"disappear up one's backside"

deliadame

Senior Member
France
Hi everyone, my first question here : I'm translating into French a documentary about contemporary art and more specifically, Wim Delvoye's Cloaca (the machine that produces excrements !). The narrator says he likes this work because :
"...it was the endgame of contemporary art. To me it was a symbol of how the art world had finally disappeared up his own backside"

What does the last bit really mean ? Is that like "caused its own death ?" Or is there a pun (given the topic of the documentary and the tone of it all...) that I need to render into French ? Thanks very much for your help.
 
  • Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    "to be up yourself" means "to be pretentious" or "to have elevated belief in your own importance"

    In the most extreme form, you will "disappear up your own backside"

    He was so up himself, he disappeared up his own backside. [his own cloaca]
     
    deliadame said:
    Hi everyone, my first question here : I'm translating into French a documentary about contemporary art and more specifically, Wim Delvoye's Cloaca (the machine that produces excrements !). The narrator says he likes this work because :
    "...it was the endgame of contemporary art. To me it was a symbol of how the art world had finally disappeared up his own backside"

    What does the last bit really mean ? Is that like "caused its own death ?" Or is there a pun (given the topic of the documentary and the tone of it all...) that I need to render into French ? Thanks very much for your help.
    Bonjour Deliadame,

    Bienvenue au forum :)

    Une petite erreur que j'ai remarquée dans 'disappeared up his own backside' doit être 'disappeared up its own backside' parlant de 'the art world'.

    Amitiés, :)

    La Reine V
     
    RAPHUS CUCULLATUS said:
    " Une petite erreur" is the use of French is an English Only forum." he said,
    backing out of the room.
    Well spotted for an Ancient Roman, Raphus Cucullatus.

    My apologies to all offended parties. I'm having a late night on board the yacht of someone called Percy. He is distracting me by dancing a hornpipe round his hammock. I'm so tired I can't concentrate.

    Ave atque vale!

    La Reine Victoria
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    imithe
    I think the phrase as it is used in the instance given is also possibly referring to how a lot of modern art can be self-referential - it ends up only being understood by those already 'in the know' and seen as meaningless by the 'outside world'. The word 'ouroboros' comes to me from away back in what I laughingly refer to as my mind - it refers to an image of a serpent devouring it's own tail which has been used as a symbol of completeness or eternity.
    The art world is so pretentious as to be endless - one cannot understand what is happening now without understanding what happened before.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Continuing maxiogee's valiant attempts to lift this thread from the gutter to the plane of artistic criticism...
    In the world of the self-referential, it is not unusual for discussion and argument to go round and round in circles. This behaviour is often caricatured as, "going round in ever-decreasing circles until it finally vanished up its own arse." This is a well-established concept in English.

    Hence the allusion to the art world's self-obsession and the narrator's suggestion about the end-game of contemporary art.

    Did anyone say Welcome to WordReference to deliadame?
    Apparently not.

    Welcome to WordReference, deliadame:D
     
    panjandrum said:
    Continuing maxiogee's valiant attempts to lift this thread from the gutter to the plane of artistic criticism...
    In the world of the self-referential, it is not unusual for discussion and argument to go round and round in circles. This behaviour is often caricatured as, "going round in ever-decreasing circles until it finally vanished up its own arse." This is a well-established concept in English.

    Hence the allusion to the art world's self-obsession and the narrator's suggestion about the end-game of contemporary art.

    Did anyone say Welcome to WordReference to deliadame?
    Apparently not.

    Welcome to WordReference, deliadame:D
    Please polish your glasses Panj. You will see that I warmly welcomed Deliadame (in her native tongue) to make her feel welcome. For this I was severely chastised by one, Raphus Cucullatus, for using French in the English Only forum. I honestly didn't notice my error and feel like resigning from the forums forthwith. How I shall miss you all. Sob!

    LRV
     

    deliadame

    Senior Member
    France
    Again, warm thanks for enlightening me on such a subject. And for the welcome as well.
    I eventually found a way of combining two French turns of phrases that render both meanings (be self centered and go around in circles) and insisted on the disappearing bit in the first part of the sentence. I know I'm not "allowed" to post the French version of it, so I'll refrain from it... :)
    I hope I can be of some help to some of you soon.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Oh! You Tease!!

    Frankly, and in the interests of entente cordiale (a well-established phrase in English), I think it would be entirely appropriate for the French version to be posted here. It would, indeed, be somewhat galling to think that we are considered so inhospitable as to complain about that.

    As I am sure you have noticed, we are not above a little whimsy - hence my blind eye to Her Majesty's welcome:D, and her suggestion that my schoolboy French would be inadequate to the task of spotting her welcome.
     

    deliadame

    Senior Member
    France
    OK, Panjandrum, it went like this :

    "J’aimais cette œuvre parce qu’elle représentait la fin de parcours de l’art contemporain. Pour moi, elle symbolisait la façon dont le monde de l’art s’était mordu la queue à force de se regarder le nombril."

    I won't think twice next time I have a query, it's all very friendly indeed.


     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    imithe
    Panjandrum had a different "French version" in mind when he wrote that.
    He was referring to the words of welcome with which la reine victoria greeted you, and which were complained of by Raphus Cuculattus.
    In doing this he worked in all the French puns he could call to mind, but he seemed to neglect to mark them with an asterix!

    --on topic edit --
    I note that part of the French version appears to translate "to look at the navel" - there's a wellknown phrase in English: navel gazing whoch means 'personal introspection', and is often used to signify meaningless processes whereby bodies of people - groups, businesses, associations - set up committees to see do they need to change how they function. "The Arts" is full of navel-gazing.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Just to put the record straight - my request for the French version was meant to be taken absolutely at face value. I thought that the thread would be rather incomplete without deliadame's conclusion - even though it would be a large chunk of French in the English-Only forum. Fortunately deliadame had the wisdom to whisper, so we should be OK.
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    maxiogee said:
    ...there's a wellknown phrase in English: navel gazing whoch means 'personal introspection', and is often used to signify meaningless processes whereby bodies of people - groups, businesses, associations - set up committees to see do they need to change how they function. "The Arts" is full of navel-gazing.
    Yes, in AE you hear contemplate in that regard.

    "Has Moira overdosed on Dran-o or something?"
    "No, she read a book on Zen and all she does anymore is contemplate her navel."

    I was going to bring up this same variant myself, but I couldn't find a picture of someone with their head stuck in their own bellybutton.
    .
     
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