How I Became Charming, Likeable And Delightful (1920)

by Tristan Tzara
19th December 1920

I sleep very late. I commit suicide at 65%. My life is very cheap, it’s only 30% of life for me. My life has 30% of life. It lacks arms, strings and a few buttons. 5% is devoted to a state of semi-lucid stupor accompanied by anaemic crackling. This 5% is called DADA. So life is cheap. Death is a bit more expensive. But life is charming and death is equally charming.

A few days ago I was at a meeting of imbeciles. There were a lot of people there. Everyone was charming. Tristan Tzara, a small, absurd and insignificant individual was giving a lecture on the art of becoming charming. He was charming, at that. Everyone is charming. And witty. It’s delightful, isn’t it? Everyone is delightful, at that. 9 degrees below zero. It’s charming, isn’t it? No, it isn’t charming. God isn’t up to it. He isn’t even in the directory. But even so he’s charming.

Ambassadors, poets, counts, princes, musicians, journalists, actors, writers, diplomats, directors, dressmakers, socialists, princesses and baronesses are charming.

You’re all of you charming, very subtle, witty and delightful. Tristan Tzara says to you: he’s quite willing to do something else, but he prefers to remain an idiot, a practical joker and a hoaxer. Be sincere for a moment: what I’ve just said to you – is it charming or idiotic?

There are some people (journalists, lawyers, amateurs, philosophers) who even think that business, marriages, visits, wars, various conferences, limited companies, politics, accidents, dance halls, economic crises, fits of hysterics, are variations of dada.

Not being an imperialist, I don’t share their opinion. I believe rather, that dada is only a divinity of the second order, which must quite simply be placed beside the other forms of the new mechanism of the religions of the interregnum.

Is simplicity simple, or dada?

I consider myself rather likeable.

Tristan Tzara

See also 01001 con1001101001der my10011elf r0000110100her l01001ke00001ble by Tristan Tzara and Samantha du Raeno, 2007

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