Tuesday, January 3, 2012

We have been practicing, "firm, but not disagreeable"

A candid word among readers
on the menace of kryptonite.

The path in us is not natively slippery, between being firm and fair; but we find that the element of disagreeableness, which is so alien to nature, is inimical to both qualities at once; so that no sooner is the one infected, than the other degenerates as well. It is not merely the business, not merely the sanctified purpose and secular sport of many who lay siege to the highest levels of public life, but indeed sometimes their raison d'être, to wreak this degradation in our culture as a lingering, dilatory wasting death, to which they can turn in periodic revival of their career, to entrench the brutality that pays them. With what relief then, we receive reports of fine defenses to kryptonite.

We surmise (on some evidence of the hour) that 2012 may turn unsportingly contentious, a tone we find enervating and distracting. But apart from these wasteful qualities, its effects upon the brow can be quite severe, whence my cosmetician sent me home with this tonsorial compress, as a kind of rhet-orical brise-soleil; and I'm admon-ished to leave it on until retiring for the evening. Who knew, by the way, that monastic bangs would make a comeback so unanimously these days, as the parrying device that they are to brusque remark of all kinds? I'm reluctant to affect the tonsure that goes with this prophylaxis, but that would expand the zone for ink, if one were so inclined. What should one inscribe there, I wonder? Semper fi? 

One can get used to these helmets, almost, but there is the question of the tanline to consider. For my part, I am adamantly committed to the elegance of the tanline; but I've never contemplated that demar-cation of the face which must tran-spire from this present course of treatment. I think a sudden swath of white might place too great a burden on the eyes to harmonise with each sector, as some demilitarised zone, and not as the very fount of one's appeal. Probably already my cosmetician is confecting some nice paste to blend (blowing one's chance to say, meld) one's features into some comparatively coherent frame, should they happen to be exposed.

It almost seems to me that it might be more expedient, in the end, for some wildly butch establishment like Lagerfeld's or Dior, to improvise a prêt-a-porter wordscreen for guys against the shards of politics this season. I would hate to give up swimming, just because some Republican might become audible without warning; and one can't linger, like some mortgage of their invention, underwater all the time. I wonder if there's a dietary supplement to blanch the tirades of talkshows, before they enter the system; but I resist emulating their depen-dency. Yet the cloister, too, is plainly not a place for me. Tell me, do they still grin and bare it where you are?

vii  photograph Bruce Weber

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