Essay: improbable dialogue

Trial: Unlikely Dialog


It is the story of a man who has little and decides to write to another person who has a lot. This one obviously belongs to this minority which holds 99% of the wealth of the planet. The gap between them is enormous, the distance insurmountable. Dialogue seems quite impossible. Can we imagine an attentive ear on the part of a “full of aces”, apart from a balance of power? “My inability to make myself heard by you has no equal,” he told her. 

For a meeting, an acquaintance to exist between the two of them, the less-than-nothing would have to become a possessor, like his imaginary interlocutor. To finally hope to be heard. But there the metamorphosis would stop. The time that the rich finally listens to the poor. Impossible bet. “What could we say to each other at that moment, you and I, once seated by I do not know what chance – sickly, monstrous, perverse – at the same table? “There is clearly nothing human about this wealthy man, and the writer wonders if this individual would be able to show even a shred of humanity in the unlikely event of a face-off.

Shouldn't we use violence – “a good blow with a fist or a kick, or a stick like we do in Molière's plays, but not for fun, for real, a blow like we imagine it to be. give in war zones, a solid one, not only capable of humiliating, but also of cracking bones” – to make the rich aware of a reality that they ignore? A violence that unfortunately has lost its sense of a midwife of freedom, a response to institutionalized violence, that which, for example, throws thousands of workers into the street – a workforce that has become unprofitable – so that the rich boss can put a little more in his pockets.

The world is divided in two: those who love power and those who hate it and find it “afflicting, ridiculous, deplorable, harmful”. No possibility of speaking to each other as equals and there is no place, no institution that could help to do this, if only to share the same vulnerability there, “the humility of knowing that one is human, mortal .

Ugliness of the world

We now live in a world where the law of “rise or die” has imposed itself. “And when I say walk, I am of course not talking about wandering, journeying or wandering. I'm talking to you about walking like an engine. The law of profitability at all costs, even if we kill the beauty of the world. Make way, then, for the ugliness of the world! Like that of the CHSLDs where the letter-writer-author had to place his disabled mother, for lack of means to welcome her into his home. His mother whom he never loved, he admits, whom he even hates, in her smallness of being born for a bun. Half-blind, she has become “raw material exploited for its ability to create jobs – beneficiary attendant, receptionist, janitor, accountant, manager, cook, lark – an outlet for merchants of canes, pills , dentures and adult diapers”.

And for this degrading situation, he blames his anonymous interlocutor and his ilk who, thanks to generous tax laws, manage to avoid paying their taxes, thus starving the public treasury. “All these laws, all these budgets, all these measures, it was you who voted for them. It is you who defend them, refine them, strengthen them.” And to quote Balzac: “Behind every fortune, there is a crime.”

Inevitable shipwreck

We are the sacrificed of modern times, laments he, “through relocation, restructuring, offshore legislation, public-private partnerships, twisted financial arrangements, zero deficits”. A veritable field of devastation where we count for next to nothing, like mines and abandoned boreholes.

All that remains is to wait for the shipwreck, his own and the other, both inevitable. Hard observation where salvation will arise like an epiphany in the middle of poetry, theater, dance, music. To achieve this, we will have to invent a language, “a language like salt, capable of corroding us, of unsealing each of the features of our faces, our wrinkles too”. 

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The author seems to know something about sex. He has published several books dealing with this issue, both in adults and in children. This time, he is interested in the sexuality of old people (there is nothing pejorative in calling an “aging adult” simply an old person), both men and women. And it will debunk certain stubborn prejudices about the absence of desire among elders or the end of all sexual activity once you reach the venerable age of retirement, which is not yet the end of life. “In this superbly written book, you will go from surprise to surprise, from discovery to astonishment and like me, I bet on it, you will learn many precious things; you will even smile sometimes”, writes Normand Baillargeon in the preface. And you will know everything about andropause and menopause! 


I remember, as a child, that our ultra-Catholic parents told us the story of the young Native American Kateri Tekahkwitha, the first Iroquois virgin who died at the age of 24 in a “state of purity”, which must have been a source of inspiration for my sisters. Why be interested in the story of the first Native American saint in North America? Because “it constitutes a bridge between the Christian faith and indigenous cultures”. But she is also a controversial figure among the natives themselves, “some seeing her as a model, and others as an example of the deceptive and deleterious effects of colonialism”, at the time of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The author therefore offers “a contextual rereading of history” based on everything that has been said and written about the young saint of Iroquois origin by her father and Algonquin by her mother.