October 22, 2006

"I blame it all on lip gloss."

Writes Daphne Merkin:
I believe there is something irrevocably ruinous about a culture in which women are expected to go around with their lips in a permanent state of shiny readiness, a perennial Marilyn Monroe moue of glistening sexual receptivity, hinting at the possibility that they, like Monroe, sleep fetchingly in the nude.
Click on the link at your own risk. It's long, name-dropping, and philosophicalish.

Is "philosophicalish" a word? You might well ask, as, indeed, I did. And in this wonderful world that contains Google, I found 421 uses of the word, including one by D.H. Lawrence, describing his own writing in "Reflections on the Death of a Porcupine and Other Essays":
This volume contains what Lawrence himself called "philosophicalish" essays written in the decade 1915-25. The topics range from politics to nature, from religion to education; the tone from lighthearted humor to mordant wit, to spiritual meditation. For all these contrasts, however, the essays share many of the underlying themes of the mature Lawrence: "Be thyself" could be the volume's motto. As far as possible, this edition restores what Lawrence wrote before typists, editors, and compositors made the extensive alterations that have been followed in all previous editions of the texts--on occasion entire passages removed by mistake or for reasons of censorship have been recovered.
Required observation: Lawrence was a blogger!

Irresistible chance connection: The same issue of the NYT that contains the Merkin essay that led me to talk about D.H. Lawrence, also has this piece about D.H. Lawrence's bohemian New Mexico, which leapt immediately to mind because I had looked longingly at this photo of his desk in front of a window:



I need to move my desk in front of a window, you're thinking. Aren't you?

Or are you thinking: What exactly is a "merkin"? Or:



Did you steal my lip gloss???

22 comments:

Gerry said...

"I need to move my desk in front of a window, you're thinking."

Nope. It already is in front of one. :-)

GPE said...

Is "philosophicalish" a word? You might well ask, as, indeed, I did. And in this wonderful world that contains Google, I found 421 uses of the word, including one by D.H. Lawrence, describing his own writing in "Reflections on the Death of a Porcupine and Other Essays"

Name-dropper.

JohnF said...

Surely some one named Merkin could find a different topic than sexuality...

tiggeril said...

I couldn't do that. I'd spend too much time staring out the window rather than doing work.

George said...

The phosphorescent energy generated by the lip gloss used by Fox News woman Laurie Dhue alone would provide enough power to electrify a small city.

Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christy said...

I enjoyed that article very much. Thanks for pointing it out. I never would have noticed otherwise. Don't you think it is simply a highfalutin variation of the conservative rail against popular culture? I confess I had to look up the word proleptically.

Somehow, at an early age, I read that lipstick began as the lubricant used by, er, courtesans and have always been discomfited by it. Someone please tell me differently so I can embrace my full femininity!

My desk is in front of a wide window that looks out over azaleas and boxwoods with a dogwood favored by birds directly in front. Framing it on the right is a 15' lily of the valley bush backed up with a magnolia. Glorious in the spring, but nice all the time because a very large blue spruce is the background. Yes, I do spend too much time watching birds.

Joe said...

Merkin's article seemed like she just puked a series of incoherent thoughts onto the page.

Derve said...

If you're accepting writing tips, please don't think this flatters you:

"You might well ask, as, indeed, I did."

That "indeed" is pretentious, unneeded, and brings bad associations, pre-Glenn even, of the type of people who drop that word.

(I can tolerate the "well" ok enough, but the "indeed" followup... ugh. You've haven't started wearing bifocals on a pearly string around your neck, have you? Why sound like it?)

Paul Zrimsek said...

Classic NYT touch in the first paragraph: of course everyone reading agrees that the present moment is deplorable, so we needn't waste any column inches deploring anything specific about it. We can move right on to the lip gloss!

altoids1306 said...

I could not detect much in the way of logical flow in that article, but, then again, this is the NYT style section. In the spirit of the Times, I will write a similarly incoherent comment:

Is this article an indication that post-modernism finally dying? Have people had enough of "my truth, your truth", perception-is-truth?

Probably not. This article is nothing more than a rail on artifice, particularly the false advertising of women with regard to their own sexual readiness and fertility. Which is ironic, of course, because since the dawn of civilization, men have competed through the appearance of wealth and power, and women have through youth and beauty. It does get more real than that.

Derve said...

"It does get more real than that."

I think your unintentional error is right. What is more real today than men competing on looks and youth too, and women savoring their money and power? Reality evolves.

PatCA said...

I guess the NYT has exhausted its list of Things in American Culture that Cause Us to Despair. Lip gloss will do--until the day after elections.

George, I think Fox's generous use of lip gloss is a conscious decision of its production staff. Fox announcers are all robustly optimistic (in stark contrast to the rest of the media) so maybe the gloss adds to that ethic? I think I'll buy some and see what happens...

Daryl Herbert said...

lips in a permanent state of shiny readiness... hinting at the possibility that they, like Monroe, sleep fetchingly in the nude.

What do non-naked lips have to do with sleeping with no clothes on?

altoids1306 said...

Derve:

Good catch - I meant to say "It doesn't get more real than that."

And if you believe the opposite is true, well, good luck with that, let me know how it goes. Fighting biology is admirable, but usually futile.

dick said...

Who turned her switch on!! The woman sounds as if she tried to compete with the little airheads she eavesdropped on and lost out!!

Derve said...

"Fighting biology is admirable, but usually futile."

Embracing biology is where it's at. ;-)

You disagree that men also use looks, and women money to access power today?

(That doesn't have to be "the opposite" you know. Just keeping real)

Shiloh said...

Isn't this the same woman who published an essay in the New Yorker about how much she likes to be spanked? And she wants to blame lip gloss for her 'over-stimulated' state?

George said...

For my electrons, this is far more interesting than writing about that Greenwald person.

TV babes like Laurie Dhue have lips like the chromataphoric cells of iridiscent cephalopods that suddenly change color to attract mates or flee predators.

I suspect that Ms. Dhue is attempting the former, not the latter.

Let's see that Greenwald use words like "chromataphoric" or "cephalopod" in a sentence about George Bush!

For hot cuttlefish action, please visit The Octopus News Magazine Online....

http://www.tonmo.com/imagevid.php

Freeman Hunt said...

Ha! I love lip gloss. I'm not sure what Merkin means by "shiny readiness" though; my husband despises lip gloss. I rarely ever wear it around him. He doesn't want to kiss me and come away wearing it. Shiny unreadiness maybe.

David said...

Lush lips
Sink ships!

Revenant said...

Somehow, at an early age, I read that lipstick began as the lubricant used by, er, courtesans and have always been discomfited by it. Someone please tell me differently so I can embrace my full femininity!

It isn't true.