G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

Will Self: “To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hey, Best Actress or Nominee, What is Your Erotic Capital?


JOANNE LIPMAN, The New York Times, October 23 2009:

"The truth is, women haven’t come nearly as far as we would have predicted 25 years ago. Somewhere along the line, especially in recent years, progress for women has stalled. And attitudes have taken a giant leap backward…

… The conversation online about women, as about so many other topics, degenerated from silly and snarky to just plain ugly — and it seeped into the mainstream.

Recently, before a TV appearance, I did an Internet search on one of the interviewers so I could learn more about her — and got a full page of results about her breasts. .."


Catherine Hakim:
"The meritocratic capitalist values of the Western world invite us to admire people who exploit their human capital for personal gain. I can see no reason at all why people who exploit their erotic capital for its full value should not be equally admired."
I watched the Oscars partly on the morning of February 25 2013 and partly on the same evening.

It was OK.  I had not seen it for last couple of years.

I was quite surprised by 'bluntness' of Seth MacFarlane's song WeSaw Your Boobs”. It was funny. But it seems to have enraged a few.


picture courtesy:  Oscars.org | Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and CBS News 

Amy Davidson says in The New Yorker:

"...“We Saw Your Boobs” was as a song-and-dance routine in which MacFarlane and some grinning guys named actresses in the audience and the movies in which their breasts were visible. That’s about it. What made it worse was that most of the movies mentioned, if not all (“Gia”), were pretty great—“Silkwood,” “Brokeback Mountain,” “Monster’s Ball,” “Monster,” “The Accused,” “Iris”—and not exactly teen-exploitation pictures. The women were not showing their bodies to amuse Seth MacFarlane but, rather, to do their job..."

I completely agree with Ms. Davidson but Seth is still right and funny: We did see (some of) those- and not all of them pretty-  boobs anyway!

A few months ago, I  saw 'The Reader' (2008) starring Kate Winslet, who incidentally features longest in Mr. MacFarlane's song. 

The movie is ordinary, forgettable and stands out largely for Ms. Winslet's nudity and her sexually explicit scenes with a  mid-teenager.  So how can one say that movie is strictly NOT  a "teen-exploitation"...It reminded me of "Mera Naam Joker", 1970 and 'Summer of '42", 1971...both films, by the way, much better than 'The Reader'.

I wonder why KW was given the Academy Award for Best Actress for that film.

A book by Catherine Hakim 'Honey Money: The Power of Erotic Capital' was published in 2011.

Book description on Amazon.com says: 

"...Catherine Hakim's groundbreaking book reveals how erotic capital is just as influential in life as how rich, clever, educated or well-connected we are. Drawing on hard evidence, she illustrates how this potent force develops from an early age, with attractive children assumed to be intelligent, competent and good. She examines how women and men learn to exploit it throughout their lives, how it differs across cultures and how it affects all spheres of activity, from dating and mating to politics, business, film, music, the arts and sport. She also explores why erotic capital is growing in importance in today's highly sexualised culture and yet, ironically, as a 'feminine' virtue, remains sidelined. "Honey Money" is a call for us to recognize the economic and social value of erotic capital, and truly acknowledge beauty and pleasure. This will not only change the role of women in society, getting them a better deal in both public and private life - it could also revolutionize our power structures, big business, the sex industry, government, marriage, education and almost everything we do."

The author Ms. Hakim wrote in an article in 2010:

"Erotic capital goes beyond beauty to include sex appeal, charm and social skills, physical fitness and liveliness, sexual competence and skills in self-presentation, such as face-painting, hairstyles, clothing and all the other arts of self-adornment. Most studies capture only one facet of it: photographs measure beauty or sex appeal, psychologists measure confidence and social skills, sex researchers ask about seduction skills and numbers of partners. Yet women have long excelled at such arts: that’s why they tend to be more dressed up than men at parties. They make more effort to develop the “soft skills” of charm, empathy, persuasion, deploying emotional intelligence and “emotional labour.” Indeed, the final element of erotic capital is unique to women: bearing children. In some cultures, fertility is an essential element of women’s erotic power. And even though female fertility is less important in northern Europe (where families are smaller) women’s dominant position in this market has been reinforced in recent decades by a much-lamented phenomenon: the sexualisation of culture...Like it or not, erotic capital is now as valued as economic and human capital. As Chairman Mao advised—walk on two legs."


ERIC WILSON said in The New York Times September 12, 2008:

 “No one blinked at the Marc Jacobs fashion show last week when the model Freja Beha Erichsen appeared in a sheer black top that revealed that she was wearing a nipple ring. No one blushed at the Chris Benz show when Sasha Luss and Ekat Kiseleva posed in see-through camisoles. No one seemed particularly hot or bothered that Ali Stephens’s breasts were clearly visible through her dress when she walked for Derek Lam. No one was outraged that Francisco Costa showed a transparent raincoat at Calvin Klein with nothing but a thong underneath.

Peek-a-boo was the biggest trend at the New York Fashion Week that ended on Friday,

…But nudity, like fashion, has lost much of its power to shock.

We have become so desensitized to images of naked celebrities, sex tapes and Internet pornography that designers are hard-pressed to create anything that seems really transgressive.” 

Yes, nudity might have lost its power to shock but who knows how it works on Oscar juries!



An iconic shot of the late Ms. Elizabeth Taylor splashing in the ocean, from the set of 'Suddenly, Last Summer' (1959). (Ms. Taylor received nomination  for the Academy Award for Best Actress for this role.)


© Sunset Boulevard/Corbis.