May 1, 2019

"At SI Swimsuit, we strive to continue to spread the message that whether you are wearing a one-piece, a two-piece, or a burkini, you are the pilot of your own beauty."

Wrote Sports Illustrated, quoted in "Sports Illustrated now has a model in a burkini. Can the swimsuit issue truly get woke?" by Monica Hesse (at WaPo), who calls that statement "gibberish":
Let’s revisit that Sports Illustrated public-relations gibberish. Let’s just bask in the utter nonsense of “pilot of your own beauty,” a phrase that sounds like it was cooked up on a Pinterest board run by Ivanka Trump with help from an Amelia Earhart conspiracy theorist. Pilot it to where? For why?
Heh. Reminds me of "I can land this plane" (Ron Rosenstein's famous quote).

I really don't care about the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. I don't care if it goes under or figures out a way to steer itself to a safer course in these woke or benighted times.

But I am fascinated by the notion that I am the pilot of my beauty. I can't help reading it as a variation on the great old poem "Invictus" that ends "I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul."

"Beauty" is a weak substitute for "fate" or "soul," but "pilot" works as well as "master" and "captain," and it's easier to picture a woman as a pilot than as a master (mistress?) or captain. And — since the context is swimsuits — a pilot can be someone who controls a ship (as well as an airplane).

In "Invictus," the poet imagines his soul as a vehicle, a separate thing from himself, but which he which he steers. That's odd, but it's also odd to think of your "beauty" as something you ride inside and steer.

When I try to Google the idea of feeling that you somehow exist inside a contraption that is your beauty, I'm flooded with articles inquiring into whether a person is beautiful on the inside. That's an old-fashioned concern. It makes me think of the old Jefferson Airplane song, "You're Only Pretty as You Feel."

98 comments:

Ann Althouse said...

From the linked Wikipedia article on "Invictus": "When Henley was 16 years old, his left leg required amputation due to complications arising from tuberculosis. In the early 1870s, after seeking treatment for problems with his other leg at Margate, he was told that it would require a similar procedure. In August 1873 he chose instead to travel to Edinburgh to enlist the services of the distinguished English surgeon Joseph Lister, who was able to save Henley's remaining leg after multiple surgical interventions on the foot. While recovering in the infirmary, he was moved to write the verses that became "Invictus". A memorable evocation of Victorian stoicism—the "stiff upper lip" of self-discipline and fortitude in adversity, which popular culture rendered into a British character trait—"Invictus" remains a cultural touchstone."

tcrosse said...

You are the pilot light of your own beauty.

MadisonMan said...

Dad has been dead for several years, but at some point he bought SI for my kid, and it still shows up (No idea who is paying for it, not me!) even though kid has not lived at home for years either. So I guess I'll get to see the issue soon.

YoungHegelian said...

The SI burkha swimsuit issue was a soft & gentle lob of the tennis ball over the net which the Babylon Bee then proceeded to spike.

Bay Area Guy said...

If Stacey Abrams is the pilot of her own beauty, she may need to fly her way to the salad bar, every now and then.

Mike Sylwester said...

The burkini is a good gimmick to sell a few more magazines this year.

A new gimmick will be necessary next year.

rhhardin said...

As regards the transforming of the negative command into an attitudinal positive, William Ernest Henley's overly confident "Invictus" is an obvious illustration, beginning even with the title. "Out of the night," a negative ground, the poet thanks God for his "unconquerable soul." He has "not winced nor cried aloud." His head is "unbowed." He is, and will remain, "unafraid." If the road is narrow, "it matters not." Nor will he worry that he may be "charged with punishments." For, he concludes,

"I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul."

One need not be in the literary business long to detect a considerable amount of whistling in the dark here. We don't know the facts of the case. but we shouldn't be surprised to learn that, about that time, the poet had been scaring himself intensely.

- Kenneth Burke _Language as Symbolic Action_ p.444-5

Henry said...

Bod is my copilot

rhhardin said...

It may be that the sense of falsification comes from the way I understand the phrase "have a body." It is really a mythological way of saying that I am flesh. But I am not satisfied with this myth, for it implies that I also have something other than a body, call it a soul. Now I have three things to put together: a body, a soul, and me. (So there are four things to be placed: I plus those three.) But I no more have a soul than I have a body. That is what I say here and now. People who say they have a soul sometimes militantly take its possession as a point of pride, for instance William Ernest Henley and G.B.Shaw. Take the phrase "have a soul" as a mythological way of saying that I am spirit. If the body individuates flesh and spirit, singles me out, what does the soul do? It binds me to others.

- Stanley Cavell _The Claim of Reason_ p.411

rhhardin said...

The question about the burkini issue is whether supermarkets will modestly cover it, as they did for the issue showing the foothills of somebody's mons veneris.

tim maguire said...

Mike Sylwester said...The burkini is a good gimmick to sell a few more magazines this year.

Gimmick is a good word, probably more accurate than most that I’ve seen, but I doubt it will help them sell more magazines. I predict this is the lowest selling swimsuit issue SI has ever put out.

MadBohemian said...

You know the transgender issue of SI is around the corner.

Achilles said...

YoungHegelian said...
The SI burkha swimsuit issue was a soft & gentle lob of the tennis ball over the net which the Babylon Bee then proceeded to spike.

This point needs to be highlighted.

Epitome of Fen's Law.

The leftists don't believe a god damn thing they say they do.

Nonapod said...

A little of the Victorian stoicism discussed in Invictus , the writer's refusing to give in to despair even after losing a leg and almost losing the other, strikes me as something that modern people could do with. There seems to be too much mocking, deriding, and disrespecting of the thinking of the past.

It seems like you're not allowed to just be stoic anymore. You have to explain and desconstruct your feelings to everyone or you're considered closed off, repressing your feelings, or you must be in denial.

rhhardin said...

Youth intends sentimental lucubrations. Maturity begins to reason without confusion. He was only feeling, he thinks. He used to let his sensations wander: now he gives them a pilot. If I liken humanity to a woman, I shall not expatiate upon her youth's being on the wane and the approach of her middle-age. Her mind changes for the better. Her ideal of poetry will change. Tragedies, poems, elegies will no longer take precedence. The coolness of the maxim shall prevail!

- Lautreamont

effinayright said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
effinayright said...

It makes me think of the old Jefferson Airplane song, "You're Only Pretty as You Feel."

Which makes *me* think of Billy Kristol's counter:

"It's not how you feel, it's how you look."

Earnest Prole said...

I find it astounding the SI swimsuit issue is still a thing — it’s like learning there’s still a market for buggy whips and carbon paper.

Bay Area Guy said...

In thinking about it, I prefer:

"I am the pilot of my ship."

That says it all. I am directing this movie, and I am living with my choices and decisions.

"I am the pilot of my beauty" gets you tangled up with leftwing, self-identity nonsense. I self-identify as black (Rachel Dolezal). I self-identify as a woman (various track stars). I self identify as an Indian (Sen. Warren).

Just because YOU may think YOU are beautiful, doesn't mean that I have to accept this, if I don't share that view.

Yancey Ward said...

I don't know- that burkini is kind of like flying a Boeing 737MAX.

rhhardin said...

I mix Henley with Felicia Hemans (the boy stood on the burning deck / whence all but he had fled), which poem Thurber dubbed the greatest ramshackle in the English language.

"What causes all the trouble is the fact that the clumsy lady comes up with "but he had fled," which is a fool-the-eye-and-ear because ot diverts the mind from the prepositional "but he" to the conjunctive "but he had."

If Fowler was right, then the lady meant to say "The boy stood on the burning deck whence all had fled, but he had not." I think Felicia was a simple "except him" girl, but she got into trouble with her unfortunate "whence." She may have been the worst writer of English that ever lived. What mainly keeps the sentence from being poetical, however, is her tone-deaf use of "stood." She did almost everything to make the sentence one of the greatest ramshackles of our language."

- Thurber _The Thurber Letters_ p.655-6

Matt said...

You are the pilot of your own beauty through the harbor of self-esteem, past the hidden shoals of self-doubt and the swells of jealousy, into the docks of happiness and contentment. Also, you can't rely on the nautical charts of other people's opinions because you as the beauty pilot have the local knowledge of the self-esteem harbor to steer the beauty ship.

Yep. This analogy is stupid.

rhhardin said...

The pilot of a ship is the guy who comes on board to enter or leave harbor. The helmsman steers, and the captain is in charge otherwise.

Yancey Ward said...

If she wore that in Saudi Arabia, she would be stoned to death anyway.

Matt said...

I better see a man in a bikini next year or I will be forced to start a Twitter hashtag lambasting SI as trannyphobic.

Limited blogger said...

Haven't the SI swimsuits been shrinking for years now, to the point recently I think the cover model was naked?

So boomerang back to a model wearing pants, head scarf, and a dress.

To me its progress.

Anonymous said...

The inversion of cause and effect in the Muslim concept of female modesty versus male lust deserves nothing but ridicule. Well, maybe complete destruction, too.

tim in vermont said...

Yancey Ward said...
I don't know- that burkini is kind of like flying a Boeing 737MAX


It reminded me of something that Aquaman fought once.

Quaestor said...

Henry wrote: Bod is my copilot

I'm a-stealin' that one, Huck.

rhhardin said...

SI is marketing. It needs outrage, to be noticed again.

rehajm said...

Blue Wo-man Group.

rehajm said...

Bewbies used to sell magazines.

doctrev said...

When you look at the idea that Invictus can be applied to beauty, the comparison falls apart immediately. This is because of the difference between men and women. When a man is the master of his destiny, he can do things like conquer Europe- and even when the world universally excoriates him, he nonetheless has made a profound impact on the lives of others.

By contrast, beauty is the ultimate market value. Yes, as a whole market value is an illusion, and what matters to the price of a good is what -one- person is willing to pay for it. But, practically speaking, the vast majority of women do their best to look as attractive as possible. Beauty is a major component of how women rank each other, putting aside the obvious advantages it grants to landing a quality husband (which is one of the other major components). A woman who proclaims herself the most beautiful on the continent will be quite lucky to only be laughed at by other women- even if it is obviously true. Step beyond your station, and the social order can make distinctive parts of your appearance become universally revolting.

For instance, I am quite sure Stacy Abrams thinks she is extremely charismatic and attractive. And while this plays well with a specific demographic, it is literally poison with everyone else. Including and especially white American women.

Bay Area Guy said...

SI should bring back Cheryl Tiegs. She was hot 40 years ago. Real hot.

Rob said...

If you're going to be the pilot of your own beauty, do you need a landing strip? As for me, I'm not the pilot of my beauty, but I do speak of the pompatus of love. Call me Maurice.

buwaya said...

Beauty is not really subject to will, on the upside.

I don't know about the rest of you, but the maximum degree of personal beauty is precisely that which was the original gift of God.

It can be reduced, or destroyed, through ill-character (some sorts of ill character anyway), or foolishness, or misfortune. But it can't be improved.

stevew said...

So. I'm a pretty regular sort of guy. I don't pay attention to the SI Swimsuit edition but from what I've seen in the past they usually fill it with very attractive, scantily clad women. The regular guy in me appreciates their physical beauty; I admit to finding their choices for models to be quite lovely and beautiful. And it is not their soul or personality that I'm talking about. As far as I know the models are willing participants and get something valuable for themselves from the experience. All good.

SI publishes this issue to drive sales and profit. They are exploiting these women for their own gain. Not unfairly because, as I said, the women get something of value from the exchange.

To now show up now and claim some sort of virtue or virtuous behavior because this year's model is in a less revealing 'birkini' is laughable. The vacuous "pilot your own beauty" is the tell. Simply put, they think exploiting this model in this way will drive increased sales and profit. Nothing more nor less.

Phil 314 said...

"Let’s revisit that Sports Illustrated public-relations gibberish"

Let's not.

Jupiter said...

rehajm said...
"Bewbies used to sell magazines."

I like the idea that they are striving to continue to spread a message. That's what a good magazine should do, right? Especially a magazine called Sports Illustrated.

stevew said...

Matt @3:27pm: that's just beautiful man. Thread winner IMO.

Sebastian said...

"a phrase that sounds like it was cooked up on a Pinterest board run by Ivanka Trump"

Actually, it sounds like a phrase cooked up by the creative duo of Michelle and Barack.

Jeff said...

If you go to the beach these days, you'll see quite a few people who need a pilot. And his tugboat.

Jim at said...

Even growing up and in high school, I never thought the SI Swimsuit issue was all that.

Still don't.

Sebastian said...

"you are the pilot of your own beauty"

Such a Western concept. If you'd ask the burkini model, she'd remind you that Allah is the pilot of your beauty. Which is the point of the burkini.

Ann Althouse said...

"We don't know the facts of the case."

Yes, we do. See the first comment on this post.

effinayright said...

Earnest Prole said...
I find it astounding the SI swimsuit issue is still a thing — it’s like learning there’s still a market for buggy whips and carbon paper.

***************

T & A are hardy perennials in the publishing world.

But completely covered up T & A? That's another story. It's the difference between having sex and dry...

(you get the drift)

Automatic_Wing said...

First Thought : Sports Illustrated still exists?

Second Thought: The swimsuit issue still exists?

Like Time and Newsweek, SI is another relic of mid 20th century American culture that's desperately trying to be relevant again. Well, it's not gonna work.

Chuck said...

It's Rod Rosenstein. Not "Ron."

Jeff said...

But I no more have a soul than I have a body.
Right. We are bodies with brains, and they can't be separated without causing the death of both. It is debatable whether or not ideas exist outside our brains, but there is zero evidence that there are such things as souls.

Michael K said...

SI is circling the drain with all then other "woke" sportswriters who think they are intelligent.

In August 1873 he chose instead to travel to Edinburgh to enlist the services of the distinguished English surgeon Joseph Lister, who was able to save Henley's remaining leg after multiple surgical interventions on the foot.

Lister was driven to study antisepsis because of the tuberculosis cases that involved joints. They were very common at the time. His original successful case was James Greenlees, an 11 year old boy with a compound fracture. He thought of carbolic acid as an antiseptic as it was used in the fields of sewage farms where human waste was spread. It prevented cattle grazing in those farms from getting sick. HIs first paper was in Lancet in May 1867, one of the most famous scientific papers ever published.

readering said...

Espn has ended its print magazine (will remain in electronic version). They developed a more interesting body issue--athletes sure vary. I wonder how much longer SI remains in print. They have tried to introduce some interesting variation with plus size models, but I don't think it took.

Christopher said...

I suppose it works if you've got a fetish for wetsuits but otherwise this just smacks of desperation by SI, a weak attempt at keeping a dying format relevant.

It's no different than when Playboy decided to give up nude photos.

rhhardin said...

"We don't know the facts of the case."

Yes, we do. See the first comment on this post.


Kenneth Burke surely didn't, writing in 1952. And would wiki be right anyhow.

His guess seems to have been right.

Quaestor said...

Call me Maurice

I'll call you Morris, if its all the same to you.

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

We've come full circle:

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/d5/86/20/d5862084bb0b6c2a57901415995560bd.jpg

The ladies in the picture I linked to were rather immodest though, since their hair was not completely covered. Hussies.

Krumhorn said...

Some women pilot their beauty into a skeezy tat shop and proceed to wreck the ship. Others wear fiendishly long skirts and dresses, and some still elect for armpit hair. Many shouldn't be trusted at the controls which is why we cannot have nice things.

- Krumhorn

Fernandinande said...

that statement "gibberish":

This statement is gibberish:

"a phrase that sounds like it was cooked up on a Pinterest board run by Ivanka Trump with help from an Amelia Earhart conspiracy theorist"

+

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Features First-Ever Baptist Model In Floor-Length Denim Skirt

Scott said...

"Beauty is skin deep, but ugly goes right to the bone"

Charlie Currie said...

"Take me to the pilot for control
Take me to the pilot of your soul"

Anthony said...

What's even the point anymore? I get hotter stuff as background ads. . . . . . .

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

maybe in a burkini, Mohammad Atta is the pilot of your soul

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

What a weird legalistic take on modesty. I thought the whole point of covering your body was to keep from leading men to lustful thoughts. If you're still technically covered and yet being celebrated for your beauty (the purpose of beauty being to telegraph your health and youth, e.g. value as a mate to mens' lizard brains) and lolling around on a beach, isn't that the same thing? Isn't it still meant to inspire appreciative male gazes? If you have a personal spiritual commitment to keeping your beauty under wraps and socially irrelevant, to be revealed and enjoyed only when you are alone with your husband, should you be participating in the modeling industry at all?

narciso said...

speaking of eldritch horrors from beyond, the ocasio cortez comic book, which timeline was diverted to create this mess,

Big Mike said...

Burkini schmerkini. What I want to know is whether the magazine still features hot women wearing nothing but a thin coat of body paint.

Er, asking for a friend.

Bay Area Guy said...

Jerry Nadler, clearly, is the pilot of his own beauty. .

eddie willers said...

The closest my father ever came to telling me a "dirty" joke:

A boy stood on the burning deck
Selling goobers by the peck
Along came a little girl dressed in blue
Saying, "I'll take a peck or two"

Tomcc said...

"Let’s revisit that Sports Illustrated public-relations gibberish."
Please do, Ms. Hesse. Please do.
And then please turn your attention to the public relations gibberish that abounds in the pages and columns of the Washington Post.
I'll wait.

Unknown said...

The idea that someone in a burkini is pretty is absurd--it is hiding your beauty. They are trying too hard to be hip. The problem is that beauty is judged by others and you are NOT the master of that. Sad but true. There are standards of beauty that cross most cultures (with some unique cultural features). It is pretty much innate. Most of the things that men find beautiful are tightly correlated with youth, health and fertility: shiny hair, smooth skin, nice curves. You can rail against it all you want but it will not change.

It is also true that men will run away from some women when they open their mouth and start spouting feminist doctrine, say idiotic things, or are mean (depending on how pretty they are). AND that any woman can look better by taking care of themselves and being nice (as can most men). GQ did a thing where they took homeless guys and cleaned them up and the improvement was radical. Want to look like hell? Smoke crack for a while.

gilbar said...

https://babylonbee.com/news/sports-illustrated-unveils-first-ever-baptist-swimsuit-model-in-floor-length-denim-skirt

glenn said...

Pictures or it didn’t happen.

gilbar said...

i see youngheglen beat me to the punch, by about 3 hours
BUT i was fishing!

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

put a jihadi in a wetsuit--- voila! --Burkini !!

Spaceman said...

Pick up any high end women's magazine. Apparently it is perfectly OK to use scantily clad pretty young women to sell underwear. No prurient marketing here

gilbar said...

so,
they removed the bikinis in the miss america contest
then,
they wrapped the SI swimsuit girl in a Glad bad or something

And then, they realized that they no longer had an audience

CR said...

My first thought wasn't Invictus. My first thought was Walt Whitman. "I celebrate myself, and sing myself, and what I assume you shall assume."

William said...

Being able to pile it is not the same as being an able pilot. The SI people sure know how to pile it on. Who here has thought about the swimsuit issue in years? The ultimate aim of the swimsuit issue is not to expose flesh but to sell issues. This publicity will perhaps serve to further that goal or maybe it will trigger a Gillette response.........I'm not sure if a burkini subverts more the ideal of an SI swimsuit or the ideal of Islamic modesty. If an adolescent wanks to a model in a burkini is that considered a Halal form of masturbation?

gspencer said...

"But I am fascinated by the notion that I am the pilot of my beauty."

Your fascination might properly turn to outright alarm when you realize that we're being spoon-fed Shariah, left and right, up and down.

Yancey Ward said...

If you go to the beach these days, you'll see quite a few people who need a pilot. And his tugboat.

Or Greenpeace to help shove them back into the ocean.

Limited Perspective said...

To keep up with the times, SI needs Caitlyn Jenner, Ruth Ginsburg at 80 (she had great beauty was she was young), and Beto, or Mayor Pete, or Obama (some D male) in swimsuits. The issue needs to be given public funds in order to educate the masses in beauty.

The issue will have more beauty than the current young-boy looking female models favored by the gay fashion industry. Take it from Nancy Pelosi, you are the Kamikaze pilot of your own beauty.

Temujin said...

SI has gone the way of ESPN, which has followed the way they've been shown by multitudes of right-thinking 19 year olds. The Swimsuit issue is now officially dead. So is SI. And in my realm, so is ESPN.

Interestingly- the Lions still suck. Hockey is still great. Sports still works...without SI or ESPN. Hmm.

gilbar said...

okay, i've finally given this two minutes of thought
So, SI is Proudly Celebrating its promotion of GRAVEN IMAGES of Women.
According to Islamic LAW, there can ONLY be ONE RESPONSE to GRAVEN IMAGES
and YOU ALL KNOW what that response MUST BE!

Yancey Ward said...

Yes, Cheryl was hot. I had a poster of her in my bedroom that I used to...........look at.

Yancey Ward said...

It was this one. God, I love Google sometimes.

Big Mike said...

so,
they removed the bikinis in the miss america contest


For just a moment I thought gilbar was saying that they had come up with an, ah, interesting way to boost drooping ratings.

Bill Peschel said...

Probably appropriate of nothing, but I love her no-bullshit attitude:

"The part never calls for it [nudity]. And I’ve never ever used that excuse. The box office calls for it."

Helen Mirren

Big Mike said...

I am having too much fun with this post. Shame on me. [snort!]

walter said...

readering said...I wonder how much longer SI remains in print. They have tried to introduce some interesting variation with plus size models, but I don't think it took.
--
It's so sad that a burkina'd gal works the angle better than the "plus".
I mean, the burkina is HOT!
As in really too warm of attire on a summer beach.

narciso said...

The word is replaced, it's a ridiculous notion.

Anonymous said...

Um, if a Muslim male sees all that female skin & hair OF ALL OF THE OTHER SWIMSUIT MODELS BESIDES THE ONE IN THE BURKINI, won’t he go to Hell anyway??????? So what’s SI’s point in going after that demographic?

MayBee said...

YoungHegelian said...
The SI burkha swimsuit issue was a soft & gentle lob of the tennis ball over the net which the Babylon Bee then proceeded to spike.


Genius indeed. Hahhahahaha!

Another good laugh is the Today Show panel talking about the empowerment of it, and how models are models because they allow themselves to shine through. Total gibberish. And then to imagine them saying the same thing about the imagined Baptist model. So good.

MayBee said...

You know the people who will sell you out-- they are the ones calling a picture of a woman in a burking "empowering".

Static Ping said...

Wokeness is insanity masquerading as a secular cult masquerading as "justice." If it makes sense then it has been done wrong.

Fen said...

"It's not a beauty pageant, it's a SCHOLARSHIP program"

That's lovely baby. Could you arch those hips up higher, yah that's it, thanks.

Anonymous said...

i say .....Pictures or it didn’t happen. if you want to rent car in Dubai shiftcarrental is a good choice.

Rent a car in Dubai

tim in vermont said...

"Cod is my co-pilot.”

FIIFY

tim maguire said...

Earnest Prole said...I find it astounding the SI swimsuit issue is still a thing — it’s like learning there’s still a market for buggy whips and carbon paper.

You’re astounded that men like to look at pictures of beautiful women?

I don’t believe you.

Breezy said...

So I learned you can add the suffix “ini” to any dreadful oppressive garb and it makes it then empowering.

tim in vermont said...

OK, “My cod is my co-pilot."