Role Playing

Belated Happy Thanksgiving wishes to all my readers! I hope everyone had a great day whether your focus was on eating, ruminating, watching football, enjoying the company of family and friends, or any combination of those. I took part in all  except the football watching. Now I’m not sure, but I think I came close to consuming 10 or 12 pounds of homemade cranberry sauce. Can’t help it. It’s one of my favorites!

This movie clip made me smile and chuckle. Since my personal relationship with my readers (albeit an “online” one) has been evolving and becoming more intimate over time, I actually saw a little bit of myself in Kirk Douglas’ portrayal of Vincent Van Gogh! Well let’s just say I related to his pleas, needs, and sensitivities. The word “attachments” is spoken in the dialogue, and that really struck a chord in me, since the subject just came up in comment discussion in my last post. (Love you, DougRogers).

In this scene from the 1956 film “Lust for Life”, Van Gogh is trying desperately to hang on to, deepen, and solidify his friendship with Paul Gauguin, played by Anthony Quinn. Fearing loneliness and abandonment, Vincent is reaching out to Paul, and the macho Paul is having none of it. Instead, he reacts coldly, irritated by Van Gogh’s clingy nature and lack of toughness in an often harsh, cruel world.

It is people in my real life who function as my true “Gauguins”, but just for fun I tried to place all of you in the Gauguin role. Luckily it didn’t work. Why? Because you guys are awesome!! You are warm, compassionate, and sympathetic to my troubles, feelings, and honest disclosures here on Museworthy. And I doubt that any of you would ever raise your voices angrily to me. Oh and for the record, I, as Vincent, would NEVER hurl a glass at any of your heads! A shoe, maybe. But never a glass 😆 (just kidding).


10 thoughts on “Role Playing

  1. dougrogers says:

    Wow. And we do *work* just to paint. We are all nuts.

    A little melodramatic? Do things need to be so big to make subtle point? but it caught so well, Van Gogh’s extremely labile unstable emotionality and Gaugin’s tough hard approach to the very same question. Just as Vincent seems so overwhelmed by the fragile passing of exquisite moments, Gaugin grinds them into the pestle with very hard questions.

    I’m flattered by the callout. It seems like such a simple thing though.

  2. artmodel says:


    Agreed on the “melodrama”. But I attribute that to the old Hollywood style of filmmaking. The music, the acting, etc. They often piled it on. I’m not sure, but I think Anthony Quinn won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Gauguin.

    Love your comments. And you reminded me that both men in the scene are feeling the same things, just in disagreement about how to deal with them. A classic debate through the ages I’d say. Seeing Van Gogh block the door so that Gauguin couldn’t leave affected me the most. A person can do that physically or emotionally. I think I’ve done both!

    Thanks Doug 🙂


  3. ray says:

    Hi Caudia
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. I don’t have to tell you that holidays are tough times on trying to diet or at least maintain your bodyweight. Im sure you will work off the extra calories and maintain your svelt body.I also want to express my condolences on the loss of your friend from the New York Studio School.I never had the pleasure of meeting her,and I’m sure she will be missed by many.

    Im curious do you include me in that group of men?

  4. artmodel says:


    Thanks for your condolences about Royalyne Ward-Davis. And don’t worry about me and my diet during the holidays. Never been a problem for me. So I’m pretty sure my body weight will remain intact. Hopefully!

    Do I include you in what “group of men”?? I’m totally lost, sorry. What are you referring to?


  5. When I was a little boy for Thanksgivings I’d eat dressing, which I loved, green-beans and a hot dog. I hated turkey for the way it tasted and the texture; it was only later I found out that it’s the only animal dumb enough to drown while trying to figure out what rain is. I still won’t eat it but now I can’t have hot-dogs. Happy belated Thanksgivings.

  6. lkwinter says:

    Yeah, that glass went flying pretty darn dangerously, I would definitely hope you use a shoe. : )

    And your handling of my situation was alleviating, you are such a great people person; you knew how to validate my frustration, and I feel better, cause I wasn’t feeling too great that day.

    *cyber hug*

    I must have the most intuitive sense to have met someone like you, to where you would eventually drop by and pick me up like that, so lucky, like wandering in a good dream.

  7. Ron says:

    Wow! That was some clip. I never saw the movie as a whole so I’m not sure what led up to that scene, but I hope no one in real life or cyber life treats you like that. To be perfectly frank though, I could see Gauguin’s point Wasn’t van Gogh being just a wee bit clingy? Gauguin was right. Van Gogh was being whiny. I might have been irritated too, though I don’t think i would have reacted as cruelly as Gauguin did.

    And Van Gogh’s aim! He couldn’t throw that glass accurately at that short a distance. He could be a candidate for the Mets bullpen!

    Also, is it just me or was there a strong homo-erotic subtext to that scene? If Hollywood in the fifties had to hide everything controversial. I don’t think they buried that one very deeply. It’s also pretty odd to see two such macho leading men as Douglas and Quinn, especially Douglas, playing a scene like that.

    All that cinematic criticism aside, I hope you had a really great Thanksgiving too. I hope to keep on reading, and seeing, more of you in the coming year.

  8. artmodel says:


    Turkeys don’t do any such thing. That’s just another silly, stupid myth made up by humans to demean another species, justify our carnivorous habits, and gloat about our own “superiority”. I’ve never understood how the “intelligence” of an animal relates to our abusing and eating of it. By that rationale, we would consider the lives of mentally retarded humans as holding less value than we oh so “intelligent” ones. And that’s a dangerous reasoning to which I give no legitimacy. All animals, human and non-human, share this planet. They seek only to live, survive, raise families, and live on their own terms, just like us.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you!


  9. artmodel says:


    :cyber hug: to you too, friend!
    All this affection is making me all warm and fuzzy inside 🙂

    I’m happy that I made you feel better. Very happy. And, yes, you do have excellent intuitive sense. Now just toward me but toward everything in general. Must be why we make such compatible blogging buddies.

    Keep wandering in that “good dream”.


  10. artmodel says:


    I confess I hadn’t noticed the homo-erotic subtext in that clip. But now that you mention it, I do see it. Like you said, Hollywood back then used code to camouflage “taboo” subjects. And yes, Quinn and Douglas were two pretty manly actors, so it’s even more interesting to see.

    Van Gogh is clingy in the scene, no question. But it’s still heart-rending because his emotions run deep and his fear of loneliness is evident. I think most people can relate to that fear, even if they don’t express it so openly.

    As for Van Gogh’s aim with the glass, I say he’s too accurate for the Mets bullpen! 😆

    Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Ron. Thanks for your comments!


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