Common Sense Comes to Town!

Common sense is the most fairly distributed thing in the world, for each one thinks he is so well-endowed with it that even those who are hardest to satisfy in all other matters are not in the habit of desiring more of it than they already have. (Descartes)


Posted on | September 22, 2010 | No Comments

You may be familiar with this fantastical German literary character, Baron Münchausen. Inspired from a real cavalry captain of the XVIIIth century, he is a pathological liar who has gone through (according to him) the most amazing adventures.

Terry Gilliam (amongst others) has turned this story into a movie which turns out to be a fascinating metaphor on imagination and youth. However, the name as also been associated with a serious psychological disorder, the Münchausen syndrome, where patients will try anything to persuade their doctors that they are stricken with some affliction, sometimes seriously endangering their health in the process, all in order to muster a little attention.

It seems that Quebec is populated with many Münchausen these days. We could name of course the clowns who walk in the spotlight of Inquiry Commissions either making up or hiding (according to your own opinion) their agendas and schedules. We should not neglect Channel V and a certain has-been singer shooting down his own TV reality show, maybe in the hope that this scandal will result in free publicity.

An array of very interesting cases  has spontaneously sprung out in the Quebec area, where a group of local leaders and deputies even made up from nothing an unrealistic study in order to focus the gaze of treasurers at all government levels on a crazy sport arena project.

The syndrome seems deeply rooted in our culture; small-time crook and lies made the success of TV shows Les Bougons, but also the wealth of unscrupulous contractors. No one even bothers about this state of things nowadays. I cannot say for sure where this mentality comes from, but I have the feeling that decades spent wearing alternatively pink or dark glasses when discussion constitutional alternatives have thought us to dress the truth in flamboyant clothing

For your information, how did the true Baron Munchausen die? Sick, in abject poverty, after a divorce which utterly ruined him…


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  • Photographie par Patrick Meunier

    Tous droits réservés, Patrick Meunier, 2010

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