fr(am)(in)g the minions

The frame is everything.


My daughter is to read a book called “Ways of Seeing”, by John Berger, for her college.  No duty; entirely a pleasure I let it be known.  It is – alongside an essay by Roland Barthes on the place of cars in modern society – for me the most formative piece of writing I have ever read.

I still have my copy from uni, with my name in it.

I have given it to her, with great happiness on my part.

One example of framing: there is a picture of a painting by Van Gogh at the bottom of one page of the Berger book.  It’s in black & white, if I remember rightly; yet the swirling yellows still swirl through to the viewer.  It is full of vibrant life.

Then you continue to read by turning over the page.  At the top of the next you are informed it was the last painting he produced before he committed suicide.

The frame is everything.

Even when you have been framed.

And I have been framed more than once in my life.

No matter.

No matter for the moment.

If you want to communicate with me, don’t rely heavily on popular culture.  I’m really not too hot on it; it really does cost me to read up and find out.

The minions have been following me about, and I thought they were benevolent folk; a little like Santa’s elves perhaps, or David the Gnome & Co.

But no.  Minions get depressed when they have no evil master or mistress to serve; when they do no evil biddings.

So the minions following me about recently have not been singing the praises of a good person after all – or, at least, not a good person for me (whether a person is essentially good or not does depend on their behaviours around one, after all – and such behaviours can change from person to person) – but, rather, informing me of the direction in which I have to run if I’d really like to be a free man.  I almost discovered this information too late.  It was only this afternoon I thought to consult Wikipedia: and the drawn-out truth was suddenly revealed to me.

Minions are really terrible creatures.

And so the people they serve – they do say – are even worse.

My conclusion?  I have to say it probably comes down to this: I’m not going to be so black & white myself to say my perception of a human being depends on anonymous servants.  But this narrative – this frame, whether true in its detail or not – has allowed me to take certain decisions which, once taken, do fit easily into my life.  There are other pretty unkind people out there who I must strive to steer clear of – more than two or three very very close to home, in fact – but there is also one person about whom I know very little: indeed, this one person I am not even sure is the person they claim to have been when I met them on two occasions recently.

Before I can proceed to any further dealings with them – whether pleasure or business – I really do need to confirm their identity.  And also get more comfortable with their goals and broader objectives.  Until this happens we shall be at an impasse.  But this does not need to continue forever.  An impasse is there to be overcome.

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