February 5, 2009

One reason I enjoy blogging so much is that there's something about my brain that visualizes everyone as beautiful.

If I don't see your photograph or hear some description that stops me, I picture the men looking like Cary Grant and the women looking like... No, not Myrna Loy!



Myrna Loy today would look frumpy. That hairstyle! I picture the women looking more like Jennifer Connelly.

What's wrong with me?! I like to think I'm an optimist. But it's a problem when I try to step out of this life of the mind — oh, come on, humor me, blogging is the life of the mind — and interact with real people. I believe I'm swanning around at a posh cocktail party in a 1930s Hollywood movie, and it's quite a shock to see that things don't look like that at all.

This is a topic upgraded from my Twitter feed, where I've also been talking about my other cognitive quirk: I visualize things outside of my immediate physical sphere as much smaller than they are. For example, I "small-visualize" government, industry, geography, historical time, and outer space. My theory is that this is a natural consequence of evolution: We're hard-wired to understand a world that has the scope it had when we lived in a small, walkable place, when the things we knew about had a human scale.

65 comments:

AlphaLiberal said...

All women are beautiful.

Men? Not so much. Frankly I don't see why more women aren't lesbians!

ricpic said...

I'm more Tyrone Power than Cary Grant. But close, close.

AJ Lynch said...

I heard Meade could double for Cary Grant. But you already know that right?

ricpic said...

It is a strange and little remarked upon fact that Cary Grant regularly crazy glued himself to the side of Myrna Loy's head.
--Hollywood Babylon

Maxine Weiss said...

Althouse says: "I've also been talking about my other cognitive quirk"----

______________________

Oh, you mean there's only two ?

How clever that all of your "cognitive quirks" are designed to flatter, and to showcase you in the best possible light.

---As opposed to everyone else, whose quirks are truly humiliating, disreputable, and creepy.

Ann Althouse said...

@ricpic LOL. But you see my point? In real life, does a man ever do that attaching his profile to the side of the woman's face thing? No, and it would be stupid even to try to do it except as a joke.

SteveR said...

I didn't notice Jennifer Connelly's hair, but there's something about my brain that visualizes breasts and when they are all over the Google Image page, I don't even have to think.

So in a Vulcan mind meld, we'd see beautiful breasts.

TitusSendsSpecialHugs said...

You are obviously thinking about me and wanting to meet me and waiting with baited breath.

I know, it always happens to me.

For example, my 19 year old that I am doing on the DL was frantically texting me because he had to have the hog tonight. I am going out to dindin and then I told him he can come over for the hog. He said could I come meet your friends and I was like no. Wait by the phone and I will call you when I am ready to be received...and services. This is strictly get in the door and into the bed and spread the legs. Last time we didn't even make it to the door. Hogs were already out in the elevator=isn't that romantic? I am totally serious too. And he's hot. 6"5, Brazillan, works as a mechanic in Queens-perfect...and he has been arrested for pot in the car-all qualities that pull on my hog strings.

Henry Buck said...

AlphaLiberal further confirms the thesis.

I picture all commenters as either (1) the comic book store proprietor from "The Simpsons" (men); (2) Lisa Lupnor (women) or (3) Oscar Wilde (guess).

Unlike Prof. A., I tend to imagine things as vastly bigger than they are in reality.

TitusSendsSpecialHugs said...

I love a man who is been the slammer.

I asked him if he was raped in the slammer and he said no.

How disappointing...can't you just tell me you have while we are doing it?

TitusSendsSpecialHugs said...

Don't be all thinking I am Oscar Wilde bitch.

I just bench pressed 200 plus the bar at the gym.

I am strictly jeans and tshirt.

Sorry no ascots.

Alright I have to get my pussy in the shower.

Henry Buck said...

Wrong guess, Titus.

Looking at the picture again, I see it as Grant going in for a kiss, and Loy turning her head at the last second, thinking of someone else. Perhaps a thin man from the past.

David said...

"Swanning . . . "

Nice verb. Did you make it up?

Smilin' Jack said...

We're hard-wired to understand a world that has the scope it had when we lived in a small, walkable place, when the things we knew about had a human scale.

The Brain—is wider than the Sky—
For—put them side by side—
The one the other will contain
With ease—and You—beside—

Emily Dickinson
(1830-1886)

Lawgiver said...

We're hard-wired to understand a world that has the scope it had when we lived in a small, walkable place, when the things we knew about had a human scale.

That's not being hard-wired, that's some artistic bullshit you picked up along the way. Now I have to get back to my comic book store where the real art is.

Ron said...

Jennifer Connolly in The Hot Spot? I'm so there, doc!

I, too, see Cary Grant, while others try to assure me Fatty Arbuckle is the reality of Me. But Hang Reality! If I wanted reality, I wouldn't be blogging!

TitusSendsSpecialHugs said...

Just out of the shower. The grooming process begins. Thank God I am not Oscar Wilde Henry.

Ron said...

I'd redo that Grant/Loy pose with you Double A...any time.

Rick Lee said...

When I travel, I am always surprised that things aren't actually bigger and more grand than they really are. This comes from growing up in West Virginia where, because of our inferiority complex, we imagine that everything is bigger and better someplace else.

Henry Buck said...

Back in the early '90s we used to go to bars and play what we called "The Celebrity Game." One person picks a stranger in the bar, the the others have to name a celebrity who looks like the come up with a celebrity who the stranger.

Althouse should run a game in which she picks out a commenter, and everyone else has to name a celebrity who we imagine the commenter looks like.

TitusSendsSpecialHugs said...

Kiehls eye repair was just applied.

Ann Althouse said...

@Henry Buck... well, suddenly, you look like Buck Henry!

EDH said...

In real life, does a man ever do that attaching his profile to the side of the woman's face thing?

I do. Isn't it the adult version of sucking face? And I disagree with HB. By feigning distraction, the woman allows the man to display his sole attention to her affections, reaffirming her desirability and perpetuating his pursuit of her. I also became quite enamored with cheek-to-cheek-to-cheek... touching after I was captivated watching a young Indian couple on a bus do it while conversing. The Karma Sutra notwithstanding, these Indians seemed to know what they were doing.

Me? Tom Hanks, perhaps, without make-up and when he doesn't have his weight especially under control.

Sigh. Sorry to disappoint.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

One of my older clients told me that I looked like Virginia Mayo. I had to look it up on the net. Of course he was probably confused becuase that is exactly how I dress for the office.

:-)

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I always picture radio announcers and disk jockeys as being mid 30's and handsome blond or dark haired men. I was really shocked when, as a teen, I met a rather popular radio personality and he looked like an aged balding Don Knotts. Really ruined the listening experience from then on.

Theo Boehm said...
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madawaskan said...
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blake said...

Myrna Loy was wonderful enough to wear that hair and make it look grand.

I went to a series at the local theater dedicated to the great cinematographer James Wong Howe, and the first movie up was The Thin Man.

Then, much later, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.

It was like 15 years hadn't passed at all.

Jimmy Stewart said there was something wrong with a man who wasn't in love with Myrna Loy and I'm inclined to agree.

Even if she was a moonbat.

The Crack Emcee said...

I'll take Myrna Loy over Jennifer Connelly any day. One's a woman and the other's a twerp - and an uninteresting looking one at that. Look at the photos you linked to: what's really there? I don't know about you, Ann, but Connelly looks to me like a mirror-adoring kid, and also someone into astrology, "saving the planet," etc., I.E. someone I couldn't be bothered with.

And FYI, I'm told I look most like Lou Rawls.

Mark O said...

Now that he's been dead all these years I can come closer to looking like Cary.

madawaskan said...

The Crack Emcee-

See your comment right there-that's why I don't think I would ever post a picture.

Look how many judgments you are coming to based on image alone.

I like that on the internet-YOU could be a white Southern fried housewife with eight kids-and really who would know the difference?

btw-if any of that's true you should probably change your handle to Cracker Emcee.

Methadras said...

From a mental point of view, I visualize people on the content and context of their written word. Since I have Synethstesia so I see things much differently. I see geometry, colors, words, ideas, equations, and all kinds of combinations that intermingle and blur. Not just mentally in my minds eye, but also in reality. Although, while you may see people as beautiful, I don't have that luxury because of the way my brain works.

Icepick said...

I look EXACTLY like Cary Grant.

Christy said...

After seeing Laura Branigan in concert, my cousin told me we were dead ringers - even moved alike.

Interesting that a former redhead sees all us women as brunettes.

Hated, hated, hated Jennifer Connelly in Labyrinth which otherwise is one of those movies I shamefully love.

jdeeripper said...

The photo of Cary Grant and Myrna Loy reminds me of this scene from Young Frankenstein.

Not a lot of baby girls being named Myrna nowadays.

Psychedelic George said...

You got a lot of thoughts in this post, Professor.

Myrna was good in "Best Years of Our Lives." The "Dream House" movie with Cary Grant has not aged well at all. The "Thin Man" movies haven't held up well, either.

I'm thinking Eleanor Powell and Fred Astaire tap dancing to "Begin the Beguine."

Ann Althouse said...

@Crack I think Lou Rawls is adorable, and I apologize -- and was going to apologize in the post but it was too meandering -- for having a mental image that had everyone white. I'd like to say that if I have the additional piece of information that the person is black, I picture a gorgeous black person.

Trooper York said...

Wait a minute, I thought Meade looked like Lou Grant?

Ann Althouse said...

Trooper, you have no idea what an idealized picture of Meade formed in my head. And you too. I still picture John Wayne. And the absurd thing is that I've met you. More than once!

Theo Boehm said...
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Theo Boehm said...
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Donna B. said...

Myself, I'm the spittin' image of Maureen O'Hara. Unfortunately, I'm several decades younger than she is.

There may also be a few other slight differences.

wgh said...

I am extremely hunky.

Revenant said...

Well, I'm not going to argue with anyone who says Jennifer Connelly is beautiful.

But Myrna Loy always seemed like the smartest person in the room in the movies she starred in. That's sexy!

Patm said...

I always thought Myrna Loy was something special. She and Maureen O' Hara were "differently beautiful" and their intelligence was a big part of their beauty. I don't think Loy looks dowdy at all in that picture.

Connelly is beautiful, for that matter so is Catherine Zeta Jones but Moy, O'Hara, Jean Arthur, Carole Lombard, they were beautiful with brains.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

Myrna Loy, frumpy? I think not!

Freeman Hunt said...

The most humorous celebrity someone once said I resembled was that hippy Muppet, Janice.

blake said...

Althouse--

I don't let actually meeting people interfere with my idealized mental image of them either.

Freeman Hunt said...

Everyone could just use photo avatars, and then we'd all be swanning around in the cocktail party of reality.

rcocean said...

Loy had class, Jennifer doesn't.

Classy dames are sexy.

Freeman Hunt said...

All this Jennifer hate; I must not be up on the Jennifer happenings that have engendered such.

Revenant said...

Loy had class, Jennifer doesn't.

She doesn't? She always seemed pretty classy to me.

Darcy said...

Myrna Loy was wonderful enough to wear that hair and make it look grand.

Aww, Blake. I think it is fantastic to see all the men sticking up for Loy. I thought she was beautiful and classy looking.

Pogo said...

Myrna Loy looked frumpy?!?
Althouse has an unusual dictionary. In my house, Loy is called wowza. I suggest some Murine.


Me, I'm quite handsome at a distance.

Anything closer than a mile, though, and people tend to wise up.

Fog, telephones, the internet, and alcohol are my image's friends.

Darcy said...

Speaking of "wowza", Myrna Loy elicited a "Whoa!" from a guy I was watching The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer with a while ago in the scene where she arrives for dinner at the restaurant.

Pogo said...

Cartoon possums are much better looking than the real thing.

Ann Althouse said...

I picked Connelly only because she looks like the mental image I happen to form when I read the writing of someone who I know a women. I'm not trying to say anything about Connelly other than that.

fcai said...

AA wrote "I read the writing of someone who I know a women."

Ok, you lost me there - I can't figure out what you were going for.

Ann Althouse said...

... the writing of someone who I know IS a womAn.

Ugh...

Sorry.

William said...

I think the old movie stars personify an approach to life more than a look. When I'm trying to be honest and sincere, I channel Jimmy Stewart; urbane and witty calls for Cary Grant; manly and determined is John Wayne; brave and ultra cool is Steve McQueen. And Humphrey Bogart has a special place: battered and worn down by his knowledge of all the shabby secrets and betrayals but still willing to pass along the letters of transit. It's not who you look like. It's who you want to look like that defines you.....Myrna Loy would be a good choice for the movie version of your biography. She doesn't like you but she leaves the same aftertaste. She was witty and respectable and sexy enough for all procreative purposes. And, more importantly, all those qualities were present in the right proportions to make her a fine companion for the adventure. Rosalind Russell was too brittle; Norma Shearer too respectable; and Hedy Lamarr way too sexy to have any kind of balanced life with. Myrna Loy was just right. I think you channel Myrna Loy.

Trooper York said...

Just think John Wayne expanded into the body of Jackie Gleason and I think you have it right.

Theo Boehm said...
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jaed said...

frumpy

It's like the Althouse fat thing. Women are taught to hate curly hair as much as they're taught to hate fat (or even "fat", as in "not extremely slender"). Curly hair is frumpy, bad hair, uncontrollable, ugly, lower-class hair. Hair should be straight and shiny.

It is allowable to put a faint wave back into the ends with curlers once the hair has been straightened, but actual curls (such as Myrna's) are a no-no.

It's one of those weird things that tends to confuse men. It came as a revelation to me in my 20s that a lot of men actually prefer curly hair, as long as it's healthy and not dry and frizzy. All my life I'd thought everyone considered it ugly.

Darcy said...

Oh, good points, jaed. I hated my curly hair, too. But now I love it.
And you're right, as long as it's healthy looking, curly hair is very attractive. And most women with curly hair can blow dry it straight and have a great look that way, too...a lot of body and volume that many women pay to get.

That said, I can't really tell if Loy's hair is naturally curly. It's a pretty popular style for that era. Could just be a bad perm there.

William said...

Theo: Thanks for your kind comment. The correction you made was what I wanted to say. Thanks for posting the clip about Myrna Loy which was the occasion of my comparison.....Of all the male movie stars who wormed their way into my identity only Jimmy Stewart was who he claimed to be on screen. The others were, to varying degrees, skilled impersonators of who they wanted to be. They weren't phonies. They were true artists whose greatest creation was their persona....Myrna Loy was apparently who her audience thought she was. But that's irrelevant. On screen, she was a nice lady who made civilized life look like fun. I certainly hope that Althouse does not become implicated in the Michael Vicks dogfighting scandals. But whatever the sublimity or squalor of her personal life, her blog is a civilized pleasure and there is something of Myrna Loy's playfulness in her writings.