insegnaci ad amare la nostra pazzia

Du, lass dich nicht verhaerten in dieser harten Zeit- Du, lass dich nicht verbittern in dieser bitteren Zeit (Wolf Bierman) Che pretesa essere amati da adulti se non ti hanno mai amato da bambino (A Busi) Hvad man ikke har haft som barn, faar man aldrig nok siden af (Tove Ditlevsen) To live without hope, to work without love (Virginia Woolf)

Friday, June 17, 2005

tirannia della bellezza

People say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and to a certain extent this is a fact: one sees many so-called "beautiful people" madly in love with persons who are, to all intents and purposes, quite plain. Also, certain physical characteristics which are universally looked down upon may prove rather attractive to others.

Miss Brodie won't brood on the phenomenology of aesthetic representation in its human bodily incarnation. Though she may be a sexpert, she is certainly not an expert on the rules of shapely attraction. She will confine herself here on the political aspects of the tyranny of beauty and on the implications this has on daily intercourse among humans.

Beauty lies in detail. The mind, the inner eye, focuses on some particular feature from which a larger picture later emerges, largely imaginary though nonetheless real to the admirer. This may be a particularly square jaw, a rather impressively bulging biceps, an extremely hairy pair of solid, athletic legs, as is the case for miss B, or an oversize breast, sensuous lips and shapely buttocks, as may be the case for others. No matter, in each case it is a question of zeroing in on a "minor" detail and then adapting your biological zoom to factor in the other bits. Some people are overly zealous, not to say prissy about what they see. Others - miss Brodie among them - are rather more laissez-faire.

Regardless, however, of what you may or may not find attractive, it is a fact that beauty exerts a powerful influence on people. It is considered "natural" (and according to some psychologists there are objectively measurable, biological factors that explain people's aesthetic preferences) for people to want to stay in the presence of beautiful people, to accord them advantages over plain/ugly people. Apparently even animals have cottoned on to the "cutesie" factor to curry favour with a rival or even a predator (miss Brodie's brothers nag her about this in connection with the cutesie strategies relentlessly adopted by her two cats and to which she invariably succumbs...).

There may well be a biological explanation to all this (or, to use the term currently in vogue, a genetic one) and yet if culture has taught us anything it is that nature is what humans where put on earth to rise above. Every time one accords favours, extends preferences, grants advantages - in one's personal as well as professional life - to a dumb blonde or a musclebound Big Jim, one is being exploited, one's lack of better judgment is being taken advantage of.

This explains why lots of otherwise unremarkable people, not to say grossly if not criminally incompetent, land some of the better jobs and key positions in social life, even if the only talent they have is a huge pair of boobs, a winning though idiotic smile or an oversize dick. In some countries this is more evident - Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Brazil - in others it is less apparent but still the case - the UK, the US, Germany, the Nordic countries.

"What cannae be cured maun be endured", as the Scottish saying goes, and yet, even if Miss Brodie knows that the situation is hopeless, that this is a fact of life for which no remedy is available, she still thinks that it is better to be aware of it and damn it,even if one is powerless to change it, than to live under its spell in a cloud of unknowing while all the time succumbing to it.


At June 17, 2005 5:53 pm, Blogger liseuse© said...

Tutto drammaticamente vero. Solo che, secondo me, ne siamo consci tutti: se ne sono coscie le sgallettate della tv che usano la loro avvenenza per "arrivare", vuoi che qualcuno ancora non lo sappia? (sempre che abbia interpretato giustamente l'ultimo paragrafo)
A volte mi verrebbe da fare il discorso opposto. Il punto non è la bellezza, che davvero ha possibilità abbastanza ampie (quante volte uno che io trovo bello magari un'amica me lo sega senza pietà? - grazie al cielo - magari per sottigliezze), ma la bruttezza. Quella con la B maiuscola, quella che è totale mancanza di armonia, quella...quella mi lascia sempre annichilita, perché purtroppo uccide ogni mio idealismo, nonostante le mie lotte.

At June 20, 2005 3:24 pm, Blogger miss brodie said...

certo che hai interpretato bene, ma miss B non è così sicura che tutti ne siano consapevoli. troppe persone intorno a lei non vogliono ammettere di farsi influenzare dal fattore bellezza nei loro giudizi e/o comportamenti.
quanto alla bruttezza (Hai già letto "I brutti anatroccoli", di Piergiorgio Paterlini ? leggilo)credo che sia sempre un aspetto della stessa medaglia. saper vedere oltre il fisico è una conquista ma credo che nessuno abbia voglia, checché ne dica, di imbarcarsi in tale avventura. c'è già troppo dolore, troppa noja, troppa stanchezza nel mondo così com'è, per voler combattere la tirannia di qualcosa che ci gratifica e ci consola della bruttezza del mondo e delle nostre vite.

At June 21, 2005 7:28 pm, Anonymous rose said...

oggi arrivo preparata – sono finalmente in grado di cogliere tutte le citazioni del racconto di Muriel Spark!


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