Saturday, 04 June 2005

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Ultra-Freudian Pre-Freudian Thought: Bosoms & The Aesthetic Faculty [NOT cross-posted to the Valve] According to the June 6, 1885 edition of Medical News, physicians "believe the love of the beautiful has greatly lessened." The human race, laments the anonymous author, ignored Oscar Wilde and "moved steadily on, trampling under foot all flowers in its persistent pursuit of the utilities, though a big helianthus was waved before them in passionate remonstrance." Because of this deplorable situation, "the average man and woman plod on in life, giving more attention to justice and truth...than they do to beauty." Such a situation cannot be allowed to continue. Therefore, our anonymous oracle exhorts, "we must [find] the source of the love of the beautiful, the fountain of the aesthetic, and see whether the evil so greatly mourned does not originate there." This "fountain," he avers, are "woman's [boobs]."* If women had no breasts, there would be no love of the beautiful possible for the human race. The Amazons, those unhappy creatures who took off one of their breasts, became celebrated as athletes, but not as aesthetes. That the female breast is beautiful we might prove by showing that it has the chief characteristics, such as its lines, color, and smoothness, which Plato indicated in Philenus, as essential to beauty. Our anonymous philosopher knows how to hustle Victorian sensibilities: Plato said boobs are the foundation of aesthetic experience. Who are you to refute Plato? In the unlikely event that his Platonic gropings further inflamed the passions of his readers, our author concedes that his argument need not rely on the supple curves, the milk-white flesh, or the gentle undulations of her delicately dimpled bosom, her profferred fruit heaving under the, uh, need not rely on the Platonic appreciation of breasts: [W]e prefer at once explaining its connection with the aesthetic faculty, which can be best done by quoting from [Erasmus] Darwin's Zoonomia. Erasmus Darwin in this work, which in some respects is as remarkable as any of the productions of his illustrious grandson, Charles Darwin, tells us that soon after a babe "is born into this cold world it is applied to its mother's warm bosom...which the infant embraces with its hands, presses with its lip and watches with its eyes, and thus acquires accurate ideas of its form. Its pleasure at length becomes associated with its form. And hence in our maturer years when any object is presented to us, which by its waving [?] or spiral [?] lines bears any similitude to this form--whether it be found in a landscape with soft gradations of rising and descending surface, or in the form of some antique vases, or in the works of pencil or chisel--we feel a generous glow of delight." E. Darwin's reprehensible heteronormativity notwithstanding--Some Gay Guy certainly feels no "generous glow of delight" when encountering lines of Man or Nature resembling pale mounds of swollen flesh--I'm inclined to agree with the conclusion our anonymous author draws from him: In short, the use of the nursing bottle is the cause of the...
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One Academic Writer's Perspective on the Emetic Prose of his Shallow, Supercilious & Unblocked Peers [Cross-posted over yonder.] I’m a terrible writer. But you? You write and write and write, blithely unaware that every word you put to paper is further evidence of your awesome incompetence. There you sit, a marvel of scholarly productivity, oblivious to the effect the evacuations of your incontinent mind will have upon your audience. You write. Your complex palaver about the problems you’ve invented to identify and solve concerns you alone. You write. You entertain fancies of your imminent importance when you think no one’s around: royalty checks in whole dollars; a permanent place on trendy syllabi; a course-packet apotheosis. You write. I hate you. Still you write. You should see reflected in your words those of Ambrose Beirce: Self-esteem, n. An erroneous appraisement. No doubt your inattention to the matter of your audience will have no effect on the acceptance of your ideas. But what if you did pay attention to your audience. What would you produce then? A readable book, a potential best-seller like Mark McGurl’s The Novel Art or Tom Lutz’s American Nervousness: 1903? Do you think the quality of your prose alters your readers’ experience of it? Whose prose do you emulate? To whom do you turn when you want to steal that turn of phrase? One of those literary types you’re always yammerin’ on about? Another scholar? Because you really need help. You’re a terrible writer.

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