ned flanders, depraved sex fiend: a new take on the simpsons from javier calvo

 

The short stories of Spanish writer Javier Calvo are shot through with manipulated quotes from other texts, both middle-brow and academic, while his plots are often cribbed from novels, television shows and films, and his "open" conception of narrative derives from the so-called Free Cinema and the montage techniques of avant-garde filmmakers. But what he does with all of this is a concoction all his own . . . poor Matt Groening!


 

“ned flanders”

by javier calvo

      

The neon lights of the motel are reflected in old Flanders’ glasses. Inside the room, a cigarette slowly burns down between his thick yellow fingers. Behind him, Lisa is sitting on the bed. A sheet half covers the yellow nakedness of her child’s body. Flanders silently watches the cars flash past at speed on the interstate. Lisa is taking slow melancholy gulps from the neck of a bottle of Jack Daniels. All of a sudden old Flanders’ short-sighted eyes encounter the reflection in the dirty glass of the window of little Lisa’s round, alcohol-fuddled eyes. That moment encapsulates all of their lives. Their present, their past and their future. It is all there, inscribed in the deoxyribose-nucleic skein of the sweating night. The years of apprenticeship, the first job, marriage, the slow incursion of boredom, the kids and, in the end, the sudden discovery that neither work nor family can promise more than a resigned and unremarkable decline. And the embryo of what lies in store for them: Flanders’ old age, the final pangs of melancholy and the efforts to conceal his secret life, that false compartment where the last vestiges of his desire are concentrated. And Lisa leaving, going far away from little Springfield, to a brighter future of big cities, doctorates cum laude, academic seminars and a senior post in the administration that her parents will contemplate with tears and the blissful smile of irremediable ignorance. A future in which Ned will be no more than an escapade to be forgotten, exciting for the two or three weeks it takes to sate the little girl’s curiosity. It’s all there, exposed, beneath the revealing light of the neon sign. The past versus the future. The fag end in his yellow fingers. Ned Flanders.

 

"Subversion is a type of violence reserved for the strong. All that is left for the rest of us mortals is perversion."

Michel Foucault

 

—read the rest of “Ned Flanders” at The Barcelona Review

 

 

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