Flowers for de Maupassant

The Eiffel Tower and La FemmeEvery time I see the Eiffel Tower I think of de Maupassant.

When I was in high school I had a sketch pad with a picture of the Eiffel Tower on the cover, and I wrote beside it, “just as de Maupassant ran when he saw the Eiffel Tower, because he feared it would poison his mind.” I don’t remember where I read that quote, though I think it might have been Huxley. I was a precocious youth, you see, though not intellectually curious enough to try and learn more about de Maupassant himself. And 20 years later, I still haven’t read any of his work.

And if Guy were alive today I’m sure that would piss him off mightily. Not because I think he was of such a delicate and insecure nature that my ignorance of his volume of work would offend him. But more likely because the only reason I ever think of him is the Eiffel Tower, which he loathed quite eloquently. He was one of its most vocal detractors, having once said something to the effect that one can get the best view of Paris from the Eiffel Tower, for the simple reason that it is the only vantage point in Paris from which the tower itself is not visible. Le snappe.

So today’s criticism entry is not a criticism, but a warning to critics. Be careful what you criticize. Or perhaps don’t criticize anything too well. Or if you must criticize stuff, remember to do other things that people will remember you for. Ideally in English.

Photo courtesy Francis Mariani.