In a Just World, This Would be NSFW, But As It Is…

Plimco got me thinking today about Correggio’s Jupiter and Io, which I think is one of the hottest pieces of art to ever have been created.  I think, for me, it’s her slight smile as she turns her cheek to his lips and the way you can almost feel the cool fabric against her leg as it slides right to make room.  That, and how firmly she grasps his right… cloud part/arm.  I mean, look at how round she is, not anything firm on her, except the hard line of her spine, and that shoulder.

I don’t really know a lot about art.  I don’t really know how to write about it.  But I like to look at this painting.  I like how the blues and dark golden browns balance each other and how she and her white robe hang between them (it’s like a shout-out to her lunar nature).  And I love the contrast between the sharp realism of her face and hair and robe and the more dreamy suggestion of the shape of the cloud and the tree and the ground around her.

But here’s what’s really interesting to me.  I think it means something that all of the things we might call ‘artifice’ are what Correggio makes so sharp and clear.  We see clearly the hairdo, the fabric, her subtly made-up face, and the handle and rim of the vase.  The natural things are less clear, though we can make out the thrusting roots and the clod of dirt reaching around Io’s waist and the leaves and vines spilling out of or into the vase.

The suggestion is, I think, that Jupiter is not just the cloud, but the ground and the tree–everything natural–right?

So, what’s it suggest about the nature of the divine, at least in Correggio’s eyes, that parts of Jupiter are becoming clear–his face, his hand?  If a clear rendering indicates some level of artifice, then clearly (tee hee) Correggio’s suggesting that the parts of the gods that most resemble us are artifices designed for ease of interaction with us, right?

I don’t know.  It’s like there’s some truth right there on the tip of my tongue about how a god like Jupiter seems to be a manifestation of something wild and deeply rooted in nature, that/who can pull his power from nature, and also transform into something recognizable by us.

There’s a lot going on in this picture, for as still as it is.  It seems dark in the sky behind Jupiter, but the scene is brightly lit.  Io is hanging on the brink of sexual ecstasy, between heaven and earth.  And Jupiter hangs there between natural, supernatural, and human.   Everything’s in a moment of transition.  The world is changing.

And I love that Io is open to it.


p.s.  How beautiful is the Kunsthistorisches Museum’s online rendition of this painting?  Damn.

It is ‘Bien,’ Right?

You know you go into a restaurant way too often when the same woman who always takes your order asks you “Como esta?” and you say “bien” and she asks “How are you?” and you say, “Bien, right?” and she laughs like you’ve just said… oh, I don’t know… “I’m having an orgasm.”

I have no idea what Spanish word it sounds like when I say “Bien” but I was both mortified when she laughed, and delighted, because it was beautiful to watch, her whole face lit up and her eyes sparkled and, really, how can you not laugh in return at that?

Ha, maybe I should have asked Santa for Spanish lessons for Christmas instead of shoes, because, apparently, I can’t even pronounce the few words I do know.

The Ozzy Effect

Little Pasture reports that the .gov is reporting that drug use is down.  Now, over at Say Uncle’s, one of his readers raises a good point that it’s unclear whether drug use is down as much as they say or if people are more reluctant to tell an increasingly nosey and lawless .gov that they’re doing drugs.  But let’s say that drug use is down, at least some.

Why might that be?

I don’t know, but I’m going to posit one possible reason:

Ozzy Osbourne.

Who wants to grow up to be like him?

Yes, everyone knows that, if you use drugs, you might become an addict, but at least there’s something dramatically tragic about addiction, at least in how it’s portrayed in the media.  And you might die, but again, the deaths–at least from the outside–are glamorous and tragic.

Drugs are fun.  That’s the main reason people do them.

Do people know that there’s some danger?  Yes, but we justify it to ourselves by saying that either it’s not going to be a problem for us or, if it is a problem, it will be a grand epic problem that we will GET THROUGH.

And, I posit that it’s easy enough, even if you know boring asshole addicts who are annoying and scary and con artisty, to convince yourself that, if you become addicted to drugs, it’s not going to be like that; it’s going to be tragic and glamorous, just like a rock star, until you see that even said rock stars don’t always become tragic, glamorous messes, but sometimes just become men old before their times dottering around in the wrecked shells they left themselves.

I just don’t think that there was any more effective “This is what becomes of drug users…” campaign in the 00s than The Osbournes, and it doesn’t surprise me at all that, as that became the public face of what drug use is, drug use declined.

Our Corporate Overlords

There are three details in the Jones incident that stick with me on top of the just disgusting gruesomeness of the accusations.  One is that our government had to rescue her from her employer.  Two is that crucial evidence in the case, her rape kit, was turned over to her employer.  And three that there still seems to be some controversy about whether these private companies are beyond any law.

I know we’re supposed to sit around and fret about extra-national terrorists–who, for the sake of optimum fear-inducement are portrayed as young, poor, non-Christian, religious fanatics whose hatred for us binds them together across disparate nationalities and removes from them any fear of death or criminal reprisals.

But I fear the private armies of multinational corporations.  Is it too much to ask what loyalty Halliburton has to us?

What’s interesting to me is the way these fears already sit half-articulated at the edge of our awareness.  It’s like we get that violent people with no ties to anything but themselves are a real threat to us, but we expend all our energy on the war on terror in such a way that allows violent people with no ties to anything but their corporation to run amuck and for the people of the world to grow used to their involvement in world events.

I mean, remember when there was all that talk about how gangs were supposedly getting members to enlist for the training and combat experience so that they’d be more effective when they got home?  But isn’t it clear that that’s almost exactly how these private military companies work?  You get your training in the Armed Forces and then take your knowledge to the PMC, where more lucrative pay checks await.

This is one of the core problems of the United States, it seems to me–our ability to recognize a problem, while at the same time giving that problem the face of one of our favorite bogey-men.

We cover our real, terrifying problems with scary masks.