Tuesday, January 10, 2012

We are not undemanding, are we

Don't we make a study of faces?
We have hopes, that we bring to
faces, and not to pictures of
anything else. I'm sure this has
been written about, but I have
not read the book or the essay,
some few excepted. I am remiss;
I've spent more time reading in
the philosophy and psychology
of hearing - in which, also, 
there is nothing obvious - and
too little in the study of our
study of faces. I would not care
to be an expert in the matter,
surprise and mystery and delight
being as important as they are
to me.

Almost every day, some days more
than once, there is a face posted
here, to exhibit a point which I
try to develop in writing. Some-
times rather a lot of the body is
shown, or some gesture, but al-
most always I happen to be think-
ing of the narrative of the face
which the body enacts. Henry James
did not do this; he built faces
from the inside, out; and I ob-
serve that what I see in a face
is what I see inside a character
to whom I am attached. This face,
which I know to be professionally
apt and variously presented, has
been published here exactly in
this way, and has come up on my
desktop every morning for years.
I still look into it. It's not
just a stylised exemplification
of an ancient standard; it's an
indefatigably interlocutory prod.

This, previously published here,
is a face I wish to restore to
this page, through the sordid
spectacle in New Hampshire. I
will not comment on its conclu-
sion. What could be the point?
But I wish also to turn away
from this spectacle, which I
apprehended would be enervating
to the page, as it has been, to
my way of thinking. Yet the num-
bers of readers it has drawn
have exceeded the highest ever
to come here; and I suppose, 
for the reason that others 
wish to get away from it, but 
with some sympathy for their 
view of it.

It's a handsome face, bred in
generosity. Let's assimilate 
this, and study what is beneath 
it, that we carry. Let's be 
grateful to each other for car-
rying it. Today, we observe a-
gain the advancement of folly
against our soul. We will turn
that, and we will see it. 

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