Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Anti_oedipus and Daddy Carlsberg

Someone pulled some strings to host 2 days of the Deleuze camp in Denmarks most prestigious mansion-the house of Jakobsen, founder of Carlsberg beer. However,it was strange to discuss deleuze's influential book -anti oedipus- in a place more haunted by oedipus than Elsinore.
  Setting: Copenhagen , late 19th century and jakobsen has just discovered  a new grain to make great beer. He sets up a factory on a hill on the outskirts of town  and soon becomes denmarks wealthiest man. Jakobsen calls his new concoction carls berg named after his second new creation, carl -and in a way typical of industrialists- makes his son and the place of the factory into one name: carlsberg.
 Time passes, Jakobsen builds a beautiful yet ostentatious mansion next to the factory and watches his baby grow into a sensitive artistic  boy. Carl, fearing  his fathers dissaproval gives up his artistic pursuits to make  beer . He borrows money from him and sets up another factory next to the mansion, calling his  brand  "new carlsberg" . It is a greater success than his fathers.
 Jakobsen is not happy with young Carls endeavor and rewards his son with a disinheritance sealing  off the windows on the left wing of his mansion so as   to never set eyes on his sons factory .  Soon after, he dies, turning his estate into a non profit foundation.
The executors to jakobsens estate negotiate with carl  to buy new carlsberg and so leave carl with enough financial independence to pursue artistic interests. Today, the Carlsberg foundation is denmarks leading financial support for the arts.The mansion also houses and funds innovators in the sciences, competing with Sweden's Nobel prize. While not as renouned as the Nobel, all residents of the mansion are entitled to free beer. (Niels Bohs spent 30 years on the second floor -see above)

the atrium

front entrance

back yard

daddy jacobsen

lecture hall

I was actually quite impressed by the mansion, particularly the idea that Bohr and his principle student, heisenberg, spent long days in the back yard inventing atomic physics and pondering the even greater political question of providing Hitler with an A-bomb. Maybe it was the beer or  their above average intelligence that helped them reach the conclusion that a German A bomb was not a great idea. heres a toast to men of innovation and genius!

jeffrey bell and students

ian Buchanan and his anti-oedipus lecture

carlsberg place

jacobsen factory

carls factory

carlsberg horses

jacobsen beer carriage

carlsberg beer

Just before his last drink, Socrates purportedly said he took his tragedy lightly and his comedy seriously.The same  dramatic mix can be said about danes who-( like their philospher of paradox, kieke-gaard, pronounced kierke-gor) - soften  the tragic arc with irony  and a few too many brews. Ibsen and Strindberg could not be danish. Igmar Bergman shunned alcohol. Lars Von Trier shuns sobriety, which is why Elsinore is a fiction by the bard, not a tragedy of a real dane.

The definitive proof that Danes cannot take anything too seriously resides in the nations highest honor, which is called the order of the elephant. Thats right, france has the legion d'honneur, the usa, the medal of honor, and Denmark, a closed society of people wearing elephant pins. why? Ask the queen, she bestows the honor all the time. Which is why i want to live here. because only a dane drinking oedipal beer would put order and elephant together.  Only a dane living near the north pole would imagine an elephant living here.Maybe if danes drink enough they see pink elephants, but even if you dont drink, elephants are everywhere in Copenhagen.Theres even the elephant zoo with 3 real Indian elephants. And  above, stone elephants holding up Carsberg place.And, of course, elephant beer.

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