Archive for the ‘beauty’ Category


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I watched this afternoon David Attenborough’s program on birds-of-paradise. It struck me that the natives of New Guinea and its satellites highly value their plumage. The male of most species dazzle the drab female with his courtly dance and the value of iridescent plumes are not lost on the natives. Dazzling beauty of this species holds such power on their imagination that cannot be properly understood by us. Much less are we qualified to explain why men kill these birds wholesale to add to their worth. Is it not a contradiction? Men love beauty and as Oscar Wilde speaks in his Ballad of the Reading Gaol, ‘yet each man kills the thing he loves’
The natives believe such display of plumage make them highly desirable to young women they want to marry Hunting them to extinction may never have motivated them but it is exactly what they do: indescribable beauty of the birds drive them to distraction. It reminded me a scene from Les Enfants du Paradise where the count makes his first declaration of his feelings to Garance. From watching her perform nightly he takes the initiative to visit her backstage with a proposal. He wants to own her. He promises her a grand life in return.
“Garance: What if someone else loves me?
The Count sure of himself:There is no question of it. You are far too beautiful for anyone really to love you. Beauty s an exception, an insult to the world…. which is ugly.It s exceedingly rare for a man to love beauty. They simply buy it so they don’t have to hear about it anymore-to wipe it out and forget it.”


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