Leonardo DiCaprio is like a warm cooktop that never quite brings the water to a boil. This is stated by the graphic essayist Liv Stömsquist in I do not feel anything (Reservoir Books), the book where he analyzes why falling in love is every day more difficult and extraordinary. Like poor Leo, who tries tirelessly, while the flame of love never ignites in his heart. That is why in recent years he has broken up with Bar Rafaeli, with actress Blake Lively; with Victoria’s Secret models Erin Heatherton and Toni Garrn and with swimsuit models Kelly Rohrbach, Elsa Kawalec and Nina Agdal. Poor Leo. You will never know love. And apparently he is not the only one.
Recently two writers have published a book under the same title and thesis: The end of love. The first, sociologist Eva Illouz, 59, nine years old, presents a sociological analysis of negative relationships. The second, Tamara Tenembaum, 32, adds the following subtitle to her essay: “Loving and fucking in the 21st century.” And almost at the same time, the South Korean philosopher Byung-Chul Han, a new star of German philosophy and a contributor to this newspaper, assures that Eros is dying due to late capitalism. I think these three authors would agree on at least one thing: that Leo DiCaprio is going to continue flirting with twenty-something models from the magazine Sports Illustradted with the same resignation as Sisyphus for the rest of his life.
Because if the twentieth century went around the idea that love is not eternal and that even the true one ends, the drama of the 21st century is to feel that falling in love cannot even begin. The war of the Rose It’s over and now Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner are a healthy couple in their sixties divorced in the series The Kominsky method. The DiCaprio movie, however, will be another. For him, as for so many subjects of the new century, love neither begins, nor hurts nor ends, because it no longer exists. But is it possible that our feeling has been broken without even using it?
Apparently, the reasons for the death of Eros are diverse, but all theories point to self-absorption and the proliferation of individuals who are increasingly narcissistic and self-centered as the beginning of the end. Not surprisingly, the love portrait most often reproduced is called selfie and the reproach that lovers repeat the most in Netflix series is “that you no longer look at me like you used to.” But then where are lovers looking? The answer is always and in all cases towards themselves. Is it that love has become another technology to be looked at? The answer is yes. Except that the resulting feeling is called melancholy.
Anyway, Cupid will make his way as he always has, some will say. Well yes and no. Eros shoots his arrows, but when they hit us, they always hurt. Because love gives us meaning and eternity, but hurting hurts. That is why it is an irrational and overflowing state, which does not help, since these two feelings are forbidden for our ordered minds and our hearts safeguarded behind anti-theft cabinets, lest we occupy it as if it were a second residence. Hearts are no longer broken or occupied, because we carry them protected behind a screen … smartphone.
To top it all, the pandemic has made things worse. Because if something helps us to fall in love despite ourselves or our culture, it is the body. And I’m not referring to the clonic and hegemonic body of all the physically similar models that DiCaprio has been dating, but to the body faced with a social place, the body of the encounter with others, the body that cries and sweats and forces us to touch us, smell us, recognize ourselves and relate to love. What erases the body, kills love. And the body, we know, has been turned off in one way or another for more than a year. Some have even gotten stuck in the Zoom window after we hit the “log out” button.
But one thing is certain: we live the first summer after the end of the world. We have come this far and we know very well what to do: turn off the mobile and pay passionate attention to a single object. It may be that woman we see pedaling down the same sidewalk every morning, the lifeguard at the hotel pool, even, in the most intrepid cases, the couple with whom we have been sharing sorrows and affections for years. Goethe believed that one can even fall in love with a tree if one frequents it long enough. It is therefore time to take a vacation from ourselves because it is the time of love. And Di Caprio to hold on or win.
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Leonardo DiCaprio is not going to fall in love this summer | Opinion