Monday, August 18, 2008

Of blogs and bosoms
Hear me now, oh, the bleak and unbearable world:
Thou art base and debauched as can be
And a knight with his banner all bravely unfurled
Now hurls down his gauntlet to thee!
His nearest-and-dearest mock him for it. Even the most "successful" (that is: brash, pushy, meretricious and mercenary) of the local blog-artists have taken the time vulgarly to abuse him for it.

He ploughs his solitary furrow regardless.

He has never, even to himself, fully described what he aims to do.
To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go.
To dream, in hope of doing: that is the point. Entirely and only to his own satisfaction, for he is his own most demanding critic.

Then he sees an example and expostulates, as his sixth-form history-teacher would to a correct answer, like an Archimedes brought to Dublin: "That's it! That's it!".

And all is, for the moment, made clear.

Thus Malcolm, through a the end of a bottle of burgundy, darkly.

Item: Stanley Fish

Stanley has been at, with, and through half the American Universities of worth (sometimes, it seems, simultaneously): UPenn, Yale, Berkeley, Johns Hopkins, Duke, Chicago, to arrive at FIU. He is one of those scholars that other wannabes now write their theses about.

He has pulpits in
half the liberal trendy publications of North America; but, for Malcolm, chiefly via the New York Times.

Today, Stanley is lauding the great sex-symbols of his youth:
... two of the most erotic moments one can find on film feature no nudity and bodies just touching.
They are:
  • the 1951 A Place in the Sun, [which] pairs a ravishing 18-year-old Elizabeth Taylor with Montgomery Clift
  • 1955’s Picnic, [where] the sparks fly between Kim Novak, then 22, and William Holden.
Steady, Stanley!

Let's clear up any ... err ... ambiguities here:
  • A 30-odd year old bisexual (to be generous), hitting on teenage Liz?
  • A 37-year old Holden, who had been Ronnie Reagan's best man, appreciating Kim's impressive cleavage?
Yeah: well.

The rest of this worthy essay is a defence of Novak as an actress and zeitgeist. Fish's conclusion is:
“that kind of image” — of the inwardly fragile beauty dependent on the men who wish only to possess her — was no longer what the movie-going public was looking for after the early ‘60s, and that model of female behavior has not come into favor again (although Scarlett Johansson comes close to reviving it in some of her movies, especially Woody Allen’s “Match Point”). But however retrograde it may be, that role was performed to perfection by Kim Novak, who, after all these years, can still break your heart.
Ahem ... say no more.

Malcolm found this piece a fair example of what he, himself, would like regularly to achieve: a piece of candy-floss spun into something of substance. Here we have a good holiday frisk for a mid-August frolic, but with a hard edge to it.

Allowing for Stanley's more advanced age, Malcolm's own prejudice might tend to embrace those great Thespians, Tuesday Weld and the late Sandra Dee (which adjective makes Malcolm feel antique).

Oh dear, a preference for blondes.

Still, let's not tell Malcolm's dark lady of all these years.

There is a serious point lurking somewhere here.

A large number of our prejudices are formed very early in our lives, and that's not merely the (attributed) Jesuit dogma.

Our sporting allegiance is certainly likely to be cemented in our early teens (hence Malcolm's regular Sunday morning rendezvous with the doings of Norwich City). The fantasy female (or whatever way one wags) follows soon after.

So, where do we acquire our social idealism?
And the world will be better for this
That one man scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star.

Sphere: Related Content

No comments:

Subscribe with Bloglines International Affairs Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory
Add to Technorati Favorites