Monday, November 28, 2011

I have made a vow to saint Nicolas this day that my nose shall not be touched*

You see how hard it is to get anything done at the Riddled Comparative Folklore Working Group. Here we have convened in the cloister bar at the Old Entomologist to discuss "The Cautionary Nose-Job: Where should it go in the Aarne-Thompson Classification?" Is everyone listening intently? No, already tigris is having a wee lie down in the courtyard after two pints of Special Spiced Parsnip Scrumpy (99 44/100% badger-free). The dogs are there for the next item on the agenda, "Eyeball-size metaphors in The Tinderbox".

Also someone whose initials may or may not have been AK seems to have replaced the 15-minute hourglass with a 10-minute one, forcing me to cut short my carefully-prepared and scrupulously-thorough presentation and leaving no time for questions afterwards. And whose idea was the joke geyser ink-well on the table?

Like any folktale with cross-cultural resonance, "The Cautionary Nose-Job" is told in different ways, but in the usual version the protagonists are Sigmund Freud and his one-time mentor Wilhelm Fleiss. Any fule kno that Freud-&-Fleiss stories comprise an entire genre of ribald Teutonic humour though they lose a lot on translation into English.

To enshorterise the story: Freud diagnosed his patient Emma Eckstein's malaise as a neurosis. Led astray by a perfectly reasonable misunderstanding of the lyrics of "Windmills of Your Mind", Fliess managed to persuade him that the easiest way to cure her would be to operate on her nose and remove her left middle turbinate bone. After all he had previously obtained short-lived lifts in his patients' moods by numbing the interiors of their noses with a recently-discovered anaesthetic called "cocaine". Also too any neurosis is invariably sexual in nature, and Fliess' conviction that the nose is a sex organ is a recurring theme in the F-&-F genre.

The sexual aspect is less overt in a second version of the story:
But Eckstein's surgery
was a disaster. She suffered from terrible infections for some time, and profuse bleeding. Freud called in a specialist, his old school friend, Dr Ignaz Rosanes, who removed a mass of surgical gauze that Fliess had not removed. Eckstein's nasal passages were so damaged that she was left permanently disfigured.
Fliess went off his trolley big time and invented the Biorhythms theory, which is currently keeping a low profile among professional quackery circles but enjoys periodic revivals (older readers may recall it from Martin Gardner's column in July 1966). Siggy Freud descended even further into intellectual squalor and invented psychotherapy. Emma Eckmann, ruined face and all, trained as a psychotherapist. Sadly, there is no record that she supplied herself with a variety of prosthetic noses for use in different social occasions.


Buggrit, someone else has independently noticed the parallel.

* Nose-related comments are from Slawkenbergius' Tale. They also work as alternative lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody. Not many people know that.

19 comments:

M. Bouffant said...

Related?

Smut Clyde said...

Different spieling, sir. This is "Fliess", pronounced "fleece".

tigris said...

Wee lie down my left buttcheek, I was PUSHED. And they stole my hat!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Shirley your canine friends will retrieve your hat for you, tigris?
~

tigris said...

One wee lie down with dogs and my hat's up with Fliess.

tigris said...

The Cautionary Nose-Job

Also you are a dirty dirty boy.

Substance McGravitas said...

Pinocchio would brag to the ladies about his enormous size and his nose would grow and with a little inventiveness nobody was much bothered about the initial fib. Sadly the young puppet was something of a libertine and the post-nasal drip got him.

Smut Clyde said...

This may be part of the end-of-year exam. For bonus points, discuss Chapter 4 of V, "In which Esther gets a nose job", as another version of the folktale.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Also someone whose initials may or may not have been AK seems to have replaced the 15-minute hourglass with a 10-minute one

In his defence, he was scoring a tennis match.

The soundtrack is available in the lobby.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

OT, scene at another blogue.
~

Another Kiwi said...

Ah ha the old switcheroo with the hourglasses. Gets 'em every time. Yuk yuk yuk

Mentis Fugit said...

In his defence, he was scoring a tennis match.

Surely a boxcutter would do a better job than an hourglass.

mikey said...

See, THIS is why I hate dogs. I don't actually hate dogs, well I do, but it's because of their fucking feckless owners. See those doods up there, gathered around the table, totally self involved while their miserable mutts terrorize the neighborhood? See that's wrong, and it's why I love the way this story turns out.

See, this is just a woodcut-cap from the climactic act, where, finally outraged beyond his ability to remain pastoral and smelly, the pig snaps and tears the dogs to bloody tatters, and helps Tigris to get up, find her hat and helps bandage her wounds.

Of course, it all goes wrong in the end, but that's the carnal inter-species alternate ending from the BlueRay Woodcut, although the village was scandalized for decades, and there's an ICC warrant for Tigris, who is rumored to be staying one step ahead of Interpol in a silver and pink Gulfstream without tail number that lands at random destinations with a demand for "Five Bushels of Shucked Corn and a thousand gallons of residential garbage", only to disappear over the horizon once again before the arrival of the authorities...

tigris said...

carnal inter-species alternate ending

Hello, VEGETARIAN here. Though if I were into carnality of an interspecies sort, pigs wouldn't be on the list, no matter how kindly they were in their hat retrieving. Now clouded leopards... HOT.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

It's getting furrier and furrier around these here parts.
~

Smut Clyde said...

Someone please reassure me and tell me that mikey is not involved in any way with the remake of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears".

It is my belief that the dogs are merely inspecting tigris because of the lingering aroma of one of Mrs Miggins' Vegan* Mock-Turtle Pies.

* Not actually from Vega,

Dusty,Hells most vocal Bitch said...

I hate hourglasses, those worthless fucks.

Windows Hourglass said...

Well, thanks very much! I work my ass off for you people, and this is the thanks I get!

wiley said...

I can't finish this. If I had a dollar for every hour I've spent pistol whipping Freud in my mind I'd fly to wherever he's buried to piss on his grave. Everyone know about the patient he diagnosed with some sort of hysteria (funny how so many of his women patients were hysterical) because of her nebulous, and inexplical stomach pains? A week later she died from stomach cancer.

If I could go back in time twice (my first choice would be give Ernie Shackleton a tongue bath (Chippy McNish wants to join us, then---)). I'd do horrible things to Sigmund Freud.

Anybody who is still under his umbrella better just stay the fuck away from me. Fair warning.