It was the art of circumstantial speech. Mixed with the art of underestimation, with some irritating asides thrown in for good measure. Well, Peter Falk did act funny. This uncanny ability to start talking in one direction and going off on a tangent in a totally different direction. Or, going into way too much detail about what you’re talking about but eventually get back to your point. For many, there is a fear of insanity that blocks the free play of the imagination, resulting in a flat intensity of the reasonable. Falk seemed to have no qualms of venturing into these uncharted lands…
Circumstantial speech is not necessarily pathological, despite the inclusion of too many seemingly trivial details. It seems that was the magnetism of Peter Falk, the traces at the margins, wondering if there was sometimes free passage between between the incredibly bright and the mad. In Columbo he seemed to straddle the line. Mind you, the word “mad” is an assumptive point, madness being a social and not a clinical category. For a psychotherapist, madness is simply not a clinical category. After all, its common sense that defines conduct as madness. The allure of Falk, was a figure shambling through the thick bush, mostly in a world with little distinction between reason and unreason, yet somehow, as if through the hazard of chance, finding a sort of golden mean that illuminated a direction.
Michel Foucault: Madness has become man’s possibility of abolishing both man and the world and even those images that challenge the world and deform man. It is, far beyond dreams, beyond the nightmare of bestiality, the last recourse: the end and the beginning of everything. Not because it is a promise, as in German lyricism, but because it is the ambiguity of chaos and apocalypse: Goya’s Idiot who shrieks and twists his shoulder to escape from the nothingness that imprisons him-is this the birth of the first man and his first movement toward liberty, or the last convulsion of the last dying man? Read More:http://prernalal.com/scholar/Foucault%20-%20Madness%20and%20civilization.pdf
…There is a connection between Falk’s work and Russian writer Isaac Babel, who was called the poet of violence. Babel touched on the seams of a primitive, amoral madness and appeared quite ambivalent about it. Kind of a lyric joy in the midst of mayhem, and a detachment from the suffering he describes. Falk is the amoral, moralist from Babels slums of Odessa. Lionel Trilling’s description of Babel’s art is a reflection of the cinematic tension that bundled Falk’s presence into a compelling narrative: “the apparent denial of immediate pathos is a condition of the ultimate pathos the writer conceives.”
Babel’s Odessa stories are filled with carnivalistic, scandalous, and grotesque motifs that are very much in the Falk spirit, somewhere on the threshold of insanity and containing elements of buffoonery which act as a decoy to mask the creation of a multiplicity of different, even conflicting plausible stories within the body of a single story. Like Babel, Falk’s persona is an ideal vehicle for expressing his contradictory relationship with the culture he lived in, a counterpoint to the materialism that underscores an abiding theme in American pop culture. Thinking of Falk in Wim Wenders, Wings of Desire, a description of a Babel short story:
Obviously, “Sin” is full of such profanations. Not only is the Jesus of the story fully profane, but the characterization of the angel Alfred is a brilliant satire on the whole notion of angels. Angels, after all, are not supposed to be whiners who pester Jesus to let them go back to earth. Babel”s Alfred with the precious folding wings is a kind of toy angel, who far from being immortal in the usual angelic way, winds up dead again….
…As we see in “Sin,” one of the principal menippean techniques employed by Babel’ in the story is the consistent desacrilization of everything that is usually considered holy. Arina is much too dense to suspect that openly discussing her sex life with Jesus is not the done thing. Jesus himself, in accord with the tradition of “skaz” narration, sometimes speaks a lingo that is somewhere between substandard style and the jargon of the street. For example, in describing Alfred the angel Jesus says he has been “hanging around [shalandaetsia] in heaven” and is completely out of control (1: 116). Read More:http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3763/is_200703/ai_n19433949/pg_4/?tag=mantle_skin;content