com states that : “there have been 1,516,863 gun-related deaths since 1968, compared to 1,396,733 cumulative war deaths since the American Revolution. That’s 120,130 more gun deaths than war deaths — about 9 percent more, or nearly four typical years worth of gun deaths.” 

According to those one-cell-brain-shared-among-themselves politicians, prayers, apparently, are the best protection against bullets from the semi-automatic AR-15 and their magazines of +40 ammo of 39mm. It’s also, incidentally, the rifle endorsed by the NRA as “America’s rifle”. NRA too will send their prayers, if you lose a child or a loved-one to one of their fave rifles (that’s also the fave rifle of shooters).

No overexposure to violence and no access to guns equals less harm by arms. QED.

No (or less than 2) school shootings in Europe countries in the past 30 years. USA gun homicide rate is 25 times higher than other high-income countries.

Why? because 1stly, no easy access to firearms, and 2ndly, a lesser proportion of movies featuring arms are distributed in theatres, 3rdly, no right to kill, (according to a marvelous – but obsolete in some areas- document, yet in need of an update, clearly).

So. Every parent now asks themselves, WHEN will the next shooting happen (fatalism), when they should be worried IF a shooting MIGHT happen (frightening but rarely occurring possibility).

Big difference.

Let me be clear, no amount of prayers and turning to God (what shitty bigotry is that?) can stop firearms from being fired at innocent kids.

And it should be, of course, that no one fears going to school or in any public place… but I live in America, and I have kids, so I don’t have this luxury of peace of mind.

Just as a matter of irony, the NRA is holding its annual conference this weekend here in Houston, with tcruz and illiterate orange 45 in attendance, as if nothing has happened. Musicians supposed to sing this weekend have canceled their gig. It took this one more shooting for them to cancel, they were ok with all the previous ones, apparently…

If prayers are needed, it is for those criminals to be tried and jailed or see the light eventually and advocate against arms in households.

(according to http://www.massshootingtracker.site, there’s been 4635 mass shootings since 1/1/2013).

Johnny Depp ink drawing

Finished my ink drawing.

Johnny Depp is not only an great actor and musician but also a fab painter.
He has decided to sell his NFT (Never Fear Truth, brilliant tongue in cheek play on NFTs) collection, & parts of the proceedings will go to Children Hospital Charities.
And regarding what’s happening in Fairfax, it seemed appropriate to recycle this advice, Never Fear the Truth and incorporate it in this ink piece.
So this drawing is a lil’ homage to this good soul.

#justiceforjohnny

#justiceforjohnnydepp

Johnny Depp. Ink drawing copyright Florence Vitel

Ink drawing copyright Florence Vitel

Johnny Depp. Ink drawing copyright Florence Vitel

A very Proustian year

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,

November, 18th 1922. It’s a cold gray morning in Paris, temperatures plummeted, and the following week would be colder.

This was the day when Marcel Proust, unforgettable author A la Recherche du temps Perdu, or In Remembrance of Things Past (nowadays retitled In Search of Lost Time, less poetic, if more accurate), would die.

He’d been finishing correcting and editing his last Opus, the last tome of the Recherche, with his devoted Celeste, his governess, until 3.30 am.

Too soon gone, a genius writer, forever connected with a delightful cake, the madeleine. And forever linked to Normandy too, Cabourg, more precisely, which was the model for the fictional town of Balbec.

Map of Proust’s Normandy by Proust Ink

Good bye Mr Proust.

Spell – Evening routine (bis)

The attraction to all things new, flashy, shiny is deeply embedded in the human psyche, that’s why new toys are difficult to resist.

That’s also why attraction to said new toys doesn’t last long and needs constant renewal.

Smartphone, tech and highly addictive apps related to “social media ” are designed to trigger in the psyche the same reaction as new shiny toys and induce the pursuit of the gratification they procure.

Damages caused by these tech and apps are being studied and documented, yet their propagation and access to younger minds is not thwarted. It’s difficult enough as a teen or a grown up to resist the temptation of round the clock entertainment…. so for youngers, imagine….

Hence the question, are we doomed?

I leave it to your appreciation…

Spell – Evening routine. F.Vitel 2022