america

The Whole George

"Staring and staring into the mirror, it sees many faces within its face--the face of the child, the boy, the young man, the not-so-young man--all present still, preserved like fossils on superimposed layers, and, like fossils, dead. Their message to this live dying creature is: Look at us--we have died--what is there to be afraid of?

Isherwood portrait, 1950s (?). Photographer unknown. Lifted from the  Book Drunk  blog.

Isherwood portrait, 1950s (?). Photographer unknown. Lifted from the Book Drunk blog.

...

It stares and stares. Its lips part. It starts to breathe through its mouth. Until the cortex orders it impatiently to wash, to shave, to brush its hair. Its nakedness has to be covered. It must be dressed up in clothes because it is going outside, into the world of the other people; and these others must be able to identify it. Its behavior must be acceptable to them.

...

By the time it has gotten dressed: it has become he; has become already more or less George--though still not the whole George they demanded and are prepared to recognize. Those who call him on the phone at this hour of the morning would be bewildered, maybe even scared, if they could realize what this three-quarters-human thing is that they are talking to. But, of course, they never could--its voice's mimicry of their George is nearly perfect." (8)

 

Isherwood, Christopher. A Single Man. London: Meuthen & Co., Ltd, 1964.

 

Writers on fashion theory: dress as identity, identifier.

With the Stuffing Out

"She was a giant of a woman, her face was set not only to meet opposition, but to seek it out. The downward tilt of her large lower lip was like a warning sign: "don't tamper with me." Her bulging figure was encased in a green crape dress and her feet overflowed in red shoes. She had on a hideous hat. A purple velvet flap came down on one side of it, and stood up on the other. The rest of it was green and looked like a cushion with the stuffing out. She carried a mammoth red pocketbook that bulged throughout as if it were stuffed with rocks.

Vintage photo with attitude (and hats) from the wonderful  Wildfell Hall .

Vintage photo with attitude (and hats) from the wonderful Wildfell Hall.

To Julian's disappointment the little boy climbed up on the empty seat beside his mother. His mother lumped all children, black and white, into the common category "cute," and she thought little Negroes were on the whole cuter than little white children. She smiled at the little boy as he climbed on the seat. Meanwhile, the woman was bearing down on the empty seat beside Julian. To his annoyance, she squeezed herself into it. He saw his mother's face change as the woman settled herself next to him, and he realized with satisfaction that this was more objectionable to her than it was to him. Her face seemed almost grey, and there was a look of dull recognition in her eyes, as if she suddenly had sickened at some awful confrontation. Julian saw it was because she and the woman had, in a sense, swapped sons, though his mother would not recognize the symbolic significance of this. She would feel it. His amusement showed plainly on his face.

The woman next to him muttered something unintelligible to herself. He was conscious of a kind of bristling next to him, a muted growling, like that of an angry cat. He could not see anything but the red pocketbook upright on the bulging green thighs. He visualized the woman as she had stood waiting for her tokens, the ponderous figure rising from the red shoes upward over the solid hips, the mammoth bosom, the haughty face, to the green-and-purple hat. His eyes widened. The vision of the two hats, identical, broke upon him with the radiance of brilliant sunrise."

 

O'Connor, Flannery. "Everything That Rises Must Converge" from Everything that Rises Must Converge. New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1965.

 

Read the story or listen to it on Selected Shorts to get in on the joke! Beautiful use of clothing in fiction, underlining the plot and punctuating the moral, that exclamation point of a hat.

Socks are his Vice

"'This is the only thing my son is into,' she said. 'If socks are his vice, I can live with that.'

Nike Elite Socks. Photo copyright Nike.

Nike Elite Socks. Photo copyright Nike.

...Added Jake Lefferts, 13, a basketball player from Maplewood, NJ, whose team won its suburban-league championship two years ago: 'All the good basketball teams have the cool socks. It's like we know who's good, but the socks reinforce that they are.'" (14-15)

 

Rubin, Courtney. "Athletic Socks that Give a Foot Bragging Rights" New York Times, Sunday, September 29, 2013.

 

A forgotten gem, noted that day on a hidden page. The lowly sock! Creating meaning beyond Hanes' grandest expectations...