26 May 2012

Beauty-Gate, Synchronicity, and History



If you haven't been following the conversation that's been happening in the gay male poetry community about beauty, aesthetics, class, race, and privilege you can catch up with most of it HERE.

C. Dale Young has done a great job of collecting the multiplicity of voices and views on his blog. (Thanks C. Dale!)

In the time between the end of the spring semester and now, I have been in a Benedictine monastery, to Missoula, Montana, and am now nestled in a town on a bay shadowed by an active volcano.  I have also been reading.

While I have many opinions about beauty and aesthetics, I will let others enrich the conversation that is now happening.  Instead, I would like to share a quote that I came across tonight while reading Samuel Steward's pseudo-novel Parisian Lives.

Chapter 32: July 19, 1939


"The privileges of beauty are enormous.  By its mysterious alchemy the truck driver becomes a king, the delivery boy an emperor.  We are the willing subjects of the one to whom it is given.  He can trample us with his boots, demand outrageous tribute, and we forgive him everything.  We voluntarily blind ourselves so we can no longer see our ruler's arrogance or treachery or inadequacy.  He is baffled to see us prostrate before him.  Come, he says--rise and look into my face.  We turn our blinded eyes upon him an feel the warmth and radiance of his presence, and in our trancelike mindless state we do his bidding like a captive Trilby* before her master."

Whether true or not, I felt it was something to think on further, my quarter to keep the music playing.


*Trilby O'Ferrall, the novel's (titled Trilby, published in 1894) heroine, is a half-Irish girl working in Paris as an artists' model and laundress; all the men in the novel are in love with her


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