If you're like me and you live on the Left Coast, you probably don't realize just how devastating Hurricane Sandy was or the amount of damage it did. I see the images on television, but they don't mean much, because, over the years, I've somehow become desensitized. In reality, many people on the Right Coast are living like refugees: no heat, no power, no gas, no food, no water.
I saw a guy in a Quick Duck Jacket
using a snow shovel to scrape up debris. The image got me to thinking about there's a culture of beauty, no matter what the circumstances. I mean this guy was dressed right to do a dirty job. And that set me off on a mental expedition along the winding path called 'how the right apparel affects the human perception of beauty,' which is a very cultural specific topic.
In the classical days of Greece, persons of physical beauty were considered to be "blessed," or "empowered." And this concept has been born along on the currents of history into today's 21st century. For example, in movies, in stage presentations, in television, and in magazines, producers and editors have accepted the Platonic notion that beauty is good, and vice versa. The protagonist is handsome, whereas the antagonist is oily and grates on one's aesthetic sensibilities.
And it should be noted that to Plato, eros was the idea of beauty -- to seek the best, the highest, and the most beautiful.
In today's world we don't compete as warriors, except perhaps obliquely in professional sports, but we do compete for beauty. The desire to be close to eros, the best, the highest and the most beautiful, has led men to compete with one another for beautiful women. Beautiful women are, indeed, status symbols, sometimes even objects, that augment a man's stature and prowess in the eyes of other men.
The cult of beauty has expanded beyond rational bounds, to the brink of insanity: in the 1970's, based upon a study that concluded that taller children scored higher on intelligence tests, injections of growth hormones in children became fashionable. Indeed, the New York Times warned parents that such hormonal injections could produce 'giantism.' However, the editorial admitted that purely cosmetic use of such injections, to add a few inches to the height of children, was OK. And the editors concluded by stating: "Smallness is not a disease; however, tallness secures privilege."
The mind reels at such manifold tittering lubricities. Talk about correct sometsyndic arrangement! This surpasses any eventuality.
The religion of beauty lives and breathes. Beauty is a luster which guiles the eyes, and thus the brain.
There is a difference between correcting a congenital disfigurement and striving to attain the fashionable ideal of beauty.
Yet within all this, one salient fact still remains firm: the existence of a socio-cultural standard of beauty implies that some individuals will be found lacking the requisite pulchritude. And those who are part of this discordant movement -- who lack the effluvium of beauty -- suffer social rejection, and thus, self-rejection.
Needless to say, the gentleman dressed in the Quick Duck Jacket was sartorially correct. He looked good, even while what he was doing ' sweeping up the remains of his personal possessions ' was heartbreaking.