Je me souviens
(1929 - 2005)
The Beloved Clown Philosopher Frog.
Sol, an American humorist, entertainer, tv host for children, and stand-up comic.
The Single Most Important Amerifrancophone In Amerifrancophonia: How Marc Fraveau Changified the Face of Smurfterra Forever.You may be thinking this is a most absurd sub-title for a write-up, and of course it is. It really all depends on whether you consider Smurfterra a real or not thing, or even agree that changing the word 'changing' to the obsiously erronous 'changified' is an appropriate thing to do. But then how would you know, being most probably uncertain of what Smurfterra actually is. Let me be clear, in fact Smurfterra had not really ever been named until I called it so in this superfluous sub-title; it was in no dictionary or encyclopedia, to my knowledge. Even more assuredly, it was not in everything, and still really quite isn't because it would be a rejected thought. A thing deemed not to exist, not in everything, because previously unheard-of. It's the odd process of everything building up, everything wants to be everything, but is actually nothing pretending to be everything. In any case, an argument on the matter might require some time, so it may be best to get to the point, as to why Marc Favreau, otherwise known as Sol, is important at all. Let us, then, abstractrively dissippify all concerns about whether the mention of Smurfterra was relevant to the various reality tunnels involved, and this whole paragraph which can only be difficisciently labelled 'turdishly unjustified'. The point here is, this story is true even if it sounds completely made up, like perhaps Smurfterra is.
Marc Favreau was born in Montréal, Québec, November 29th, 1929, supposedly to a pair of human parents, though some still suspect he was in fact the son of a gnome, banished from gnomeworld, which may explain why he had such trouble saying normal things. His speech, more often than not, would simply make people laugh. Indeed, he found that whenever trying to communicate something true, he would inadvertently make up a new word, and to this, people laughed even more. Now, this at first glance might seem like a wonderful thing, a gift of sorts, for who in the world wouldn't want laughter around? In truth, it was a burden for Marc because for every person he knew who was smiling, he saw further two people frowning. For every burst of sweet laughter, elsewhere cries of bitter tears. Marc soon understood that he should speak louder, I daresay with more confidence, so more people would laugh. It was a fortunate coincidence, then, that brought him into showbusiness. There was also, amazingly, new possibilities being created, because around that time some Americans invented a new thing called television, which was catching on pretty well, even in french-speaking Montréal. Poor people just massed around these projected images and sounds, no matter what they said. Marc's plan was simple enough: if he should be the one to be speaking on these mindboxes, instead of some English person selling cigarettes, then perhaps people would be smiling, and not smoking. This dream brought him hope in all of his days on Earth.
He studied theater, at first intending to shyly remain out of the spotlight; but he couldn't endure the shadows for long. It was a sunrise, after all. He first played in Don Juan, for the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, as his television career was wakening. Here, something crucial happened. We don't know exactly what it was, but it had really completely changed him, metamorphosed and transformed him. This is a matter of some debate, as some pretend nothing happened at all. Nevertheless, when he appeared finally on television screens everywhere, people wouldn't recognize him. No, for now in fact he just looked like a clown, dirty and brown, an absurd sadness about him. It was oddly strange, errie even, but then again people laughed, so he paid no attention. His name wasn't Marc Favreau anymore, he was simply known as Sol.
Sol partnered with Gobelet, another Québéclown, and everywhere children laughed and laughed. Over the years, Sol met others like him, tiquébéclounes, like Bobino and Bobinette, Bim and Bouton, and Pépin la Bulle, among others. They formed a merry band of superpowered french speaking clowns, and there is a distinct possibility that it made people laugh more than any human beings ever laughed before. It was even enough for the majority of them to retain their sanity, while elsewhere in the world terrible wars raged on, men landed on the moon, and Americans lost their innocence. People had laughed so much, in fact, that suddenly in the 1960s, their worries all just vanished. They felt, for a moment, that perhaps they had forgotten to take the reigns of their own lives. So naturally, they decided that religion would not decide for them anymore. This important mysterious event is known as 'Révolution Tranquille' (or calm revolution]. Fueled by a renegade faction of subversive artists, the people said a stubborn, annoying 'non!' to priests dictating, and suddenly just refused to do as they were told. Men of God tried to invoke all their powers to stop it, but they realized they had no power to begin with; people apparently just don't hear, when they're not listening. So the folks of Québec stopped doing, they just refused to. A global refusing. Instead of doing things, they just said them, and invented new rules for themselves, which often went like: "No 'Dieu' in my politician's speech" or "No 'Tu ne feras point' in my childrens' classroom". Pretty soon religion had just disappeared completely, left to mutter to itself and conspire in the shadows abroad. As the decade of 1970 dawned, there came a time for the clowns to step aside, letting a new generation of entertainers take over. After laughing so hard, perhaps people were now ready to think again.
For Québécois children everywhere, Sol became a strange long-gone memory, his place in the sun now occupied by a gentle young lady called Passe-Partout* and her many charming friends. At the same time, some far-away countries like Japan and France made truly memorable, inspiring shows for children, like 'Les Mystérieuses Cités d'Or" (the mysterious cities of gold). Sol felt confident that people would remember to smile, so he moved on making no noise.
Sol took to the stage again, carrying on the beloved character of this sad brown clown making up stupid words. He expanded his writings and poetry to new heights, taking his show on the road throughout French-speaking Europe, spreading laughter and confusion, as well as experimenting with various new techniques of clowniness, like the 1977 "Je mégalomane à moi-même" (untranslatable**). His life ended on December 17th, 2005, as he had fallen to relative obscurity. When people of Québec heard that Sol had passed, all remembered not to forget.
Excerpts exemplifying "la langue de Sol":
"Si tous les poètes voulaient se donner la main, ils toucheraient enfin des doigts d'auteur!"
"On a beau avoir fait le sot toute sa vie, le plus dur c'est le dernier
*Passe-Partout: literally "passing by everything", or "achieving anything". It's also said of keys that unlock everything, as in the sentence "Je peux ouvrir cette porte, j'ai un passe-partout. (I can open this door, I have a passe-partout)
**Je mégalomane à moi-même: In english, at first glance, would look like "I (am a) megaloman((iac) to myself", but since 'mégalomane' is not a verb in french, french-speaking people first hear only 'Je mégal', or more precisely 'Je m'égale', literally 'I equal myself'. So when he says 'omane à moi-même', well that's funny because it makes no sense.