In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

E-Mail Donald
Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

E-Mail Fenster
College administrator and arts buff

E-Mail Francis
Architectural historian and arts buff

E-Mail Friedrich
Entrepreneur and arts buff
E-Mail Michael
Media flunky and arts buff


We assume it's OK to quote emailers by name.







Try Advanced Search


  1. Seattle Squeeze: New Urban Living
  2. Checking In
  3. Ben Aronson's Representational Abstractions
  4. Rock is ... Forever?
  5. We Need the Arts: A Sob Story
  6. Form Following (Commercial) Function
  7. Two Humorous Items from the Financial Crisis
  8. Ken Auster of the Kute Kaptions
  9. What Might Representational Painters Paint?
  10. In The Times ...


CultureBlogs
Sasha Castel
AC Douglas
Out of Lascaux
The Ambler
PhilosoBlog
Modern Art Notes
Cranky Professor
Mike Snider on Poetry
Silliman on Poetry
Felix Salmon
Gregdotorg
BookSlut
Polly Frost
Polly and Ray's Forum
Cronaca
Plep
Stumbling Tongue
Brian's Culture Blog
Banana Oil
Scourge of Modernism
Visible Darkness
Seablogger
Thomas Hobbs
Blog Lodge
Leibman Theory
Goliard Dream
Third Level Digression
Here Inside
My Stupid Dog
W.J. Duquette


Politics, Education, and Economics Blogs
Andrew Sullivan
The Corner at National Review
Steve Sailer
Samizdata
Junius
Joanne Jacobs
CalPundit
Natalie Solent
A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside
Rational Parenting
Public Interest.co.uk
Colby Cosh
View from the Right
Pejman Pundit
Spleenville
God of the Machine
One Good Turn
CinderellaBloggerfella
Liberty Log
Daily Pundit
InstaPundit
MindFloss
Catallaxy Files
Greatest Jeneration
Glenn Frazier
Jane Galt
Jim Miller
Limbic Nutrition
Innocents Abroad
Chicago Boyz
James Lileks
Cybrarian at Large
Hello Bloggy!
Setting the World to Rights
Travelling Shoes


Miscellaneous
Redwood Dragon
IMAO
The Invisible Hand
ScrappleFace
Daze Reader
Lynn Sislo
The Fat Guy
Jon Walz

Links


Our Last 50 Referrers







« Andrea del Sarto Reredux | Main | Oakeshott for a Day »

August 29, 2002

Symmetry, Classicism and Eros

Friedrich --

I've read, as who hasn't, news reports over the last few years about how evolutionary theorists have been thinking about beauty, about how beauty seems related to symmetry, and how both function (at the very least, I should think) as signs of reproductive health.

Throw all that and a little del Sarto and Han into my muddled brain, and you've got me thinking, Hmm, classical art at its sexiest seems to be a matter of symmetry crossed with something just a little bit off.

Why? Maybe symmetry represents design and conscious intention: Culture? Skill? Fantasy, desire, and the ideal? And maybe "something a little bit off" signifies "interest," "vitality," and "life." Put them together and you've got something that seems to fuse, in however unstable a mix, a hint of Ideal beauty together with its flawed incarnation in temporal life.

And I'm musing a bit about today's gal performers. Have performers ever looked so gorgeous or been in such great shape? They seem physically perfect, walking fantasies -- yet they do almost nothing for my religio-erotic centers, at least once past the first attention-dazzling minute. Kapow! Then my interest is all burned up, and I'm on to the next blast.


Cristina, Poppin' Out At You

Recently I was looking at web sites devoted to actresses from the '60s and '70s (Anna Karina, Stephanie Beacham, Susan George, etc). Gorgeous gals, though not tweaked, implanted, buffed and Photoshopped to anything like the high polish of today's performers.


Susan George, Inviting You In

And I was enchanted, partly because that was the era that imprinted itself on my then-still-malleable brain. But the enchantment also had to do with the actresses's imperfections -- the overbite, the too-small butt, the little scar on the temple. They didn't exist as pure fantasy and thereby usurp my erotic imagination; and images of them don't jump out at you either.

I find that these actresses (and images of them) stir the imagination while inviting me into the stuff of life: sorrow, beauty, transience, physicality. The result: I feel aroused, moved, touched, and exalted all at once. The sensation isn't of having my buttons pounded (and my soul hence flattened), but of being lured out of myself, there to contemplate the Larger Questions.

Cute as the Britneys, Cristinas, Shakiras and Taras are -- and I'm a fan of kiddieporn pop -- they never move me. Too much symmetry?

Do they move you?

Best,

Michael

posted by Michael at August 29, 2002




Comments



Post a comment
Name:


Email Address:


URL:


Comments:



Remember your info?