Saturday, January 20, 2024


They Laughed at Victor Frankenstein

I will make a firm prediction, but one whose accuracy happily will be untestable for a couple of decades, after which point you may laugh at a man in his grave.

It came to me while watching David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive," a film that features two protagonists.  Both are beautiful young women, but they are very different types -- Bette is an impossibly pretty blonde ingenue, whereas Rita/Diane is a sultry brunette.  (At one point her face is virtually superimposed on a poster of Rita Hayworth, and the resemblance is striking.)

The two women are often shown in close up, and often in the same frame.  (There is a sexual frisson between them that blossoms into a conjugal relationship.)  Watching them together early in the film, I found myself fixated on their lipstick and their painted nails.

The controversial Canadian psychologist and culture warrior Jordan Peterson attracted his share of ridicule when, some years ago, he said categorically that lipstick to a scientific certainty is a sexual signal, a signal of one's availability, not to every male, but at least to one real or hypothetical dream boat.  And it falls to each other male, picking up on the sexual cue, accurately to divine whether his own interest is reciprocated, on pain of being labeled a "creep" or worse.

In this, Peterson surely is correct in general and, the way our culture is evolving (the better to understand itself), it will become a commonplace that make-up worn by women in work and in most other public spaces represents a primitive and obsolete surrender to oppression.  Accordingly, make-up will be relegated to the faces of men determined to take on the personae of women, to the faces of women on their wedding day, and perhaps to adorning women in venues set aside for sexual display, like South Beach, should it survive global warming and, indeed, should it continue to exist in our culture otherwise than via historical marker.

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