In Praise Of Beauty

Long before I watched The Saint, I’d read all the books, by Leslie Charteris.

I count it as one of the saddest moments of my grown up life having found out that Leslie Charteris didn’t in fact write most of them, but farmed them out to other writers who were going to a tough spot and that he often didn’t say them. The last one is the material point. I don’t hold it against any of my favorites getting work done in whatever way. After all, the book is the book. You do the best you can with it. If you can’t write it for whatever reason and outsource it, that’s fine. So long as you make sure afterwards that you edit it so it matches the previous style, that’s okay with me. It was the fact that he stiffed fellow word-harvesters, including Heinlein that truly broke my heart.

Robert A. Heinlein, of course, didn’t let him have the story he hadn’t paid for. Instead, he filed serial numbers and released it as “They do it with mirrors.”

I don’t actually remember at what age I first watched the Saint. I want to say I was eight, but as I pointed out, in my memory, I pretty much was 3, 8 or 13. Sometimes 16. The other ages don’t seem to exist.

But of course, for the little girl who liked Robin Hood, the saint was catnip. And whatever age I was, I was old enough to appreciate Roger Moore’s looks. Though young enough to have no idea why I liked them.

I didn’t realize until we started re-watching them that the first series aired in the US before I was born. To be fair, the run in Portugal was probably at least 10 years later, since the Portuguese usually got these series as bargain, so they were either really not very successful, or very old.

Anyway, because we live in clown world, and because clown world has decided it needs to mess with even my innocent pastimes, like watching British mysteries, by making them increasingly, every year, both woke and nonsensical, as we were flipping around the many things available for free — mostly old or not very successful, but that’s fine — my husband and I realized that we both had enjoyed the Saint, but neither of us remembered much about it.

So, we decided to watch it at night, after we deal with various… duties and annoyances,. We sit on the loveseat and cuddle, and I do my crochet as a wind down towards bed.

Yeah, some things have struck us as funny or, you know, just not very convincing, like the fist fights. Dan says part of this is because of the fixed camera issue. They simply filmed with only one camera, so they had less latitude to pull punches while appearing not to, or something. I’m not sure I understand any of that, since I don’t in fact know much about filming and photography. (Or no more than I’ve learned playing with DAZ3D)

But black and white and all — because, well, as we all know the world was black and white till about 1967. I don’t remember it that way, only because I was very young, but we have the historical documents. — we’ve been enjoying it. I won’t say the plots are much better than TV these days. They’re not. Though this series has managed to surprise me once or twice.

It is interesting to watch their blind spots, versus current blind spots. I’ll stay silent– No, heck, I won’t.

I was amused, though not offended, at the Saint’s advice that one of his clients (?) spank his woman to earn her respect. On the face of it I’d say that was ridiculous — more or less ridiculous than current film makers’ tendency to make any smart female lesbian, I can’t say. Both annoy me — but given the success of Fifty Shades, perhaps he was correct. Not being a typical female, I don’t know. Anyway laying hands on me in any way I didn’t wish him to, or in any way that caused pain usually lived to regret it. (I mean, the regretting was a given. I think most of them lived. I didn’t check in a couple of cases, so who knows? Also, it was long ago and memory is hazy.) And though I can understand power games in bed (well, it’s much easier to write, for one, because there’s a clear line to follow) I never understood pain. Perhaps because I was sufficiently spanked as a child to associate it with punishment.

On the other hand, despite the fact that we all know, as we’re told so endlessly, the women of that time were horribly oppressed and treated as nothing but objects, I’ve found that the women depicted tend to be of the same kind as those that make good characters today: self actuated, independent, and quite capable of pulling a fast one on the men.

I don’t know, something must be wrong, since obviously — we’ve been told — women in sixty one and sixty two were complete slaves of men, never seen outside without being in chains and wearing an apron (which as we’ve been told is a symbol of subjection, and not something that protects your clothes.)

Perhaps the film makers of the sixty just continuously and consciously lied to us? I mean…. surely it can’t be that today’s mavens are completely insane and suffer from excessive presentism, having been lifted to positions of cultural influence through either strict and loud adherence to Marxist views or diversity that consists in having an interesting skin shade, sleeping with people other than the most commonly expected, or styling themselves as something quite different. Or of course through yes.

Thank you to whomever just slapped my back. I did have a piece of snark stuck in my throat. Hopefully the cats don’t eat it.

Anyway, we’ve been doing this for a week and change, and yesterday it hit me, and I confessed in some dismay that though it’s not the main reason I’m watching it, Roger Moore’s looks, such as they were, are part of the reason that I’m enjoying this rewatching.

My husband laughed at my chagrin, and said, and I quote “So?”

Which is about par for the course, because you know… I have never resented his ogling beautiful young women. Why should I?

Provided neither of us builds a fantasy life in which because someone is prettier or younger (often prettier because younger) than our spouse, they must also be what we want, the sheer enjoyment in watching a beautiful person of the opposite (or same. I mean, not for us, but whatever does it for you) sex is… rather innocent. It’s an aesthetic pleasure, comparable to watching a beautiful sunset, or admiring a gorgeous sculpture, only more so because human and the sex one is attracted to.

I never understood the entire crazy-hole-in-the-head of feminists and other ists who think that because you enjoy looking at someone and admire the way they look, you are objectifying them.

I honestly don’t know a blessed thing about Roger Moore the person, nor am I even vaguely interested. I know he died recently. I also know he was a very good actor (the expressions in The Saint are…. speaking, so to put it. Even if it’s played a bit over the top, as it should be.) I suspect his political opinions were appalling — actors’ opinions tend to be — and … Well, I just don’t care much one way or another.

Is enjoying watching him act, when he was young, and not caring the least what he thought or how he lived “objectification”? Likely if he were female and I male, the feminists would accuse me of it.

But the truth is this: I like beauty. I — being female and heterosexual — particularly like male beauty. Particularly well-groomed male beauty, of a type that is increasingly hard to find.

Beauty is, at any rate, rare. Most people aren’t beautiful. They’re okay. They pass. But they are not beautiful. Worse, very few of those remain good looking as they age. (And seeing a picture of Roger Moore in his old age was very sad, really.) Some do, but those are even rarer than those that are beautiful as young people.

Even though the Roger Moore of the Saint is young enough to be my kid now, I can enjoy his beauty captured on film and rejoice we live in an age of miracles, when such can be captured and enjoyed long after the person aged and died.

I don’t see any reason to feel guilty. If you enjoy my words, I don’t also demand you know what I look like much less find me ravishing (I was all right when I was young, but never ravishing at this time, at this weight, at this age, if you find me ravishing, I recommend a psychiatrist..)

It was important to me, of course, that my husband have an interest in me beyond the way I looked when we got married. Mostly because I knew my genetics, and that things would go downhill look-wise fairly quickly (How quickly and how far downhill was the only surprise.) In my relationship with him, it was important that he like both the way I looked and the way I thought, and the second one a little more, since it’s likely to last longer. (Though not permanent, either. You change. Everyone does.)

But for the vast majority of people out there, supposing someone stumbles on my picture of me at 19 and takes pleasure from it, I don’t require they know who I am, or what I enjoy, or even that I exist and am not an AI creation.

Beauty is damn rare. And we should enjoy it where and when we can.

Because it is all too fleeting. As is life. Which was going to be the theme of today’s post and will probably be tomorrow’s, but I spent the night dreaming of the solution to Dyce’s book, and having figured it out, I want to write it.

Which I should have been doing all this time, but things sidewayed (totally a word) at speed today, so I’m only now about to start.

Go forth and look at something or someone beautiful today.

And take sometime to sit with someone you love and watch something old, or silly or interesting and unwind a bit.

And then return to the fight. Because it’s clown world. You can’t go go go all the time. You’ll wear yourself out.

So take a breath. And then get back to work.

243 thoughts on “In Praise Of Beauty

    1. Either that, or it will create a Singularity of Snark, remaking the world as we know it.

      Which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, mind you, but definitely something to prepare for.

  1. May I recommend that when you finish with The Saint, watch the single season of The Persuaders he did with Tony Curtis? Campy fun, both in their prime. Almost sorry Moore left it to do Bond.

    1. I would recommend Remmington Steele. It’s showing on Prime right now. I knew Brosnan needed to be Bond at some point because of that show…

    1. She and John Wayne had excellent on-screen chemistry. (Talk about beauty, both of them!)

      And John Wayne’s on-screen daughter being spanked by his real life son. LOL! (The daughter having had the choice of suitors from Patrick Wayne or Jerry VanDyke, no question about who would win!)

    2. If we’re talking Wayne and O’Hara we also shouldn’t leave out “The Quiet Man”. That also has a bit of physicality that feels like It comes from the Taming of the Shrew… And yes amazing chemistry between the two of them. Suitable for the day tomorrow 🙂 .

      1. March 17 is also Daddy Daughter movie night this year. Guess what movie is on the agenda?

        “Here’s a nice stick to beat the lady with”

        1. Both of my daughters love that movie. Partly because they are both fiery redheads (though not quite so fiery/spicy as the Heroine) and admire O’Hara, More because of John Wayne in his prime. In particularly we were watching when elder daughter was 13-14 and she became entranced in the scene where Wayne and O’Hara get stuck in the rain and our hero becomes wet white shirt beefcake for a bit. That made Daddy sit up and take notice :-).

      2. “Easy now. Easy now! Is this a courtin’ or a donnybrook? Have the good manners not ta hit the man until he’s your husband, and entitled to hit ya back.” ~ “The Quiet Man”

        There’s an etiquette you don’t see these days.

    3. And The Quiet Man with that epic walk back from the train station where a sweet little old Irish woman tried to hand him a stick to beat the “lovely lady” with.

  2. The enjoyment of human beauty is hardwired into our DNA. Regular features, the curve of a woman’s hips or a man’s jaw, these things cross all cultural boundaries. They are human traits. Deny it as they will, all humans are initially attracted to these things.

    I may not see the beauty in certain pieces of “art” which resemble more trash than any honest aesthetic to me. Or I might disagree with certain tastes as not for me. Not a fan of haggis, me. Nor certain kinds of fish, no matter how tastefully presented.

    But, though tastes may vary, the ability to appreciate beauty is something uniquely human. Like happiness, we all want it. A good smile and an honest laugh only enhance a person’s attractiveness, as well, just as a poisonous demeanor and foul expression are repellent.

    One can get too close, though. I have known, oh, many women that could be legitimately called beautiful over the years. The number of those with truly vile personalities is depressingly high. I find it best to enjoy such persons at a distance. Say, a continent away.*

    One of the things that never fails to inspire, unlike we fallible humans, is the beauty of music. The innocent joy of pets (well, perhaps not so innocent sometimes- cats, what can one say?). Tasty dishes consumed to repletion.

    This is why a good story lasts. It touches something beyond the surface, deep within us. It is why those Ur stories of old still hang around. The Hero’s Journey. The Boy Meets Girl. The Fall From Grace. The Redemption Arc. Like beauty, they don’t depend on something as fickle as personal taste.

    When life serves you beauty, in whatever form it shows itself, take a moment to appreciate it. It will not be wasted, this I promise you.

    *:only because practical space travel is not viable at the current time.

  3. Thanks for the post!

    I consider myself a quirky sort of aesthete, and I think those who know me well (or have seen the decor of my dorm room) would agree. Something about the vampire’s-castle-look just delights me. Not to mention fantasy art of ancient temples, labyrinthine libraries, underground complexes lit by fire and magma…

    For whatever reason, the main evil cult in the book I’m writing idolizes a similar sort of beauty, which of course perverts it from its purpose.

    (Beauty, truth, and goodness being powerful desires of the human heart, problems arise when you pick one and neglect the others. Truth without beauty or goodness becomes cruel, hateful, and meant to wound. Goodness without truth or beauty becomes either the sort of weaponized empathy the woke tend to expound, or self-righteous hypocrisy… oh, we’re back to the woke again. Beauty without truth or goodness is deceitful and even deadly – see anorexia and bulimia for examples.)

  4. I’m told that I have a “courtly manner” and one of my great pleasures is making pretty girls giggle by bowing them through a door before me. Pretty Girls and Elegant Women are among the greatest of life’s pleasures, Elegant women the more so as there’s artifice involved.

    One of the ways I know I’m not the crazy one among a sea of sane people is that the current crop can’t make a pretty thing, never mind a beautiful one. All I have to do is take the ferry into NYC and look at the lopsided, jagged, poorly proportioned new buildings or drive around my neighborhood looking at the McMansions where it’s obviously just a cut and paste of assorted, flat, applied architectural details on massive, unbalanced, asymmetric houses where you can’t find the bloody front door because it’s not where it’s supposed to be and the architects obviously have no idea of light and shade at all. My house is very modest, but the proportions are good and the front door, which we never use, is in the middle where it belongs.

    The sad fact of the matter is one has to be educated into such ugliness and Lewis was absolutely spot on in That Hideous Strength..

    1. If I ever hire an architect for a house out at Tierra de Balzacq, screening them will involve questions like “do you think Corbusier should have been strangled in his crib?” and “should houses be artistic or comfortable?”

      Also, I ran across the Instagram account of a guy who does AI architecture. The Hobbit/Hufflepuff-inspired ones are amazing; if only one could build such houses for less than five million dollars.

        1. You should browse the rest of the account. He has Ravenclaw/Gryffindor/Slytherin common rooms, dark kitchens, treehouse nooks, etc. etc. It’s amazing that he can generate them and tart them up in Photoshop so quickly.

        2. Off white, tan, and brown work with that wood and those windows. Yellow, I don’t think so. Too seventies. I lived in a seventies house, and it didn’t work even then.

        3. Seriously. The Ravenclaw and Slytherin work he did was very cool, too, and I’m guessing probably more to your tastes given what you’ve said about your own preferences in dress and decor. 😉

          1. Actually not. The Slytherin rooms are too dark, the Ravenclaw rooms look cold, and the Gryffindor rooms feel like a cathedral repurposed into a convention center.

            The yellow cast of the Hufflepuff rooms clearly comes from the house color in the books; if it were mine I would probably repaint to something on the warmer side of the spectrum but not that warm. I may wear lots of black and enjoy dancing to dark and creepy music, but I like rooms that are filled with light and have lots of comfortable furniture. And bookcases.

            1. I was referring more to Lady Eleanor, though I can see where I wasn’t clear so no worries. 🙂 I prefer cooler colors myself so I think I’d probably enjoy one of those rooms more.

          2. I don’t have an Instagram account, but what I saw of his work was incredible. I spotted one that was definitely Slytherin (couch in an underwater room with arched windows), and that is both breathtakingly beautiful and just plain cool.

              1. That’s a better Slytherin room than any I’ve ever seen. Too dark to live in, but it’d be a great place to have a drink and a fascinating conversation.

                1. Agreed, it’d be great lounge to visit one night but not the sort of place I’d want in my house.

      1. Under 5 mil, not including property? Eh… Doable, in certain areas of the country. Depends a lot on the extras and the crew. If I ever do win the lottery that I do not play, I have… plans.

        Libraries. Courtyard. Columns. Arches. Expansive spaces. Gardens. A bloody kitchen worthy of cooking in every bloody day. Statuary, because why not. Private mausoleum maybe.

        1. Libraries. Courtyard. Columns. Arches. Expansive spaces. Gardens. *

          Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language (1977) can be a little hippy-dippy in the prose, but boy howdy was he right on about what built environments humans feel comfortable in.

          1. One of my favorites. I wanted to be an architect but completely lacked talent. Looking back, that lack of talent must have been very common as I can’t think of an attractive public building built in this country since the war.

            1. The blueprints and math/physics scared me off. Well, that and the thought that I’d probably never get jobs I wanted to work on, given the sorts of buildings typically created these days.

              Sure, if I could find the niche market for neo-classical/Gothic/Romanesque architecture, I’d probably do really well. The problem is finding those people and earning their business.

              1. At the “house” level of architecture, look up Sarah Susanka of the Not So Big House series. She has her quirks, but she’s definitely against the soulless McMansion style in favor of the comfortable and livable. I don’t know of anyone who’s doing whimsical, or doing historical American styles as anything other than renovations (and even most of the renovations I’ve seen have been along the lines of “keep the Greek Revival facade and front house and build a modern ell off the back that doesn’t match at all” [ptui]).

                As for public buildings, what people want when they’re actually surveyed is the Beaux Arts style of ~1880-1910. But the Elites™ don’t like that because they’ve been taught not to, so we get the Boston City Hall or the Seattle Public Library (gag).

                1. “the Seattle Public Library (gag).”

                  Hey, cleaning it gives the rock climbers something to do for cash in the off season.

                  Or so I’m told.

                2. The Boston City Hall building wants to crush human life and devour the souls of all who approach it.

                  The Seattle public library building gives me anxiety. That honeycomb of glass angled above my head…shudder…it’s like being imprisoned inside a geometric spiderweb. And there are photos taken from certain angles where it looks like an architectural interpretation of Darth Vader’s helmet.

                  Forget all the villains’ lairs you’ve seen in the movies. Postmodern architecture is what a cruel, poisonous hatred of humanity looks like.

              2. The blueprints shouldn’t be that bad. There is are some skillsets, some labor saving software, and a lot of book keeping. Part of the architectural plans would be the same sort of measured drawings that you would make for quite a lot of things.

                CAD software can be a massive time saver with measured drawings. There are two sorts, 2D, which is what architects and some others use, and 3D, which has other applications. AutoCAD is the standard commercial 2D software last I heard. LibreCAD might be a workable alternative.

                Houses would have a lot of bits, so there would be some complex book keeping in preparing plans that make sense and can be built. That would be the bit that makes learning from someone that designs houses pretty much necessary. Doing a blank sheet design on both a house and on your workflow for designing the house would be extremely expensive in time.

                I think the math and the physics would not be very bad, and at the level where just about anyone can learn if they want to strongly enough.

                Codes and standards do some of the heavy lifting on building design, but at the same time impose a wee bit of an additional barrier to learning.

                My personal ‘I wannas’ wrt to housing design involves HVAC. I think a lot of the codes and standards there are a bit garbage. My dream house must have is ducts that are not /lined/ with fiberglass. I would like to be also able to clean the inside surfaces of the ducts, but the trade offs to make that happen might be too brutal.

                1. Who lines ducts with fiberglass? Almost all duct work is sheet metal or flexible plastic, except for one system I’ve seen that’s a composite board. You wrap ducts in fiberglass if they’re going through unconditioned space, but you shouldn’t be doing that anyway.

                  1. It is my understanding that this is a new, last ten years, requirement for ‘energy efficiency’.

                    1. Not in any of the many many building science websites and channels that I follow. Ducts have to be insulated if they’re in unconditioned space (like an uninsulated attic or a crawl space), but the insulation goes on the outside. Else duct cleaning services would not be a thing. And trend is to not run them through unconditioned spaces at all.

                    2. It would be stupid to not insulate ducts that run through unconditioned spaces. The ducts in my house are run through the attic, because that’s the only place they can go. Of course they’re insulated. So is the plenum.

            2. Oh, there are architects of talent, to be sure.

              It’s just that for most of them, their natural taste has been beaten out of them in architecture school and replaced by Bezemovian cultural demoralization.

        2. My plans typically run as follows: set aside Tithe + a little extra and start parceling that out slowly, in multiple places.

          Then the tax man hauls away far too much in those brown bags with the dollar signs stitched on them.

          After that, start watching video tutorials on wise investment. Rewatch the Dave Ramsey videos on the same subject. Set a goodly percentage to accumulate more.

          Then have fun. If there’s enough, build a mansion in mountains somewhere with enough Gothic features to fall into the realm of maybe-a-castle. Ditto on library, courtyard, columns, and arches. Private mausoleum sounds awesome, even if there’s never any real bodies in it. Lots and lots of secret passages, and a freaking gorgeous chapel. A personal study (with secret door, of course), swords and other medieval weapons lining the walls…

          And now I’m trespassing into ‘Heavenly Mansion’ territory, because various things would probably not be feasible here on Earth. But it’s fun to daydream.

          1. At your age, just managing to put aside 10% come hell or high water will put you miles and miles ahead of most other people.

          2. My old telecom job, I got to see the guts of… many houses. Several stuck out.

            That mansion in the mountains with enough Gothic to fall into the “maybe a castle” exists. It’s friggin’ awesome. Ditch and a half to wire it for wifi properly. But gorgeous.

            Picture if you will a winding driveway. It is right at one mile and two hundred fifty yards of dirveway up a bloody mountain. Small one, but still.

            There is a lake off to your right visible through the trees. Old growth hardwoods, a few scrawny Eastern White Pines on the slopes. Sound of birds in the trees constantly. Deer wander across the drive.

            Upon reaching the peak, a stone wall. Eleven foot if it’s an inch. Solid wood gate, banded in iron. Swings out slowly on a hydraulic piston.

            You enter into a garden. The residence is not visible, not yet. The drive winds a bit. You find the garage first. “Garage.”

            It looks to be a classic horse barn. Three cars inside, room for one more. Actually, you could probably fit eight in there with room to spare. Easily. Workshop attached to the back. Functional.

            By functional I mean there is everything from a five ton lift to a blacksmith’s anvil with assorted tools there. Well used tools. I was not working in the garage. My task was the residence.

            Beyond the garage is the main attraction. The sharply peaked roof appears through the trees before the house. You are walking, there is no asphalt directly to the house. You walk on stone pavers. The faint sound of water joins the birdsong.

            Three stories. The windows appear tall and narrow, until the scale of it hits you. The house is huge.

            The door opens and you see a tiny man step out. Coming closer, the “tiny” man is a goodly 6’3″. Those lovely dark wood doors are frikken tall. The walls are stone. Regular cut, but with the character of stone. Rough, but serviceable for all they are beautiful.

            The inside of the house shows tall ceilings. Very tall. Hanging chandeliers that one could conceivably swing on whilst having a rousing sword fight. Hardwood floors. Oil rubbed bronze fixtures and fittings. Fireplaces. Grand staircases that split halfway up to reach the second floor. Up the stairs you go.

            The second floor holds libraries. Offices. Working spaces for the staff, these are your bread and butter. You can get at where you need to work here.

            Then they show you the under-house. This is special. For a telecom guy, this is flippin’ gold.

            Exposed beams. Wire, pipes, all the guts that make a home comfortable and workable. Tiny, narrow doors here and there.

            Inside those little doors is a ladder. You climb. Reach the first floor- there are tiny, narrow passageways between the walls. This is where you will run your access points. Everywhere, these little passageways go. Even up to the roof.

            On the roof, you find a short iron fence as a gentle warning of the long fall over slick tiles that awaits you should your feet wander too far. The walkway is a narrow path that wends around the roof, giving access for those that get their hands dirty, like you.

            You return to the house, setting up your tools and preparing to work. They show you where they want things.

            Somehow you missed the back of the house. One of the larger libraries on the ground floor has a window that seems to take up the whole wall. Massive. Easily fifteen feet tall, this is a double height room.
            Outside is a fountain surrounded by flowers somewhere between wild and manicured. It looks different every time you look at it.

            One moment, it is overgrown by forest plantlife. Another, flowerbeds. Another, something in between. Nigh indescribably. The garden staff must be geniuses.

            In the end, I was very well paid for the job. I took no tips, though they were offered. Good work is, in its own way, its own reward when you do the job well, and know it.

            And working in a place like that? I’d probably have done it for free, had I but known.

            1. I’m probably never going to meet the owner of that place anywhere but Heaven. But my gosh, that sounds incredible. (And very well described, too!) I want to meet him/her someday.

            2. One of the Youtube channels I follow is an English guy who moved to rural France, and then later bought an abandoned, fire-gutted, pre-WW1 chateau that he’s slowly restoring. It has lots of basements and passages and so forth, and it was quite impressive in its day and hopefully will be again.

              1. I wish him well on the restoration project, but there is something beautiful about overgrown ruins as well.

      2. The correct answer to both of those questions is YES. (Caveat: If you can only have one or the other, it had better be comfort.)

        How someone who appreciated the Parthenon so deeply could go on to create such ugly, inhuman architecture, I’ll never know. Also, Hufflepuff is the best (le Corbusier would’ve been a Ravenclaw).

        1. It happens when you try to change the proportions of the elements that make up that classical look.

          Take the Kennedy Center, for example. The reason it looks ugly is because the classical elements in its facade have been completely removed from the classical proportions.

      3. Love that room.

        But I’m a little concerned about how those high plants will be watered. That seems like the sort of thing a Hufflepuff would consider.

        1. The Potterverse has self-stirring soup pots; I imagine that self-levitating watering cans would be no problem.

          (Actually, I suspect he put “lots of plants” in the AI prompts and the AI complied.)

      4. If I ever hire an architect for a house out at Tierra de Balzacq, screening them will involve questions like “do you think Corbusier should have been strangled in his crib?” and “should houses be artistic or comfortable?”

        From an i-can’t-actually-call-myself-and-architect-because- lack-of-licensure

        1) you can’t kill a man for crimes he hasn’t yet committed and
        2) houses should meet the needs of the client who will live there. If the client wants to live in an artistic, uncomfortable house, that’s what you design for them.

        1. Between stuff like that and cats there actually is some worthwhile stuff on that side of Faceplant, huh?

      5. They should be pleasant to live in and have a low life-cycle cost.

        Pleasant can include both artistic and comfortable, but also efficient. If the rooms are gorgeous but the bathrooms are all hidden on the other side of the house from my study and you have to walk across the whole of the kitchen to go from the ‘fridge to an inadequately sized prep area, then I’m very quickly going to not care how great the view is.

    2. It is one of the great tragedies of my life that I live in a time when buildings (and people) are so deliberately ugly. I do try to buck that trend in my personal life, even if I’m not a particularly Pretty Girl. At least I try not to be actively ugly; I’d like to think my wardrobe is interesting and semi-flattering, and I strive for physical fitness. And in the last few years I’ve been working on my parents to make the garden lovely as well as practical (though there is something to be said for 10-foot tomato towers and wildly blooming squash plants). And our house, though old, plain, and added on to, has a homey feel and big, friendly, matching front windows symmetrically placed. It isn’t like the horrible apartment complex down the street that is literally called The Factory (and looks like the bleakest possible imagining of such a space. Bleaker. Worse than that. With the added misfortune of deliberately mismatched façade, which recent trend I hate with a burning passion.)

      The thing is, I also think that beauty can be internal, and some of the most physically beautiful people I know are less so because of their character and manners – or lack thereof; and some of the plainest people conversely beautiful to me because of their kindness. Some of them actually radiate goodness, and that’s lovely.

        1. That style is formally called Brutalism, which is both accurate and depressing, since it was pioneered by Communist sympathizers who apparently enjoyed making people miserable in all aspects of life, including architecture. The thing is, people need beauty in their built environment, or they get depressed, anxious, etc. As humans we function best in places where there is a mix of nature and proportionate, graceful architecture – which can be all kinds of different styles and sizes of buildings, none of which are being built right now in most ‘international’ cities and the smaller towns that copy them.

          1. Having spent a few months in Ukraine, I have some personal experience with this. Many of the buildings are hideous, but inside the apartments is quite nice. The contrast is startling. There are also the public spaces, which can be quite nice. Lovely parks, much nicer than I have seen in the US. Government buildings have truly beautiful landscaping, The metro in Kiev is extremely clean, with wonderful murals. I even remember seeing a babushka sweeping the sidewalk in front of a shop.

            It was interesting, the buildings built before the Soviet takeover were very traditional European architecture, The Odesa opera house is gorgeous. A number of other buildings are wonderful. Then, there are the buildings that were built after Ukraine became independent again. Really nice looking. Going to various restaurants, I saw the incredible about of effort put into them being truly gorgeous, and these were places you could get a wonderful dinner for $15, not what I would call expensive. The same with some of the night clubs I visited.

            What I saw was perhaps a reaction to the brutalism, but in any case Ukrainians are driven to create a beautiful environment. I also would love to talk to some of the architects, the design elements are the same as I am familiar, but the vernacular is different.

            1. A while back I saw a bunch of “just after the wall fell” and “now” pictures of locations in the former East Germany. The differences were quite obvious.

              Of course, the guy who put the whole thing together bemoaned what was being lost as the buildings of the former East Germany were replaced with better looking stuff.

      1. I really think the older people get the more the inner beauty starts to glow through the skin. And likewise those that may have had only the beauty of youth and been ugly inside, start to become ugly as they age.

        1. Of course, my sense of architectural aesthetics was shaped by living in Germany from 6-8 years of age and going all over Europe in a minivan.

  5. Roger Moore, Cary Grant, Sean Connery, Michael Cain, Dwight Eisenhower, B. L. Montgomery (who had many flaws), Clint Eastwood (young), Paul Newman, Lee Marvin (young), Steve McQueen, Sidney Poitier . . . Looked like men. Not pretty, not perfect, but men. Like the women of the day were always elegant. I like that about the old studio photos – there was a grace and elegance, a sense of pride and dignity, about the men and women. That added a beauty or handsomness that is so often lacking, even in people who are not perfect.

    Beauty inspires us to do better. It might be dressing up a little, or making sure our hair is tidy when we stagger out for the day. It might be acting with restraint, or giving praise where it is due (and/or sorely needed). It pushes and pulls us to remembering that we are in the image of something far greater, and that one of our duties [to DEITY or to our fellow men] is to leave things a little better, a little prettier, a bit neater than we found it. We are to tell stories to entertain and inspire, not to degrade. If dressing up as well as we can and smiling at people is all we can do, then let’s do it. Let’s admit that we admire beauty and encourage more of it.

    1. I’ve actually been quite impressed by how Leonardo DiCaprio, of all people, grew from “pretty boy” to masculine movie star in the old mode.

      He seems to be the only one of his generation, though. Most of them are now aging soyboys, and that’s not a good look at all.

      1. He has good bone structure; kind of Audie Murphy style if you’ve ever seen the (mostly lame) westerns that gentleman did at the end of his career (Bullet for a Badman, Apache Rifles, Gunfight at Comanche Creek), Leo has kind of that vibe.

        1. Arizona Raiders, 1965. Not even remotely lame (well, skip the tacked-on first ten minutes, which has one poor actor monologuing at the camera without break, giving backstory that’s utterly unnecessary to the film, for some reason), and features a supporting role by the mighty Buster Crabbe, who simply got better as he aged.

          1. Arizona Raiders is pretty darn good. Arguably more spaghetti western than his actual shot in Spain western (The Texican). Plus you get to see one of the prototypes for the Han vs. Greedo shootout, IIRC.

              1. Absolutely. No Name was the first film of his that I saw all the way through, and he’s amazing in that. It took me a while to get used to him in cleancut hero roles (Ride Clear of Diablo is probably the best of those, IMO). One I enjoyed, although he looks like crud in it and the production values are especially blah, is Posse from Hell, which is basically Cowboys Vs. Aliens minus the Aliens and the unconvincing British cowboy LARPer.

    2. Humphrey Bogart, especially in “Casablanca”. Not only looked like a man, but behaved as one, also. There’s a reason that film has lasted so long.

  6. I’ve thought for a while now that something very important was lost in our culture when it became impossible for a man to compliment a lady on her looks without it being automatically guilty of attempted pants.

    1. And that’s made a certain area of both our lives an unholy headache, hasn’t it? Not that it was ever a simple area even before Clown World of course…

      1. No joke. “Can I ask if he’d like to discuss [business thing] over coffee or will that put him in a compromising position with his boss?” “Can I tell him that those colors look good on him or will someone put 2+2 and get 89?” Grrrrrr.

        1. Both hazards for sure, and when it comes to work environments guys keeping it strictly professional with women on the job and avoiding potentially compromising situations can land in hot water for creating a hostile environment if one of them is determined to make an issue of it. These days it really does feel like the only way to win is to not play but that’s impractical for a variety of reasons, including the aforementioned scenario where you can get dragged into it whether you want to or not. It’s frustrating and depressing.

  7. Been watching Perry Mason. If the women are oppressed, they are doing a good job of hiding it. Though there are a few things that might strike one as being odd.

  8. Several thoughts:

    Charteris did write most of the early Saint stories (1920s and at least up through the mid-1930s) and… honestly, while the character is fun, his prose style was leaden. Read one of the short stories aloud and you’ll see what I mean. Rex Stout he was not. So having others writing the character was probably for the best, once he got thoroughly bored. (Not paying others, well, not so much, obviously.)

    Sir Roger Moore as “a great actor” is something I have a difficult time accepting. I grew up with him in his worst phase of James Bond, when the movies, the character, and his being a sex symbol of any kind were all sad, unfunny jokes. Revisiting his work in the early ones with a better understanding of the context in which they were made, his casting makes sense. Still, I would have personally preferred Patrick MacGoohan (I know, he was definitively Not Interested) and a far less silly take on the material. But I still have a hard time separating the performer from the foppish, sometimes dandy-ish, performance.

    This is hardly an original insight, but it’s still fascinating that the left has become the worst caricature of scolding prudery that they used to pretend they hated the religious right for being.

    I have been told since I was a small child, by prudes and scolds from all sides, that I am supposed to be ashamed of liking feminine beauty, and better yet that I should Just Stop. The only actual effect this ever had on me was to hold the prudes beneath contempt.

    Marlene Dietrich was once in an airport with her daughter, and was heard to exclaim to her: “My God, look at all these ugly people. No wonder they paid me so much when I was young!”

    1. You remind me of a friend of my son who was/is very woke, who at one time was pushing that ‘Boys should be taught not to look at girls in school, no matter how they’re dressed!’

      People who think they can force that would’ve been happy little commissars in the 30’s in the Soviet Union.

      1. There’s a reason 1984 has the Junior Anti Sex League. Though in retrospect I think Brave New World got that right, divorce sex from love by making it so common (nay required) and voila that particular part of our psyche is unhinged. There is a reason the Brahmandarins push so hard for promiscuity to be the way.

        1. Unfortunately, some would be like Sen. Sanders: he’d have been a very devoted and happy in his work commissar, executing factory managers and such who failed the Party by not completing the current 5-Year Plan properly.

          1. I struggle to imagine Sanders ever being happy, either. He might grin after shooting a manager in the back of the head, but then there’d be so many more to execute, and he scowls again at the prospect.

      2. Then next step is recommending burkhas. The one after that us requiring them. For the women’ protection, of course.

    2. *Sir Roger Moore as “a great actor” *

      In “Cannonball Run” (1981) he played a toff whose delusion was that he was Roger Moore. 😀

      He spent most of the movie asking “don’t you know me? I’m Roger Moore!” and getting punched.

      1. But that would mean watching The Cannonball Run, including Jackie Chan playing a “Japanese” character. I’m not sure I have the fortitude for that, even now as a lifelong devotee of bad movies.

        Still, that’s a good gag. Funnier than anything in most Will Farrell movies.

          1. The only thing The Cannonball Run has actually contributed to the culture is that it indirectly caused post-credit easter egg scenes. The bloopers over the closing credits of the film inspired Jackie Chan to do that with all of his movies, which a decade-ish down the line allowed other comedies to do the same, once Chan finally broke through to Hollywood, which trained audiences to stick around for credits and post-credit scenes.

            (Yes, there are Hollywood precursors like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Young Sherlock Holmes and Airplane!, but those were outliers, notable for being different from most other movies at the time, and it only started happening regularly after Rumble in the Bronx got a US theatrical release. And even then, it took a year or two. First one I remember was the Jim Carrey vehicle Liar Liar, and then Pixar’s A Bug’s Life a year-ish later. Then it happened on any funny movie, from Charlie’s Angels to 10 Things I Hate About You.)

            But I have never heard anyone claim it was actually “good” or “funny”. Closest claim to that I ever saw was that the cast was obviously having a good time. (Which is usually a sign that the audience won’t.)

              1. …and did it become a standard thing to do in mainstream Hollywood movies in the years immediately following?

                Nope. That happened after several of Jackie Chan’s HK movies (plus Rush Hour) got US theatrical releases, and execs noticed how audiences reacted to the blooper reels at the end. And started doing them at the end of virtually every comedy by the end of the ’90s.

                And Jackie specifically named Cannonball Run as his inspiration to do so.

                Which is sort of why I named the earlier examples, and also called them outliers. Sure, there are earlier examples. But the trend started because of Jackie Chan, and Jackie started it because of a specific movie.

          2. Unpopular opinion: I hated Elf. Watched it once at a party with friends, and I’m very lucky that they liked me enough not to strangle me for shouting at the screen. Never again.

            I’m sure some people can enjoy it, just… not me. I need comedy where the main characters don’t come off as incompetent. (The Princess Bride being an excellent example.)

            1. Incompetence can be funny (Get Smart, e.g.), but yeah, I’ve avoided Elf like an STD ever since it released, mostly because I can barely tolerate Farrell, and usually only when he exhibits some form of self-control. Elf looked like Farrell was told to go all-out, no restraint at all, and just… no.

              (As an example of me not automatically retching at Will Farell, the movie The Other Guys which teamed him with Mark Wahlberg was amusing. Not great, some major false notes, but amusing. Partly due to a strong premise, and partly due to Wahlberg being a very, very controlled presence, which seemed to have toned Farrell down in most scenes.)

              1. I can’t stand him either. My son sat me down for Talladega Nights, but he gave up in disgust when I announced I wanted to shake his friend who was telling him about his big break (whie the race is going on and he needs to get out there). It simply was not funny to me, it was sad.

                1. …and that’s arguably his best “full Will Farrell” movie. I got through it once. Despite liking John C. Reilly (the best friend) and wossname Borat (as the French Formula 1 a-hole) in it, I’m not going to watch it again, ever. “Mildly amusing” is the best I can say about it.

                  1. I can’t tell you how happy I am to find that I am not the only one finds Will Farrell not-funny, but literally cannot stand to watch him on screen

                    1. He was the guy playing the cowbell in the infamous SNL “more cowbell” sketch. And he is never the thing people remember about that sketch, it’s all Chris Walken.

                      (In fairness, his bit in that sketch played to his strengths: oafish, clueless, whiny, and fully aware that he’s surrounded by people more competent than him.)

            2. No, I completely agree. Will Farrell’s schtick is to be super uptight and constipated and yet wildly inappropriate. I find it intensely grating.

              The only movies I’ve liked of his are “Zoolander” because the whole thing is over the top and he’s not playing his usual character, and “Stranger Than Fiction” where he was playing it straight (as all good comedy should).

              1. His impersonation of the Inside the Actor’s Studio guy, who died recently but whose name escapes me just at the moment, was pretty funny. Luckily, he never tried to make a movie out of it.

            3. Less unpopular than you think. Will Farrell is not a funny guy, to me. Norm MacDonald? I get that humor, even some of the edgy stuff. Dan Akroyd? Yep, he had some good stuff, too. Heck, Nick Rekieta’s humor tends to fall more in line with mine than most anything I’ve seen or heard from SNL (which I avoid like the plague) and mainstream tv (same) humorists.

              But then, I get police and ambulance guy humor better than what is considered mainstream these days. The pitch meeting guy’s humor has some chuckle worthy moments. Intelligent humor is sadly becoming rare these days.

              1. Will Farrell is like a cross of the worst aspects of Jim Carrey and Jerry Lewis. At his worst, he believes loud, overbearing, and crude are the same as wit. He can be good, but like Jim Carrey, needs an outside, steady hand, to rein in his worst tendencies.

                1. I can’t watch them. It makes me squirm. Not what I want in entertainment.

                  There’s a lot of media like that these days. So many TV shows and movies I can only get through by using the FF button to blast past the cringe and Narrative boilerplate.

                  Example from last night, “Class of ’07”. TLDR, the first episode was stupid but tolerable. The second, barely tolerable. Third, I fast forwarded a lot. Skipped all the rest of them and watched the last five minutes of episode 8, confirming that everything from Ep.2 on was filler, and annoying filler at that.

                  By the way, have you noticed that Western media in the last two years is laser focused on making general human beings look like worthless contemptible assholes? Seriously, I was rooting for an asteroid to come and kill them all by halfway through Ep.2. They deserved to die. Fast forwarding save me some bad dreams, I think.

            4. I avoid Farrell’s movies for the simple reason that I don’t find stupidity funny. I can’t watch Mr. Bean. Wouldn’t touch Dumb and Dumber with a ten foot pole. This also means I can’t stomach the vast majority of Adam Sandler’s movies either. I vastly prefer intelligent comedy.

              I was so sad when they took what was clever and amusing in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie and made it tedious and juvenile in the sequels.

                1. Yes! Black Adder is hilarious. Especially if you have a decent knowledge of the historical time periods it is set in!

    3. When Moore passed on I picked up all the Bond movies we didn’t already have and that summer we had our own, “Roger Moore/James Bond Memorial Film Festival.”. Some were better than others, but what really struck me was Moore’s Bond had a definite sexual code. With a couple of exceptions, his preferred partners were mature, sexually experienced, competent women. One exception was Solitaire in Live and Let Die, who he seduced(in the line of duty?). The other was Mary Goodnight from, The Man With the Golden Gun, who was relatively young and presumably experienced, but incompetent.
      There was a mildly humorous subplot in one film where Bond was being actively pursued by a teenaged figure skater who did NOT want to take no for an answer. Watching Bond ever-so-genteely squirm was amusing.

      1. You’ll note that the two exceptions are both from his first two Bond outings, before they’d really settled on what the character was like.

        Moore was born the year before Sean Connery, so he was older when he made Live and Let Die (his first Bond) than Connery was when he made the previous Bond movie, Diamonds are Forever. He got to be very self-conscious about the Bond womanizer thing in his later movies, which is where the business with the figure skater shows up.

    4. I saw a lineup of all the actors who did Bond in the opening credits “shoot the camera” pose. Roger Moore was the only one with a proper two-handed balanced pistol grip. I commented.

      Turns out he was in the Royal Army. Fair enough.

  9. I have caught episodes of The Saint, off and on, and enjoyed them. But one of the later (color) episodes really threw me, featuring a character who was supposed to be an Indian woman and was clearly a Caucasian actress in blackface. There’s something you absolutely would not see today. Certainly even then – 1968 or so – there would have been a decent sized Indian population in Britain and a decent pool of non-Caucasian actors to work with.

      1. It seems to have been a thing in British entertainment of the time. That’s only a few years after Leo McKern and Eleanor Bron playing “Indians” in the Beatles movie Help!, definitely for laughs. (And honestly, they’re two of the funniest things in the movie.) And right around the time Sir Christopher Lee playing Fu Manchu in movies (with an actual Asian actress as his daughter).

        Sure, it could be budget, too, considering how little money Brit TV shows of the time generally had. But it might also be “this is just what we do” at the time.

        1. To say nothing of the 1954 Black Knight, with American Alan Ladd as a blacksmith turned knight of the Round Knight, and blue-eyed, translucently pale Peter Cushing as an evil Saracen. (Seriously cannot watch the youtube clip without bursting out laughing).

          1. Alan Ladd… as… a British… Knight.

            I mean, that’s hysterical before you even get to Cushing. “Ladd has two emotions: hat on, and hat off.” And he wasn’t any better at accents than emotions.

            And then there’s the fact that he was about a head shorter than your average ten year old.

                1. They get taller out in the fringe genres, it seems like. Tall people used to turn up in Sword and Sandal/Bible epics, cowboy movies (Ladd started out in film noirs; Audie Murphy was an anomaly in, well pretty much everything), scifi/horror/fantasy.

                2. Thus “seems.” There are tall, or at least not-short people in the movies, but not very many. You guys have already named half of the 6-foot-plus actors that anybody’s likely to recognize, and that’s reaching back into the 1940s to boot.

            1. I don’t remember the name of the movie, but I remember Tony Curtis as a knight, and his immortal line, “Yonder lies de castle of me fadder.” And they appeared to be playing it straight.

            1. It depends on “what you mean by pale”.

              Pale as somebody from Norway or Pale as somebody from Italy. 😉

              IMO a Saracen wouldn’t be as pale as a Norwegian but could be as Pale as an Italian.

              1. They might be, if during the occupation in the peninsula. The Moors got so many germanic and irish slave concubines that they were mostly red heads and blond by the 9th century.

                  1. I mean, in Portugal the families of “Moorish ancestry” tend to pale and blond or redheads. Which is hilarious, since the bloody idiot who made Bridgerton thinks there were always black nobility because Queen Charlotte had one bad portrait where she looked… well, less African than I, but that’s neither here nor there, since she was BLOND. And because she was rumored to be descended from the Moorish mistress of a Portuguese king. Which in her stupid little mind means that Queen Charlotte was black. WTF EVEN?

            2. Here’s a clip of the character in question. The actor would play Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars some twenty years later, to give you some idea of how far removed the brown face is from the actor’s natural coloring. If they went for the level of fake tan used in, say, the 1959 Mummy (where he plays a British archaeologist who’s spent a lot of time in Egypt), I could buy him as Armenian-adjacent, but they, um, kinda went overboard.

              On a related note, I remember when the Prince of Persia movie came out, and the white zealots on social media who were complaining about the lack of “brown” actors in the film got schooled on Persian ethnicity by actual Iranians and Iranian immigrants. Good times, good times.

              1. Sounds like the same people who criticize Cleopatra actresses for not being a sub-Saharan African. Because the Greeks of Ptolemy dynasty would certainly look like Nubians at least, right?

                1. How many “sub-Saharan Africans” live in Egypt today?

                  While Cleopatra had Greek ancestry, her subjects weren’t “sub-Saharan Africans”.

            1. If that’s what they were going for, they shouldn’t have piled on the brownface, and if they wanted a more Mediterranean looking guy, they should have cast one.

    1. Eh. It depends on how tradition-minded the Indian population in Britain was at the time. Remember, onscreen kissing was considered hugely risque back in India well into the 1990s. I could imagine there being a pool of British Indian actresses who just weren’t willing to go on a show like The Saint.

        1. Babylon 5, with its long story arcs was significant, though niche. The fact that Straczynski could pack the main plot of his 5-year plan into the fourth year (though it made year five uneven) showed flexibility on his part and also proved the audeincecouke be pretty flexible, too.
          (For Jason, WPDE).

  10. As for the quality of episodic TV writing of that era, it’s honestly not possible to compare it to today simply because of assumptions that producers imposed on writers, which have changed enormously.

    Like, for instance, not only did every episode have to be a self-contained story, but it had to make sense to anyone who chanced to turn on the TV in the last 15 minutes of the episode, as much as to someone who watched from the beginning, because there was no rewind possible. Or that all important information had to be made Very Very Obvious to all viewers, because of distractions at home and the presumed stupidity of the vast majority of the public. (The presumed stupidity turned out to be very, very wrong, but Hollywood producers clung to that myth for many decades before shows in the early 2000s proved them wrong.)

    There was inarguably good writing, but even “high brow” television, like the live plays staged in the 1950s on shows like Playhouse 90 or Kraft Television Theater, were written and presented in a more simplistic way (narratively speaking) than virtually anything on today. (This is not to say that today’s TV is good writing — certainly in the past 5-10 years it mostly is not — but ever since 24 was a hit, writers have been allowed to present more complex interrelationships among characters, and more complicated storylines that play out over multiple episodes, without banging viewers over the heads with the important plot points. The modes of storytelling are more complex and complicated, and more demanding of the viewer. The quality of the storytelling at its core is a different thing.)

  11. Ah beauty! I can certainly appreciate how a woman can find Roger Moore or Pierce Brosnan, or many others attractive. As a wannabe dirty old man, I have an algorithm for when I’m stuck in a store with long checkout lines. I choose the line that has the prettiest woman ahead of me. Saves me from perusing the absurd tabloid headlines they try to distract us with. And young women who wear yoga pants everywhere….mmm, where was I?

    For men it’s much easier to still be desirable as we age, but not a given as you note. Paul Newman and Charlton Heston certainly aged well. John Wayne put on a lot of weight, but there was still a certain sexiness in him even at an older age.

    Sorry to hear about what Leslie Charteris did, but good for RAH for refusing to be exploited.

    One last thing for all you women out there. When a man looks at a woman he loves, he always sees the woman he fell in love with, not the one you see in the mirror.

    1. Heck, I’ve chosen longer lines on purpose just for the visual palette, especially if the cashier is pretty (not too long; there’s a limit).

      But like Dan said above, attitude and personality matter A LOT. Physical beauty may only be skin deep, but meanness seeps out from the bones, and it kills beauty dead. Sometimes you can even see it radiating across a room.

  12. Well put, though I wasn’t planning to visit a certain restaurant franchise until later on this weekend for that part! =P Even if the least annoying to get to branches aren’t feeling nearly as welcome as my old haunt in GA yet, and may not ever in the case of the least annoying to get to. And while I know you can’t force needed rest and recovery to go faster, especially after a move, I do wish you could sometimes…

  13. Speaking of beauty, I’m off to our winter weekly life drawing session tonight (Winters only as few want to sit inside sketching with 24 hours of daylight outside. No summer plein air, outside, sessions as the models complain about the mosquitoes trying to carry them away!).

    8 to 20 artists, two hour drawing session including a 15 minute or so tea and talk break, mostly short poses. A few of our models are quite stunning but, when trying to capture a line, a flow, a feeling or emotion I find them all quite beautiful. I don’t necessarily say beauty is in the eye of the beholder but if you’re alert and looking for it it’s everywhere.

    One of Umberto Eco’s books on my shelf is his On Ugliness; 438 pages of art, many full page prints, and comment running from chapter one, Ugliness in the Classical World to chapter fifteen, Ugliness Today. Of course many would disagree but I find much of the ‘ugliness’ therein astoundingly beautiful.

  14. From something posted at Instapundit this morning I find the opposing (Marxist) view, as promulgated by the genocidal Khmer Rouge.

    “Beauty – physical, artistic, sexual, spiritual, intellectual – must likewise be ruthlessly extinguished, because it too prevents a Marxist Utopia. Beauty is unfair. It must be eliminated.”

    I think beauty must be appreciated.

    1. What is this “Marxist Utopia”? For all his faults, Marx at least was opposed to the idea of a utopia, and specifically of utopian socialism à la Saint-Simon, Fourier, or Comte. Of course I guess it’s not surprising of some of his alleged followers are ignoring that part: “It is his disciple/Shall make his labor vain.”

      1. Marxist Millennium? Marxist eschaton? “When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins.”

      2. Marx was sufficiently disconnected from reality that trying to impose coherence on his philosophy is a fools errand. He thought he was coherent, but he was delusional. Marxism mostly appeals to the baser instincts of mankind, especially Envy, Greed, and Pride.

        1. I’m not sure why that’s relevant. The point of my comment was to say that one specific point that Marx made was valid; it wasn’t to offer an assessment of his entire system of ideas.

  15. Listening to feminists of today, that will claim women are more oppressed now than they were 60 years ago. Does that mean that feminism is reason that their cause is going backwards? Things that makes one go hmmmm…

    1. “Racism is worse now than it ever has been!”
      “So going back to Jim Crow would be an improvement?”

  16. This has nothing, really, to do with the post, but it reminded me of something:

    Ref ” and wearing an apron “, a couple of years ago watched part of an old movie, I think ‘Monkey Business’ with Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers. There’s a scene where they’ve skipped going to a party because he’s a scientist and very preoccupied with a problem; they’re in the kitchen and she’s in an apron making dinner, and a friend stops by.

    At that point she’s only been seen at the stove and behind the table, from the waist up, and her dress had had a low back. Grant suddenly realizes they have a problem, and tries to get her to leave the kitchen. She wants to know why and he backs her up to a chair and says “sit down.” She does, gives a slight hop and says “Oh!” And you realize that she’s ONLY been wearing the apron. A definite striking moment. He finally stands behind her and walks her out backward as their friend is doing something.

  17. Ah, Simon Templar, I loved those books. And still like them, I need to dig some of them out and renew the acquaintance.

    In one of those “If you could become”, my two main choices were him, or Archie Goodwin.

    1. I much preferred Archie – his personality is probably 100% orthogonal to my own, and sometimes that’s an attraction. I loved his juxtaposition of humor (often at the expense of his boss, Nero Wolfe) and seriousness (mostly because of his respect for his boss.

  18. The Creator God, or random chance, depending on your world view, gave us the ability to enjoy many things. Like pretty “young” people, chocolate milkshakes, the sound of a perfectly built and tuned 409, excellent science fiction, sunsets, and so on.

    Enjoyment is a gift. We should be grateful.

    There are many ungrateful people with youth, money, friends, and so much more. And they are typically more unhappy than the so-called “poor.”

    Beauty is objective; but we can only really perceive it when we are thankful.

  19. To bring two of the sub-topics together, Heinlein’s I Will Fear No Evil has a scene where the protagonist — IIRC rather overcome by female hormones on his transplanted brain — is being all peevish and snippy and her sort-of-love-interest-at-that-point takes her over his knee and spanks her to snap her out of it.

    1. Spanking was a trope in the 1950’s, and seems to tie into the idea that women (after WWII and working) wanted men to step up and be dominant, because they were tired of going it alone.

      But I think the trope got less amusing as it got to be less of a game, and more of something resented.

      But there was a whole lot of sex tropes of “mom/dad playing kid” stuff going on, which probably also had to do with lost youth in WWII.

      1. It also went the other way sometimes. In the Lensman novel Galactic Patrol there’s this bit when Clarrissa MacDougall vented to an intern about Kimball Kinnison: “I’d like to spank him—he needs it. I’d like to know how he ever got to be a Lensman, the big cantankerous clunker! I’m going to spank him, too, one of these days, see if I don’t!”

  20. Along parallel lines, children can be quite beautiful as well as simply cute. With ‘beautiful’ being used in the general sense rather than the ‘romantically interesting’ sense.

    (Darn it, why do the two terms feel so closely associated in my mind? I start worrying about myself when I see a person who falls into one category but NOT the other, and it’s annoying.)

  21. As far as male beauty goes, I’m not super-particular. It’s a large, irregularly shaped polygon, anchored in different corners by Conan-to-Commando Schwartzenegger, 1959-1990 Connery, 1960s Eastwood, Cary Grant at any age (Roger Moore is in this corner, Pierce Brosnan is sort of midway between this corner and the next), late-1950s Peter Cushing, and mid-1950s Audie Murphy. Oddly, some of the ones who were considered very good-looking at the time, like Rock Hudson or the young Jimmy Stewart and young Tom Cruise, absolutely don’t register as such to me, even if I enjoy watching them onscreen.

    There is one Roger Moore fan interaction story that I can’t resist passing along. It was the late 70s or early 80s, and a small British boy was at the airport with his dad. They spot Roger Moore. The boy’s only ever seen him as James Bond, and doesn’t understand the whole “played by an actor” thing. He gets his dad to go ask for James Bond’s autograph, only to be kind of upset when he gets Roger Moore’s autograph instead. Dad goes back to explain things to Moore, see if maybe he would sign in character. Moore beckons the kid over and says something like: “You’re a smart boy to have recognized me, but Blofeld’s spies are everywhere, and I have to use the name Roger Moore when I’m undercover.”

    Kid goes away happy, has a great story to tell once he’s old enough to understand what happened. Grows up to be a journalist, and ends up interviewing Roger Moore as part of some documentary or other. During a break in filming, he retells the incident to Moore, who just laughs and says something like: “I don’t remember that, but I’m glad you met James Bond.” Journalist is maybe a little crestfallen, but at the end of the interview, he and Moore leave together, and Moore says something like: “Of course I remember you, but I couldn’t very well admit to it in front of the camera man. He could have been one of Blofeld’s agents, you know!”

      1. Yep. He’s not my absolute favorite 007, or my absolute favorite ridiculously archetypical Englishman-on-film, but I am fond of him, and this incident is one of the reasons why.

        1. For the record, when I said that Moore is a good actor: he gives good entertainment. For the persona of the Saint that means of necessity overplaying.
          The expressions are amazing and let the audience in on the “joke.”

          1. Exactly. The wink at the audience think ala Vincent Price or the Rock was part of Moore’s technique, and it worked very well in general. I wouldn’t ding Dwayne Johnson or Mr. Price for that sort of thing, and I don’t ding Sir Roger either.

        2. I had read all the Fleming books before I ever saw a Bond movie. What the Broccolis made wasn’t anything like Fleming’s Bond, so I spent most of the time saying “Whaaatt?”

          1. Eh. For adaptations of some authors I care about book fidelity in adaptations (Golden Age mystery writers, mostly, and to some extent Jane Austen, although my third favorite P&P adaptation has a duel in it). At the pulp fictiony level of Ian Fleming or Bram Stoker, I tend to be more vive la difference. 🙂

          2. I recommend reading the book on Dusko Popov. Ian Fleming worked with him and he was the inspiration for the character James Bond.

  22. I have always believed that, God creating woman last, He let all His previous experience guide Him to the most nearly perfect creation. Including free will, for all that He may have considered that as much curse as blessing.

    1. We can make free will a curse, by using it unwisely, but it is the foremost blessing of the Creation, and Eve should be honored for her role in making possible the moral agency of humanity, as the Mother of All Living.

      In addition to unity, Adam’s rib can also symbolize equality. In the book “The Man Adam,” Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet write,

      “The imagery used to veil the account of Eve’s birth is most beautiful, particularly so in a day when there is so much confusion about the role of women. Symbolically, she was not taken from the bones of Adam’s head nor from the bones of his heel, for it is not the place of woman to be either above the man or beneath him. Her place is at his side, and so she is taken, in the figurative sense, from his rib—the bone that girds the side and rests closest to the heart. Thus we find Adam declaring: ‘This I know now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man’ (Moses 3:23). Eve, unlike the rest of God’s creations, was of Adam’s bone and of his flesh, meaning that she was equal to him in powers, faculties, and rights.”

    2. > “I have always believed that, God creating woman last, He let all His previous experience guide Him to the most nearly perfect creation.”


      Okay, in my preemptive defense, the following joke was told to me by a FEMALE coworker.

      God made Adam and placed him in the Garden of Eden. Adam was mostly happy, but found himself lonely as there were no others like him. One day he complains of this to God.

      God says “Here’s what I shall do, My son. I shall make for you a partner, and I shall call this partner ‘woman.’ She shall be beautiful, wise and sweet-tempered, and she shall be the perfect companion for you in all things. And all it will cost you is an arm and a leg.”

      Adam thinks for a moment and says “That sounds good, but an arm and a leg is kind of steep. What can I get for, say, a rib?”

      …And now if you’ll excuse me, I probably need to run away very, very fast. 😛

  23. BTW, if you’re into praying, feel free to throw some prayers towards your favorite entertainers/publically beautiful people. Alot of ’em were/are not great people, but neither was St. Camillus of Lelly before his conversion.

    Living or dead, shouldn’t matter, God is eternal and can theoretically nudge people at any point in the timeline.

        1. Not only that. I have to wonder if He, finding them not ready, sends them on to a new life to try, try again, to get it right. An infinitely merciful God, with infinite resources and infinite time, could afford to do that.

            1. Not really wanting a Theological Discussion but I remember a comment concerning Purgatory from an old Baptist. It was “Great idea but where is it in the Bible”. 😉

              Now, I can understand the desire for something like Purgatory as it might be necessary for me to spend some time there. 😀

              1. 1 Corinthians 3:10-15.

                “According to the commission of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it. For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble—each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

                My understanding is that Purgatory is something like a preparation for the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. Those who have chosen God but still have some clinging sin must be purified of that sin before they may enter Heaven, because no evil remains in Heaven. So the evil is burned away ‘as through fire.’

              1. Purgatory in Catholic thought is specifically for what is called the “temporal punishment due to sin.” Christ has already atoned for our sins against God, and all we have to do is to cooperate with that atonement by becoming children of God and living up to that role. BUT, when we sin, we also sin against ourselves, the people around us, etc, and that is what Purgatory is supposed to balance the scales for, if we don’t manage to do so in this life (by suffering in union with Christ, or by good deeds etc).

            2. No, Purgatory’s for skiing. I thought everyone knew that? 😉

              (Unless you mean the Picketwire National Grassland, which gets its name from the Anglo-rancher version of the Spanish word for Purgatory.)

            3. No, Purgatory is for the already saved. Like the Prodigal Son, they get a new robe and shoes and a ring on their hand so they don’t look all travel stained and ragged in Heaven.

        2. There are two parts to redemption. One is that God extends it to us. The other part is that we have to reach back, in order to take it.

          There is at least one prominent concentration camp head who may have reached for redemption; I read an article about the priest who connected with him as he awaited trial at Nuremberg. Only God knows for sure, but I like to think he made it to Purgatory and atoned.

  24. Ugliness grates upon our sensibilities and repels us.

    The Left tells us that means we are Eeevul. We are supposed to love ugliness, and express our love for ugliness by preferring ugliness over beauty.

    Couldn’t be because so many Leftroids are ugly, nah. And it’s so much easier to make ugly things, or to make things ugly.
    It takes a LOT of education to make somebody that stupid.

  25. Beauty is and always has been only skin deep. But we can admire it when we see it in whatever form. And I agree with Uncle Lar- the epic walk back from the train station sticks in my head all these years later! 🙂

  26. It’s off-topic from the direction the conversation has taken, but then that’s not unusual for me here. I too remember The Saint from my childhood, but not much about it. Likewise with The Invaders and The Fugitive. I thought The Saint movie with Val Kilmer was very entertaining, particularly the way he flowed from character to character.

    I wish they had made another one or two in the series before moving on.

  27. I loved the Saint TV series, which was, I believe, in strip syndication when I saw it (sometime in middle school, I guess). Mom complained that they shorted Patricia and her relationship with Simon. I didn’t realize it until later on re-reading the books.

  28. One of the bits of doggerel in my copybook is from The Saint and the Last Hero.
    “For the shield and the sword and the pipes of Pan
    Are birthrights sold to a usurer—
    I am the last lone highwayman
    And I am the last adventurer.”

  29. Heh! My father’s approach to life was simple, once married, you are in an art gallery. You can look at everything, admire it, smile about it, but no touching. That has served me well over time, kept the peace and now having made it to age 70, see no need to change that.

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