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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in aesthetics

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Nazis with Tiki Torches

Ritualist to the Third Reich Leni Riefenstahl must be spinning (widdershins, probably) in her grave.

Nazis with tiki torches.

Now ain't that pitiful.

They didn't even care enough to make themselves real torches.

If this had been a pagan event, of course, we would have had a community-wide Potluck and Torch-Making a few days before.

But for the organizers of the Charlottesville alt-Reich event, apparently buying bulk at the nearest minimum-wage Big Box store was good enough.

Sorry, folks: as a ritualist, I'm just not impressed. If this is the Great White Hope of the “white race” (whatever that means), I'm afraid the prognosis isn't very good.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Archaic Smile

Back when I was trying to figure out my tastes, I would compare pictures of men.

OK, which one do you find more attractive?

Then the harder question.

Why?

One of the things that I learned about myself is that I really like guys that smile.

One of the things that I learned about Americans while traveling abroad was that Americans smile a lot. As a people, that says something about us.

I smile a lot myself. Hey, I've waited tables; my waiter's smile has had miles of practice. When you read to others as different—and when you look at me, you tend to think “gay” right away—a smile is a useful tool.

Call me a Philistine if you like (see if I care), but when it comes to ancient Greek art, I've always prefered Archaic to Classical. Classical art I admire; Archaic art I love.

Some of it is a matter of relationality, to be sure. Perfection is cold. But stylization, the schematic, simultaneously creates a distance and bridges that distance. Beholding it—by which I mean participatory seeing—you sense essence.

And then, of course, there's that mysterious smile—it's even known as the Archaic Smile—that plays about the lips of Archaic figures like a flickering flame. What are they smiling about? you want to ask. What do they know that I don't?

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Posch, "O happy people, children of happy gods." And that made me smile.
  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Do the Beautiful Thing

Do you lead a beautiful life?

Ethicist Magenta Griffith once observed to me that beauty is a moral quality.

This strikes me as one of the most profound—and useful—statements on the topic that I've heard in years.

When making decisions, I frequently have cause to ask myself: What is the right thing to do? What is the honorable thing to do?

But maybe I also need to be asking: What is the beautiful thing to do?

We err if we restrict consideration of the beautiful to aesthetics. Beautiful behavior is something that we all recognize when we see it, even if we can't define it.

What is the beautiful thing to do? Well, Socrates could give you a better rule of thumb than I can. But I'll be happy to name some specifics.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Megan
    Megan says #
    Perfectly written and simply put!
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    I do agree wholeheartedly! Nice piece.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Once and Future Goddess

I wore the little silver goddess for years.

Then I lost her.

What struck me most was how much I missed her.

I own some beautiful jewelry, but—ritual aside—rarely wear it. The little silver goddess was the only exception: both symbol and reality, herself her own best symbol.

Then she was gone.

A coven-sib gave her to me (I think for Yule) years ago. Simultaneously unobtrusive and monumental, she's of no particular culture. Schematic, asymmetric, she beautifully embodies what singer-songwriter Sparky T. Rabbit once described as the perfect New Pagan aesthetic, managing somehow to look “both old and new at the same time.”

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