Tag: Beauty

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L’art pour l’art est un vain mot. L’art pour le vrai, l’art pour le beau et le bon, voilà la religion que je cherche…—Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin (Pen name: George Sand) in a letter to Alexandre Saint-Jean, (19 April 1872) Art for the sake of art itself is an idle sentence. Art for the sake of truth, […]

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“If you’re in a bar you don’t look at someone and say they have a beautiful soul.” — Greg Hodge, co-founder of Beautiful People.com…………The discussion in Victor Tango Kilo’s post @vthek on the Miss America Pageant (Beauty and Success are Bourgeois Values and Must Be Crushed) http://ricochet.com/526129/beauty-and-success-are-bourgeois-values-and-must-be-crushed/ spawned this Quote of the Day post. There’s […]

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The Art of Picasso

 

I don’t know art. I’m not even sure I know what I like. But the simple fact that I don’t understand it is reason enough to study the matter. This past month I had the opportunity to visit Barcelona. While I was there I went through the Picasso museum. If you’re looking for the elusive dividing line between art and supercilious nonsense Picasso is a good man to study.

Man in a Beret

Beauty, Power, Babbling, and Tocquevillian Sex Ed

 

“He drinks because of you.” Even knowing now what I didn’t know then, the claim stinks of false blame, though youth and beauty are said to have great power over those who admire them. Young I was. But beautiful? Not really, I thought. A great many budding young women are kept far too busy frantically scrambling to keep the less-beautiful parts of puberty from turning their bodies into an embarrassment to take the extra step of deliberately using their bodies to gain power over others. Some girls absolutely are Machiavellian little minxes equipped to use “sexiness” to manipulate others before they’re even old enough to drive. Other girls are as absolutely not: these latter are innocents in a society that still claims (however implausibly) to value innocence. And of course, gals come in all stages in between.

Toddlers are innocent. Toddlers are hilarious – and destructive – because they haven’t yet figured out their own agency. Our own toddler likes nothing better than to make something “happen” – but he has little idea what, or why. He’s more powerful than he knows, which adds to the havoc. Much innocence comes from simply not knowing yet what the hell you’re doing. While babies’ innocence of basic motor coordination, language, literacy, and social skills is cute, it’s not inherently valuable. Indeed, the quicker children outgrow that kind of innocence, the better. But we do value youngsters’ sexual innocence. We also value young adults’ sexual agency. Puberty is sexual toddlerhood, only we’d really rather not have our teens exploring the world with their genitals the way toddlers do with their mouths. Fortunately, children are, at least in theory, quite grown up in other ways by the time puberty hits; in theory, able to apply lessons they’ve learned about their agency in other spheres to sexual agency; in theory, able to use reason to assert their sexual agency while maintaining their sexual innocence. In practice, though, developing sexual agency while maintaining innocence is tricky, especially absent wise counsel.

Conservatives want youth – but especially, let’s be honest, young women – to exercise more agency in guarding their genitalia. Even libertine conservatives want today’s young women to recognize their sexual agency better, and most conservatives would also like to narrow the gap between the age at which women lose sexual innocence and the age at which they marry, through some combination of earlier marriage and later loss of virginity. We want this not primarily to control women (though for some, control is part of the appeal), but to make human life generally more flourishing – for women, too. One problem, though, is that, while lack of awareness of one’s own sexual power isn’t all there is to innocence, it’s part of it.

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Hiding in plain sight.  Golf courses are often in cities or suburbs, and may be behind a gate, for Members Only.  I don’t play golf, but in the past few years I have been fortunate enough to be able to tag along with the golfers, and take pictures.  A couple of years ago, my husband […]

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Asia and the Color of Beauty

 

White is beautiful. Among the cultures within the Asia-Pacific region, white skin translates to feminine beauty, desirability and class. From China to India, Korea to Thailand, white or pale skin is an obsession among the fairer sex. Before you think Malaysian girls and Chinese gals want to be White, no, they do not want to be White; they do not want to look White. They just want white skin.

Women from these cultures go to crazy lengths to get white skin. In Vietnam, women shun sunlight like vampires. When out in the sun, they cover themselves from heads to toe with hats, face masks, big sunglasses, long-sleeve shirts, and umbrellas. Arm-length gloves are a must, and in a tropical climate that is just self-torture. Morning joggers/runners wrap their bodies in swathing fabric like mummies. Also, sunbathing is unthinkable, though Chinese beach goers recently cracked that particular problem with full body suits and masks. Burkini has got nothing on the face-kini!

Of course just avoiding the sun wouldn’t transform these women into Snow White, so they turn to skin-whitening products. And these products sell better than hotcakes, with East Asia being the largest consumer of all. A recent survey by the London-based Synovate found 4 out of 10 women surveyed in South Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan use skin-whitening products. In India, the skin-whitening market was worth $432 million in 2010 and growing at 18% annually. Skincare in China is a $5 billion market, with 71% coming from whitening products alone.

Making Beauty Accessible

 

Lutherans probably beat out even the Anglican communion when it comes to active liturgical worship. While it’s not exactly true that Lutherans are bred from childhood to sing in four-part harmony, the congregation in a Lutheran church is expected to do more than just hunker down in silence. No, silent hunkering is only for those periods of worship where silent hunkering is required – in which case Lutherans are really quite good at it. The rest of the time, though, Lutherans are expected to do stuff. Read together, sing together, pray together. To this day, my lapsed Lutheran family thinks there’s something “papist” about worship services where the congregation can get by without singing.

In a previous post, I described how, even when art strives to imitate nature, it produces something more than just nature, and I used this imitation of nature as an example:

Member Post

 

I don’t often find it difficult to come up with something to write about. But, as a few people have already said this month, the topic of “Beauty” has been a tough one. And the posts so far have covered so many aspects of the subject, so well, that it’s become even more difficult as […]

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Everything Is Beautiful

 

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

When you search for “the most beautiful thing in the world”, the two most common things that come up are love and nature. Searching for “beautiful” or “beauty” shows plenty of pictures and quotes about women, children, animals, love, nature, and anything else you can possibly imagine. It’s impossible to narrow down the most beautiful thing in the world because everyone has their own idea of beauty.

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This past weekend we hosted a close relative. She is not in a good place. Her view of life, or at least what she seems to notice the most, is one of hardship and tragedy. She makes a point of mentioning it to others when her mind doesn’t wander, and, at times, offers such observations […]

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Two weeks ago, the WordPress Photo Challenge topic was Elemental.  Water gives and sustains life in all its magnificent profusion here on Earth, and my post over at RushBabe49.com is entitled Elemental… Water.  I can add to @cowgirl’s post about living in the most beautiful place in the world.  In all my life, I have […]

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The Most Beautiful Place in the World

 

I was born in the most beautiful place in all the world! Seriously…according to my mom. Actually, she wasn’t wrong. Our isolated valley high in the Rocky Mountains of western Wyoming is pretty stunning to see. My great-grandparents on both sides of my family were among the original settlers. It has long winters, but even then the scenery doesn’t fail to meet the standard of spectacular. There are towering mountains, with red cliff faces, and other peaks that are blanketed with pine trees. The aspens form a fluttering skirt of pale green leaves at the base of these mountains all summer. Then those leaves turn a brilliant yellow in the autumn. A couple of rivers meander down the middle, and supported the beaver that enticed my trapper/mountain man ancestor to move there. Those same rivers also created succulent meadows that the farmer ancestor realized would feed dairy cows that could sustain his family when they arrived in wagons. It remains a place of beauty today.

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As a teacher, I hate that I’m tardy posting this. There’s no beauty in being late, I know, but the idea of beauty conflicted in unexpected ways with the beginning of the school year. The piece I had in mind – what I had intended to write about – had to do with the beauty […]

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Group Writing: Beauty

 

I am not a very emotional person, and tears for me are unusual, almost non-existent. But last week, in utter frustration, I wept.

My daughter wanted a cement path from my door to her steps, and we hired Mordechai to do the work. I have to say, he is honest, but he’ll tell you he is coming to do the work on a certain day, and then he disappears for two months. So today, he showed up with a couple of workers to do the path, and it was lovely, very professional, and will be a big help when the winter rains hit.

Beauty: We Know the Truth

 

I was in a store a few weeks back with my mother. Whenever I go down there, I offer to help with heavy lifting, such as bringing in cases of bottled water or bags of salt for her water softener. Naturally, we go to stores where such products are purchased. In this case, it was a general merchandise store and Mom wanted to pick up some other things, including make up. There was a very large make up department, and the aisles were arranged by brand. My mother was looking for several products of different brands, so we traversed several aisles with each brand advertising its wares with pictures of what passes for beautiful models according to the fashion industry.

I should say here that I am generally a hermit. I don’t go out of my cave much. My wife does most of the shopping, and I certainly have not had any occasion to go into a make up aisle in my memory, except for when helping my mother. I also don’t watch television and use an ad blocker with my browser. I generally am not inundated by commercials or advertisements and have no idea what the latest fashion trends may happen to be. I also work from home and make money through the Internet. In other words, I am totally clueless on the fashion scene and have been blissfully so for decades.

Beauty from Ashes

 


“To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit
of despair.” — Isaiah 61:3

Seven years ago, a mountain in southern Iceland called Eyjafjallajökull erupted. This caused an enormous emission of smoke and ash that covered large areas of northern Europe. Consequently, the majority of European flights from April 14 to 20, 2010 were cancelled, creating the highest level of air travel disruption since the Second World War. Twenty countries closed their airspace to commercial jet traffic and it affected about 10 million travelers. By April 21, the eruption had ended. Since no further lava or ash was being produced, the crisis was declared over and flights returned to normal.

But life would never be normal again for the many homes and farms in the countryside around Eyjafjallajökull. The toxic ash had killed their livestock and crops and rendered their soil useless. Many families moved away, others sold all their holdings and changed their livelihoods. But a small, enterprising number of Icelanders stayed. Rather than curse the ashes that had obliterated their former lives, they took them and turned them into new sources of income. One of the most successful was soap.