jacktellslies: (dandy)
From the fashion designer, Tom Ford:

There’s one indulgence every man should try in his lifetime: If you’re straight, sleep with a man at least once, and if you’re gay, don’t go through life without sleeping with a woman. Either way, you might be surprised at how natural it will feel if you can get past the mind-fuck of stereotypes. In the end, it’s just another person that you are relating to in a physical way.

jacktellslies: (egon schiele)
A small child, a boy of about four with a delightful mohawk, saw me sunning on a bench on the sidewalk. He asked his father what a cowboy was doing there, and his father, as parents always do when their children attempt to discus anything interesting, denied there being any. The child pointed to me and explained that I, obviously, was a cowboy. I was wearing rolled up brown trousers, a waistcoat with no shirt underneath it, and the brown bowler hat that Parker just bought for me, so, really, his father should have seen that it was entirely my fault. In my defense, it has been quite warm in the city these past few days. I suppose I'll have to be at least slightly more reasonable in the future.

At long last, I've managed to hunt down my favourite thing to drink when I was living in Dublin. I've been doing nothing these past four years but looking for what is in Ireland a cider called Bulmers, and in the States is apparently a cider called Magners. It is less sweet than most of the ciders I've found here, more crisp. Now I need blackcurrant juice, which is used there to flavour it a bit for ladies and fags, and I can spend the next four years doing nothing but drinking. Sobriety has been a complete waste of my time, and I'm done with it.

By the by, I was completely surprised to find that any of you chose to die honourably. [livejournal.com profile] chefkatsuya, being unparalleled in manliness, has an excuse. Take as comfort the theory that Queen Zenobia, too, may have starved herself to death on the way to Rome. (Or she may have been pardoned and set up in a villa somewhere, and lived to see her daughters married to Roman senators.) Honour? Really. I hadn't the slightest idea.
jacktellslies: (sebastian)
I've walked all of South Philadelphia in the past week. Although you'd never expect it, there are temples and shrines hidden there: statues sheltered, incense and candles burnt, and coins, flowers, songs, cigarettes, oranges, and, in one case, orange soda, offered to the Virgin, and to saints, and to goddesses whose names I don't know.

I've not been to mass, but my thoughts have been with the season. I peek into the doors of churches when they are open. I bless myself in the street.

In celebration of Holy Week, I offer the following selection from The Sexuality of Christ in Renaissance Art and in Modern Oblivion by Leo Steinberg:

Roger van der Weyden's Crucifixion... )

As a compositional artifice, this banner loincloth is an inspired invention. It resolves a pictorial problem posed by conventional Crucifixion designs - the problem of vacant flanks in the middle zone of the field between crossbeam and horizon. By means of a gorgeous flutter flaring forth from the center, the blanks are repleted and animated; and so felicitous is the solution that its aptness on grounds other than formal has never been challenged. No one has questioned the wisdom of making such pageantry of a breechcloth; or grudged its turbulence as a wind gauge where no breath is stirring; nor its plausibility in a narrative that calls for the least covering of a victim whose garments are the coveted loot of his executioners.

The full deployment of this invention, as of so many, appears to be due to Roger van der Weyden (Campin perhaps cooperating...). In several of Roger's
Crucifixions, the spare aprons of the earlier masters unfurl into flying banners, buoyed up by an indwelling breeze where all else is becalmed. By 1500, these streamers winging the sacred loins glorify most German crucifixes... - often over-abundantly, as if less were lèse majesté. Yet, ostensibly, still a loincloth. Only the inherent metaphoricity of Renaissance realism could exalt this humblest of garments to such efflorescence, and convert the ostentatio genitalium decently into a fanfare of cosmic triumph.

Christ, dying, graced us with innumerable examples. The sartorial lesson, though it may be least among them, still should not be forgotten. What you wear matters less than the manner in which you wear it. I like frivolous morals, and I would count this among them if the churches themselves did not seem to remember it. Altars are stripped bare on Holy Saturday. When they are revealed in their naked sorrow, the most inspired and elaborate of altar cloths are made to seem guilty of obscuring holy stone.
jacktellslies: (egon schiele)
There are a great many reasons to distrust today's furs. However, I'm rarely in favour of prohibition. Criticism should not mean that we stop doing a thing altogether, but that we should find a better way to do it. In short, as always, I trust hunter-gatherer societies more than I do agrarian ones, and everything must die, but nothing should be made to suffer. That, however, is not the problem.

The true atrocity being committed is that people are wearing fur without possessing taste or personality enough to warrant it. I, for one, am enraged.

First and foremost: do not wear ugly furs. Just don't.

Wearing a coat as if thirty dead rodents happened to fall on top of you and you did not bother to take them off is really not acceptable. Because they are dead. Rather than ignoring the fact, or being crass about it, I would encourage those who wear fur to treat each fallen beast as a martyr to the cause of aesthetics. The coat is a grotto, a shrine to their memory, and you enter it to worship. Owners of furs, if you cannot convince me that you are a god for whom the sacrifice of several unspotted, perfect beasts was necessary and deserved, I really must insist that you stop wearing them. Kali-ma does not slump in her skirt and necklace. She dances.

I've been researching this. I've been looking at photographs of the old film stars, queens of the Harlem Renaissance, fat whorehouse madams. What I've discovered is that fur is meant to help the wearer in demonstrating that they look nice, and that they feel nice, too. I think, then, that the problem may be one of class. The bulk of the population to whom fur is accessible at this historical moment is not one that generally looks as if they want to be touched. They certainly wouldn't allow this impression to be made in public, which is, alas, where they insist on wearing their coats. In fact, since I've begun musing on this subject I've only seen fur being worn properly in person a handful of times, and on more than one occasion the coat in question was fake leopard print.

I'm saddened by the blatant misuse of fur because we castaways upon the shores of modernity should really be much better at it. We have tools available to us that our ancestors lacked. Mae West actually, truly, had to be the most desirable being on earth. Imagine the impossible concentration such a thing would have required! She was enlightened to the world of the flesh. Directing her energies towards other goals, we would have called her a mystic. But we young things can achieve more and less than her pure being. We are postmodernists! We should wear our furs accordingly! If one has the opportunity to deconstruct class, gender, power, and sexuality all in the way that one wears a coat while shopping for groceries, shouldn't one really do it?


jacktellslies: (Default)

August 2009

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