May 15, 2022

Sentence of the Day.

Get you diagramming pencil sharpened!

This is from "Ron Galella’s Relentless Gaze/The photographer’s work provides a stark illustration of the hold that celebrity has on our culture" by Naomi Fry in The New Yorker (Note: Galella died recently. Lots of Galella photos of celebs at the link):

The photographer sought to catch celebrities with their masks lowered and their auras punctured, but the paradox that animates his best photos is that, whether camera-ready or not, the stars he shot couldn’t help but magnetize—whether thanks to the ineffable glow of fame or, simply, because Galella captured them, a circumstance that created its own kind of intimate halo.

 Here, I'll get you started:


That's the easy part, though. We all lose interest after that — don't we? — except hypothetically. You see all those phrases. You wonder how big of a piece of paper you'd need to hang them wherever they belong.

But what about the meaning? And let's not isolate form and meaning, because the question always is — with these sentences of the day — whether the length and complexity are justified. Is there something wonderful that rewards the diligent reader? 

I'm a little skeptical because of the use of "auras" near the beginning and then — near the end — a return to the idea of auras but with different words: "glow of fame" and "intimate halo." 

It may be a humdrum fear of the "second mention," but maybe the author really built something worthy. The idea is that Galella meant to puncture the aura, but they kept their aura. My skepticism is taking over now. 

Everything depends on whether there really is a paradox! A man meant to do something and it didn't work out. He meant to drag the celebrities down to earth, but they're so superhuman that catching them being ordinary makes that seem all the more special. They incandesce! Okay, I'm going to approve.


Joe Smith said...

Interesting concept.

Do they have a glow because they're celebrities?

Or are they celebrities because they have an innate glow?

I saw a woman once while waiting on a corner to cross the street in San Francisco.

I just happened to look her way and she looked right at me.

She was so beautiful she didn't look she was an actual angel.

Maybe it was a blessing for her, but I could also see it being a curse.

If she wasn't famous I'm sure she could have been had she wished...

gilbar said...

is there a World Wide Shortage, of "Periods" ?
I don't mean lady troubles.. I mean sentence ender thingies.. You know.. Dots

Why the glut of commas then? Though i "guess" the lack of dots would show up in the lack of semicolons too

Owen said...

Mixed Metaphor Alert! "...auras punctured." How do you puncture an aura? Do these people have no grasp of the words they use?

Ann Althouse said...

"Mixed Metaphor Alert! "...auras punctured." How do you puncture an aura?"

I also thought there was mixed metaphor in bringing in "magnetize" when everything else was about light — aura, glow, halo.

Owen said...

"Magnetize" would actually make sense: the aurora borealis is the visible interaction of the solar wind with the Earth's magnetosphere, that is, magnetic field producing aura, glow, halo...

Joe Smith said...

'I also thought there was mixed metaphor in bringing in "magnetize" when everything else was about light — aura, glow, halo.'

"Light is a wave of both electric and magnetic fields, but when these waves strike matter, the weaker effect of the magnetic component has been nearly impossible to detect directly."

Sella Turcica said...

Why all the hating on mixed metaphors? Wasn’t it Will Rogers who said: “I never metaphor I didn’t like?”

realestateacct said...

It made me think of the Marilyn Monroe anecdote excerpted from

"Marilyn had never been in a subway. Wrapped in the camel’s hair coat, her famous hair subdued, she walked to the Grand Central stop of the IRT and down to the platform. Nobody recognized her. Eddie’s camera kept clicking while she stood straphanging on the uptown local. No heads turned.

Back up on the street, Marilyn looked around with a teasing smile. “Do you want to see her ?” she asked, then took off the coat, fluffed up her hair, and arched her back in a pose. In an instant she was engulfed, and it took several shoving, scary minutes to rewrap her and push clear of the growing crowd."

Lee Strasberg told a similar story about her in a memoir about Actor's Studio.

paminwi said...

Call me what ever you would like. When the first thing I see is Springsteen I closed the article. I have an unexplainable disdain for him. Even pictures of him!

Wince said...

Some sentences are more suited to be given a chalk outline rather than a diagram.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks for the science about light and magnets.

Lurker21 said...

You could convey the same information in a much simpler way, but you couldn't get it published in the New Yorker. How much of criticism is just working simple perceptions up into more florid concoctions?

Galella was a big name in the newspapers in the Seventies and Eighties, but hasn't been heard of since then. Jackie O sued him to get a restraining order, but the trouble between Ron and Jackie was good for both of them.