Thursday, March 14, 2013

FEMININE BEAUTY, OR 70 GIRLS 70


Some things are absurd. I am frequently accused of misogyny; what nonsense! For me, there is nothing more beautiful in the world, and thus more sacred, than a beautiful woman. True, this excludes many women; it presupposes beauty of face and body, of limbs and extremities—ideally, the convergence of several beauties into one.

Of course, face and figure are the most important, and, after that, legs and behind. But one can be a beautiful woman without perfection in all parts; we think of Myrna Loy, Gene Tierney and Liz Taylor as beautiful, even if none of them had perfect legs. And unless we have seen them in bikinis, we cannot vouch for their derrieres. And sometimes not even then.







But even with some imperfections, there is nothing, I repeat, more beautiful than a beautiful woman. This is true even in art, hence the prevalence of female nudes. But art also reveals to us how the concept of beauty has changed over the years. What was beautiful for Rubens or Rembrandt is quite different from what was beautiful for Manet or Modigliani. 





Thus what I proclaim beautiful today may not be so for future generations. Even so, let me name a number of actresses from several countries whom, at one time or another, I have found beautiful. Even just writing down their names gives me a frisson of beatitude.



Isabelle Adjani, Anouk Aimée, Bibi Andersson, Ursula Andress, Laura Antonelli, Karin Baal, Barbara Bach, Brigitte Bardot, Halle Berry, Adriana Beneti, Laura Betti, Jacqueline Bisset, Florinda Bolkan, Francesca Braggiotti, Genevieve Bujold, Leslie Caron, Valentina Cortese, Dorothy Dandridge, Danielle Darrieux, Catherine Deneuve, Doris Dowling, Anita Ekberg, Lena Endre, Jane Fonda, Megan Fox, Jane Greer, Virginia Grey, Camilla Horn, Brigitte Horney, Marsha Hunt, Jennifers Garner and Lopez, Jessicas Alba and Beil, Angelina Jolie, Katalin Karádi, Nicole Kidman, Keira Knightley, Johanna von Koczian, Hilde Krahl, La Jana, Hedy Lamarr, Diane Lane, Virginie Ledoyen, Vivien Leigh, Sofia Loren, Anita Louise, Antonella Lualdi, Silvana Mangano, Lea Massari, Irene von Meyendorff, Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Sarah Miles, Marilyn Monroe,  Rossana Podesta, Micheline Presle, Liselotte Pulver, Lee Remick, Julia Roberts, Laila Robins, Keri Russell, Romy Schneider, Simone Signoret, Alexis Smith, Kristina Söderbaum, Audrey Tautou, Elizabeth Taylor, Charlize Theron, Ingrid Thulin, Gene Tierney, Nadja Tiller, Mari Törőcsik and Alida Valli.








Given my lifelong distaste for lists, I have herewith contradicted myself, but, like others who have lapsed into self-contradiction, I invoke Walt Whitman in my defense. Some seeming contradictions may even be mere changes of opinion, which are perfectly permissible.

Now, what of looks acquired through or enhanced by cosmetic surgery? Some people regard that as cheating, indeed invalid. Not so I; I say beauty is beauty, however achieved.



More problematic are women whose sexiness, though not exactly beauty, proves a compelling substitute. Think Nastassja Kinski or Gloria Grahame.



Sometimes the boundaries are blurry and it is hard to decide whether a woman is beautiful or just sexy: think Marion Cotillard, Susan Sarandon or Sigourney Weaver. What is certain is that no straight man would kick any of them out of bed. 





Someone might wonder why my list is as long as it is. Usually lists are of the ten-best or twenty-best variety. This one could easily have been much longer and I am sure to be soon kicking myself for some obvious omissions. The intention was to include those women who, at my various stages, have been most attractive, most exciting to me.




Definitely omitted are women who were merely lovable. That is more of an inner beauty, not visible, and therefore not to be counted. It is more goodness than beauty, though the two sometimes get confused. Not to be omitted were some actresses not known to many of my readers. Not any of them ended up in my arms, but once a woman becomes a memory, there is scant difference between what you had and what you only yearned for.




You most likely know how pleasurable it is to live with a lovely view outside your windows. Well, how about having it inside your walls in the forms of a beautiful face and figure? 



                                                           
You go to bed content and wake up content, and in between there is something even better. You are not plagued by envy of other men, and feel affluent without a dollar in the bank. Life itself has become beautiful.



To be sure, you may resent knowing, or just knowing of, a woman beautiful without deserving it in the slightest. Why such injustice? You must then be either very young or blind not to be resigned to there being no justice in the world.

And then, again, how relative everything is! I see on my computer a full-length picture of Jane Greer in a bikini and leaning on an outdoor chair. She is stunning from top to toe, yet out of eleven respondents, one, so Google tells me, finds her feet ugly. This strikes me as totally incomprehensible. Tastes may differ, but white cannot be anyone’s black, square anyone’s round. Jane Greer’s feet are just fine; is that respondent an idiot?



The only problem with female beauty is that, like any other, lesser one, it ages. Some women age better than others, but none, alas, stays forever young. Some women are beautiful even in old age, but merely with the austere, cold beauty of the monument they have become. It is not even the just one remove from the flesh and blood kind of a photograph. It inspires merely a remote nostalgia for what the woman must have been or, if she is a friend or spouse, was. She is even a symbol of mortality, inducing a kind of melancholy respect. Is that a good feeling? I truly don’t know.




84 comments:

  1. Why not replace one of your two Simone Signorets with one Julie Chrisie? And what? No Jeanne Moreau? Or is she just sexy? Think "Bae Des Anges."

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  2. I find this post disturbing. I guess some men never learn that objectifying women in this way is something women would like to believe men grow out of.

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    1. It's not 'objectifying' women but mythifying, deifying, and revering women with beauty. Beauty, like genius and talent, is relatively rare. Great beauty is really rare. Artists have depicted the beauty of women and men. Did Michelangelo 'objectify' men by making David? Did Da Vinci 'objectify' women by painting beautiful women?

      Of course, beauty isn't everything. A person can be ugly on the outside but decent inside. A beautiful person can be stupid or evil.
      Even so, it's natural for us to take notice of and value beauty in flowers, animals, and people. Aesthetic Victorianism is repressive.

      There is the problem of 'objectifying' women as 'sex objects' or 'sex meat' in porn. Such women are treated as 'cumbuckets'. That isn't Simon's way of talking about women.

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    2. There is no point in arguing or attempting to reeducate. You waste your breath. For some (odd) reason you seek her approval and you will never receive it. You wish to convert her to your religion. But she worships a different God. Let her be. Stop evangelizing feminists.

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    3. Creepy men being creepy. I'm a MAN and I have THOUGHTS about beautiful women! Some women are beautiful, some are not! You have to wonder: are they beautiful, sexy, or both?! Or lovable and not beautiful? Or lovable AND beautiful, like a GODDESS! Oh, hear my precious thoughts! I feel, I appreciate, I'm inspired and it's important!

      You know, I feel things when I look at beautiful women too - it's nice, it's exciting, I get it. I even like looking at myself sometimes because I'm kind of vain. But you can't write about women this way without coming off as a total creep. There's just not enough substance here. Just like you can't talk about "noble savages" without sounding like a clueless racist imperialist asshole. But we called them noble! We were trying to pay them a compliment! Okay, but put that in context.

      Women are idealized into submission - that's how it works. You feel good about idealizing women because you're creepily attached to your male power, which is FINE. Kinky, even. Save it for the bedroom. But don't try to trump it up as "prose" because it's not art - it's played out. We're all familiar with it by now. You can get away with it as long as you don't take yourself too seriously. That's the good news, actually - you don't have to be creepy. You could probably get away with corny if you just lighten up.

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  3. No LIv Ullmann ? Ingrid Bergman ? Don't mean to nitpick but it's Jessicas Alba and Biel.Was nice to see Liza Minelli on your list, you were legendarily rough on her in the past, I presume it's because she's reached that monument status.
    Unless I missed it, I believe you haven't responded to any posts in your comment section but here's a question anyhow. Have you considered adding periodic question and answer segment on your blog?

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    1. Liv Ullmann had nice eyes but teutonic forehead and big fat lips that belonged on a Negress. She was a good actress but nothing special. I prefer her as director of Bergman's later screenplays.

      Lauren Bacall and Patricia Neal were tops.

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  4. A solid list. But you seem to have unintentionally omitted Emmanuelle Béart.

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    1. Lauren Bacall, Rita Hayworth, Michelle Rene Thomas, Kirsten Thomas, Ashley Greene, Monica Bellucci, Rose Byrne, Sandrine Bonnaire, Janet Leigh, Keiko Kishi, Anna Vissi, Stevie Nicks, Meiko Kaji, Irene Pappas, Dalida, etc are all special.

      Among men, Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan, Alain Delon, Clint Eastwood, and Paul Newman are tops.

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  5. HAHAHA I get it John. Total satire right. You're making fun of the sexist shitbags who would ACTUALLY mean the things you wrote right? You, an educated man of arts & letters, would never objectify women as a way of claiming you aren't sexist/misogynist. You would never sit shirtless in the dark, fingers quivering with confused eroticism as you describe all ONE ways women are great: beauty (which fades, leaving them useless to your lecherous eyes). You wouldn't do that. This is satire. Very funny. I get it.

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    1. Clearly, you're missing John's point. I do not think this is satire at all. Can't you tell from the author's photograph and list of publications that he is serious as...as a burka, as foot-binding, as female genital mutilation?

      Sadly, "jeffrey," even though you are that rarity, a "feminist" with a "sense of humor," your laugh is misplaced and inappropriate. In fact, I suspect you are actually a woman, and probably not a very pretty one.

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    2. *pulls off face to reveal that of history's most beautiful woman, makes out with John Doug Gary and William who clearly are not gross sexists because of the way they admire women, also we are all laughing while kissing, also this happens forever*

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    3. Okay, "jeffrey," at first I thought you were just confused, but now I see you're openly mocking us all simply for having standards. Why don't you crawl back beneath the pedestal you can never climb upon, where you can fondle your cats and your misplaced outrage in private.

      Mr. Simon has been writing about the beauty of things for half a century, back to when women couldn't apply for credit cards or rent apartments on their own. So I'm pretty sure he knows what he's talking about when he says he's not a misogynist. He doesn't hate women, he loves them. When they're beautiful.

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    4. you're a sad case, aren't you? you're saying he only loves beautiful women? congrats, you just proved what a misogynist he is. you're pitiful, you know.

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    5. Human beings objectify each other, it's what we do. Now, grow up and deal with it.

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    6. What is this 'objectify' shit? Simon is an art critic, and much--thought not all--of art is about appreciation of beauty. There's beauty in music, poetry, appearances(or how the artists expresses and captures it), and etc.
      And seriously, you mean you guys don't make judgments based on 'beauty' or outward appearance? Don't people base their choice of what dogs or cats to get on beauty?
      Isn't one's looks a major factor in finding one's mate? Surely, all things being equal, a woman's gonna choose a man who looks like Sean Connery than one that looks like Bob Hoskins. I like Bob Hoskins as an actor, but Connery is much better looking guy. People are sexual creatures, and much of sexual attraction is based on looks.
      And if it's wrong to 'objectify' women by her looks, why is it okay to 'subjectify' or 'conceptualize' a woman by her musical talent or intelligence? After all, a smart person can be cruel and evil. A person with great artistic talent can be an asshole.
      We can all agree that goodness of the heart isn't related to beauty, talent, or intelligence. An ugly midget or hunchback can be good of heart. But, is it wrong to be awed by genius, talent, or beauty?
      Simon isn't saying that beautiful people should have more rights, no more than he's saying a person with artistic talent should rule as dictator.
      He's saying that he's honest about appreciating beauty in women... just like honest women admit they look good looking guys.

      Btw, Puritans, Orthodox Jews, communists, and fundamentalist Muslims have been against beauty and sensuality. Traditional Muslims require women to cover up their beauty. Maoists forced all men and women to wear the same drab suits. Jew traditionally forbade idols and stoned people who did obey sexual laws. Granted, the cult of beauty can be used for oppression too. Greeks were beauty nuts and they practiced mass slavery and imperialism. Black African tribesmen are into ass-shaking sensualism among the skanky women and muscle-flexing among the men, but they were fierce warriors and enslavers and mass killers. Nazis were beauty cultists and they waged war on the 'ugly' races. Gays are crazy about beauty but they are so fussy wussy and tutti fruity and annoying as hell. Also, the Nazi SA was originally full of gays.

      So, we can't hang human virtue on the cult of beauty or on the cult of anti-beauty. We need to be honest and admit beauty matters but also need to understand that it's not everything.

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  6. "jeffrey," "jeffrey" -- look left and look right. Legend. Great History. Have you studied letters? I suspect not. When you have, let us all have an educated discussion on the proportions of woman that have been loved and adored through the ages. Why do you loathe beauty so much?

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  9. All kidding aside, John, you should never have been allowed to review a single work of art in your life. If you can't see your own rotten soul, how were you ever capable of criticizing others's? (hint: you weren't capable of it at all.)

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    1. "you should never" ... Big Brother, much?

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  10. Women can have great beauty, sure,
    And men can have it too---
    (Avedon's photo of Nureyev
    Shows him beautiful in the nu')---

    And men's bods are objectified just as much
    In these days in which we roam---
    The bowl of bitter 'G-d I'm ugly'
    Is for both sexes now to own.

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  11. Even misogynists can find themselves attracted to women. If you want to talk about beauty then talk about beauty - but don't act like thinking someone is attractive means you respect or support them based on sex.

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    1. Why should anyone be respected or supported on the basis of sex? There are good women and bad women. We must judge them as individuals, as we do for the men. The idea of supporting or respecting someone simply because she is a woman is what's stupid. You are one dumb silly ho.

      It's like stupid guys who think they are so badass simply because they got a pair of balls. Men or women, each must be judged by his or her special qualities.

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  12. Fuck you !!! You misogynistic dick of a human waste.

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    1. I'll bet you're a hag and envious because no one notices you.

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  13. hahahah what is this nonsense, you pompous old man? please do shut up.

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  14. I don't fault you for appreciating beauty (and you write about it well). What I fault you for is having such a limited idea of what beauty is. And also, for being so self loathing that you believe what is human is not beautiful. It's the complete opposite, and if you had ever truly loved another being rather than just admire it, attributing all sorts of ideas to it of what it "could" be--could symbolize--you would know that. Why have I come to this conclusion? You favor young, pristine women. Men don't seem to be people that can be beautiful to you--because men are people. Men are the same as you. Whereas women are mysterious and other worldly? Not old--the old have had experiences and have come to be fully realized. Not the ones who are unique and particular in shape--you can't project your own fantasies onto women so particular. But the symmetrical, the young, the female--those are the perfect palette for your personal fantasies. These women aren't beautiful to you--they aren't anything to you because you aren't seeing the full picture. Your own thoughts and projections are beautiful to you. Are you a misogynist? Misogyny is the hatred of women--and I don't think you have any thoughts on women at all, because you don't know what they are. What you are is ridiculously self involved.

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    1. 'Misogyny' is just BS cooked up by ugly and/or stupid hag feminists who are really envious of the fact that men notice good looking women over ugly women.
      It's like dorky ugly guys hate the fact that women prefer good looking and dashing men. It's no wonder that dorky ugly guys and ugly hag feminists forged an alliance. They are both ugly and no one wants them.

      Yes, Simon does have a limited idea of beauty. He mentions no Asian-Indian women and others. He generally likes European beauty and is allergic to Jewish looks. My guess is he hates the films of the great Satyajit Ray because he finds Asian-Indians to be rather ugh.
      Simon has a limited taste in music too. We should kick his butt for dissing Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach. But he is what he is. No one likes everything and everyone. It's just a fact. And to his credit, Simon always maintained that his biases are his own and that's that.

      While there are different kinds of beauty, I think most honest people will admit that young is better looking than old. Beauty is elitist by nature, and all this 'we are all beautiful' kumbaya crap is like pretending that all kids are equally intelligent since there are so many kinds of intelligence.

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    2. A) Just as most women aren't beautiful, most men aren't high-status. I'm not high-status and I deal with it just fine. The vast majority of women are, at least, moderately attractive during their youth and would do well to capitalize on it then.

      B) We are animals. We're born, we die. After dying, we quickly rot. Beauty is something that is measurable and particular, like height.

      C) The full picture? What full picture? Mystical babble.

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    4. Oh, brother. You're the one who's self-involved! You are talking to thin air, to your own echo. What's that? He's attracted to "the symmetrical, the young, the female"? Why it's almost like he's a straight male! And notice that the title of this post is "FEMININE BEAUTY", not "MASCULINE BEAUTY", "FEMINIST BEAUTY", or "UNATTRACTIVE BEAUTY". You get some points for trying to be original--instead of screeching misogynist straightaway, you went for the humble-brag of insults: "Not even that!" And you did put some thought into this, but if you re-read you'll see that Simon explicitly separates beautiful from lovable, and focuses on the former.

      Where would we be without your Critical Thinking to clear things up, and that of the several millions of like-minded university-spawn?

      PS: Elaine, don't worry. You're in no danger of being objectified.

      PPS: At first I thought this essay was written in jest (how did I get here, anyway?), but no, and after some preliminary googling I've come to realize the comparative poverty of my own meager-but-effective spank bank. Cheers!

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    5. I find your statement an objectification of sorts, though you clearly mean it as an insult. One can objectify in many ways. Sorry I don't measure up to your standards. Actually, I'm not sorry at all!

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    6. Don't mind what he wrote, Elaine. I say you're one lovely and good-looking ho whether you're objectified or subjectified or whatever.

      Hos R Us and that be the truth.

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    7. Well, good. It's a sign of maturification that you didn't get offensified after being boorishly objectified by an unedumacated nobody.

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  15. Wow, did you just decide to plop down a list of actresses you think are pretty? As if people weren't aware that most actresses (and most actors) are good-looking. As if there was anything special about who you particularly like (not for talent or anything, just based on who turns you on). It's like someone deciding to write philosophically about their favorite foods. Did you know I like mashed potatoes? Except that in this case the food is human beings. I mean, the prose is impressive, but the content seems like something that should be coming from a 14-year-old boy, not a man of your age and experience.

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  16. Replies
    1. What of earth IS an "asshat"? I have been trying to picture it, Jean, but absolutely nothing comes to mind.

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    2. Per the online Urban Dictionary, the term asshat is used to describe someone whose head is so far up his or her ass that s/he is wearing the ass as a hat.

      http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=asshat

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  17. Men, similarly, don't stay forever young. They accumulate - hopefully - wisdom, knowledge and experience equally or more valuable than their receding youthful vigor. Meanwhile, as collagen breaks down and elastin slackens, they morph into a different beauty, one that provides a map of their years.

    The difference is that the youthful sort of beauty is all that is found valuable about them. And that is why it is mourned by the sort of people who cannot see any more value to women than a youthful beauty. It is only that sort of value system that would prompt a post like this.

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  18. John, please tell me you did this as a lark. It really was not nice of you to hurt the feminists' feelings this way.

    Perhaps you could do one of those Google website warnings so they can stay away and not be shocked that some males take delight in evanescent female beauty. ["Some readers have identified this site as not being feminist. Please click if you wish to continue"]

    You must have gotten your Comp Lit degree long before the pomos took over. Hell, I'll bet you remember when Helen Vendler still had a bit o' gam to flash. I cannot imagine how a normal man such as yourself could have survived in the pomo milieu. It was bad enough 35-40 years ago when I was studying. I can only guess how excruciatingly correct a Comp Lit, Lit Crit or English degree is now.

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    1. Feminuts bitch about 'objectification' but they are the result of the PRODUCTIFICATION of thought. They all drone on and on like robots manufactured by the PC Inc.

      It's gotten more infuriating these days because of the rise of Slut Pride Feminism where women now constantly scream about vagina, need for slut parade, liberation via porn, pussy riot all over the globe, and etc.
      So, one bunch of feminuts whine about how women are seen as 'sex objects' while another bunch of feminuts holler about their pussy power. One side worships Betty Friedan as the fountain of all wisdom, and the other side reveres Marilyn Monroe and porn actresses as pioneers of women's 'empowerment'. Amanda Marcotte of SLATE thinks she is so cool because she slept with a porn star.

      I believe in humanism when it comes to judging people in daily life, at work, and etc. But when it comes to arts and culture, of course beauty matters. I mean who wants to see an ugly slob in a ballet? Figure and form matter in ballet. Who wants to hear an ugly voiced woman in an opera? Vocal beauty matters in opera. Who wants to see an ugly woman as romantic lead in a movie? We want the fantasy of love. Would it have made sense for James Stewart to lose his mind over Roseanne Barr in VERTIGO? It would have been just stupid, at best funny.

      Beauty--of face, figure, and voice--does matter, but the productified minds of PC idiots just wanna be teachers' pets of their 'radical' professors.

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    2. And similarly, the ugly opinions of people with ugly minds to not add to the discussion. That you are rolling around here judging female attractiveness without having first proven to me that you are any kind of attractive male shows your hypocrisy.

      I am delighted to not listen to the opinion of John Simon, because he is both old AND ugly, inside and out.

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    3. "I am delighted to not listen to the opinion of John Simon, because he is both old AND ugly, inside and out."

      Regardless of whether Simon is ugly or not, why attack him for being old? Do you hate old people? You stupid ugly young age-ist pigess!! Your age-ism is a disgrace. Do you hate your grandparents because they're old? You will grow old too one day too, but I'll say this. Based on your blog pic, you look like an ugly pig NOW.

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    4. I don't hate my grandparents because they're old,I hate them because they're my grandparents!

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  19. Patricia Neal and Donna Reed.

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  20. Claudia Cardinale and Vanessa Redgrave.

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  21. Replies
    1. At first, Mikos, I thought you were only supporting your weird hero. Now I feel that your stakes are higher. Your repeated posts belie an obsession. You seem creepier with each passing moment. You're not one of those mean ol' serial killers looking to kill me to preserve me forever at my peak beauty so that you might forever feed off of the glory of aesthetically commodifying women in order to consume them like so much snack pudding, ARE YOU?

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    2. You're some kind of a nut. I like movies and I like to see good-looking people in great movies. So do 100s of millions of people around the world. I mean what is all that celebrity culture about? I don't even go that far--I only care for good-looking people in GOOD movies--, but what the hell is wrong with admiring Cardinale in ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST or Pierce Brosnan in NOBLE HOUSE?

      What kills me is you're a total hypocrite. Just look at your blog pic. You're so made up with thick makeup and fancy hairdo. You are soooo into looks, yet you bitch and whine about the 'commodiwhatever' of women, some BS you picked up from feminist 'scholars' who got it from the Frankfurt School. You think you're iNtElLeCtUaL because you use such fancy words when you're nothing but a silly hussy who's just as much into pop culture as the rest of us.
      So, shut the hell up, dumb ho.

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  22. Mr. Simon,

    I challenge you to find an article dissecting the various merits and shortcommings of male beauty written by a woman as educated and priviledged as you. Extra credit if you can find a woman of color who has written such a treatise.

    And yes, female beauty has been the fascination of male artists throughout the centuries. However, many of those paintings, sculptures, and drawings were erotica justified by the veil of "fine art" (see Maja Desnuda/Vestida by Goya and the work of the Salon of 1862 for some great examples). That fascination began to wane with the advent of abstraction and modernism more than a hundred years ago.

    Putting Michelangelo's David up against your list of modern day actresses and performers as justification for your objectification is a poorly laid argument. Much like the weak excuse of historical paintings to showcase female nudes in the 19th Century so that the bourgeois men could have some erotica in their living rooms.

    Cheers,
    A Critic

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    1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zKmqm_3t7M

      Simon Unplugged?

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    2. Speaking as a fellow Ivy Leaguer (though not a Harvardian), I can assure you that an educated man is still a man. In fact, his refined aesthetic sensibility only heightens the educated man's appraisal of feminine beauty.

      God's gift of woman to man, while fraught with peril, is to be celebrated as Mr. Simon has done.

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    3. "In fact, his refined aesthetic sensibility only heightens the educated man's appraisal of feminine beauty."

      Not necessarily so. The refined Chinese idea of feminine beauty was bound feet on women. Among Japanese, it was shaved eyebrows and blackened teeth. Stalinist and Maoist idea of beauty was superior to those.

      And what about all that aristocratic fancy-pants female fashion among the French before the Revolution? Those tall wigs, powdered faces, and other gay-ish stuff. Refined maybe but yech.

      The best kind of beauty appreciation is direct and natural.

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  23. http://www.carygrant.net/articles/dream%20city.htm

    The Man From Dream City

    by Pauline Kael

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  24. http://www.epjournal.net/articles/facial-visualizations-of-womens-voices-suggest-a-cross-modality-preference-for-femininity/

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  25. An 'interactive' artwork
    That 'comments' on objectification---
    I bookmarked it on my computer
    For further observation:

    http://www.reynalddrouhin.net/works/miseanu/nues.html

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    1. Isn't nudity a case of fleshification? Clothes are objects, so covering women with clothes is the real objectification. And judging women by their ideas is abstractification.

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  26. "You most likely know how pleasurable it is to live with a lovely view outside your windows. Well, how about having it inside your walls in the forms of a beautiful face and figure?"

    What a lark that would be! Why not simply kill "it" while "it's" young, and get it mounted on your wall by a taxidermist?

    Is this supposed to be a joke? This is the stuff of women's nightmares - an old, unattractive self-important blowhard insulting all women - the old and the ugly are worthless, and the young and beautiful function decoratively, like a pleasant view - but they will, inevitably AGE (UGH). Women's aging is essentially an inconvenience stripped of any personal pathos that serves only to remind men symbolically of their own inevitable death.

    Poor man, forced to look at his female contemporaries through his own aging eyes and see only his own mortality and ugliness!

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    1. 'What a lark that would be! Why not simply kill "it" while "it's" young, and get it mounted on your wall by a taxidermist?'

      Reminds me of John Fowles' great novel 'The Collector' !

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  27. Mr. Simon,

    I presume to speak for the vast majority of your fellow men when I say that I am perplexed by the odd ire for your innocuous, thoroughly normal observations on beautiful women.

    It heartens me to know that if and when I reach your authoritative age, I will continue to savor the finest sensual pleasure that life offers us as men. If there is a God, the precious transcendent beauty of an extraordinary young woman in bloom is His gift.

    I have bookmarked this post so that I may google the women you named. Not all of them are familiar to me. I look forward to discovering hitherto unknown beauties.

    Thank you, Sir, for sharing your refined taste. In return, here are several successful actresses not named on your list whom I have admired whilst they glowed softly in lush youth. Please enjoy Monica Bellucci, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Connelly, Salma Hayek, Rosamund Pike, Kelly Rutherford, Jane Seymour, Cybill Shepherd, Mary Elizabeth Winstead. I also recommend Kiira Korpi, who while not an actress, is a well-known figure skater whose beauty evokes Grace Kelly.

    Have a good day.

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  28. I wonder how all these feminuts would act if a young critic wrote admiringly of the beauty of older actresses.

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  29. The funny thing about beauty or handsomeness is it varies greatly from movie to movie. So, an actress who was just gorgeous or magical in one movie could be rather dull in others(even if she looks very or equally good). So, it's not just the looks but the aura around her. It really depends on the right director, technical crew, story material, and etc. to make beauty radiate all around than just remain on the face.
    Take Audrey Hepburn. She was dazzlingly beautiful in BREAKFAST IN TIFFANY'S but only pictorially beautiful--in a flat way--in other films.
    Katherine Ross is a beautiful woman, but only in THE GRADUATE was her beauty something more than something nice to look at.

    This may even truer with men because male attractiveness has to project a kind of charisma. Paul Newman always looked good but only in a handful of movies did he really stand out--especially in Cool Hand Luke. Alain Delon was a fantastically good-looking guy but was wasted in most films, which is too bad.

    So, it's better to list the particular movies than the actors or actresses. For Hepburn, it's BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S. Darlanne Fluegel was unforgettable in Once Upon a Time in America and To Live and Die in LA.

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  30. This now seems quaint. New feminism is slut feminism and demands to be 'objectified'.

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  31. After Mr. Simon mentioned them, I thought I would Google Jane Greer's feet. I was amused to find that "jane greer feet" is the fourth option on the Google pull-down menu the instant one types "jane greer". I wonder if this essay here had something to do with that.

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  32. As for the broader tangent afloat in the comments -- whether Mr. Simon is a misogynist and whether a literately articulated appreciation of women that dotes on physical beauty is a species of "objectification" -- it seems the women here -- to a man -- are incapable of seeing the irony in their reaction: taking wounded offense at what should only be a skin-deep nick.

    And/or, like most utopianists, they chafe at a reminder of life's mysterious injustice. While perhaps Mr. Simon is rather digging it in a bit when musing and reveling at the joys of the receiving end of that unjust mystery at the expense of the women who must suffer a deficiency in the one thing that makes or breaks erotic attraction, the latter seem bitter, not better.

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  33. This is the least substantive thing John Simon has ever written. It's like somebody was trying to pass themselves off as him.

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  34. I don't think anyone can be guilty of misogyny who can write a sentence like: "Not any of them ended up in my arms, but once a woman becomes a memory, there is scant difference between what you had and what you only yearned for." In any case, Carla Bruni is up there in sexiness and the opera singer Elina Garanca must have studied at a conservatory on Venus(see her sing Offenbach's Barcarolle on Youtube.) I enjoyed Mr. Simon's observations; not so much the hyperventilating about them.

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  35. What about other categories? Like most arresting performance on Broadway?

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    Replies
    1. Actually, most actors and actresses should be arrested for their performances.

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  36. You wrote: "Vivien Leigh, Sofia [sic] Loren, Anita Louise,"

    It's Sophia Loren.

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  37. I was about to complement John Simon for his discerning choices of some less well known beauties like Giovanna Mezzogiorno and Rossana Podesta but judging by many comments here, that might not be politically correct. But seriously, it's hard to tell if Simon's decision to include "THE LIST" might be an attempt to irk some and invite attack or simply to honestly share his obsessions. Unfortunately it seems to be a distraction from his honest and perceptive observations about female beauty in art and how it is personified in the flesh. But come on, isn't it at least refreshing once in a while, when a high-minded critic is willing to be so bold as to dive into what is typically the domain of the popular media, where we are bombarded with "Sexiest Man/Woman Alive" and "100 Most Beautiful Women" lists to no end.

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    Replies
    1. "...Your old man took her diamonds and tiaras by the score
      Now she gets her kicks in Stepney
      Not in Knightsbridge anymore
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      Delete
  39. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  40. A not-so-fine obsession, by the looks of the extensive list and the flowery verbiage. But still creepy, no matter how it is packaged in pretense. Another male here, feeling quite uncomfortable with the "entitled," rationalized & sexist nature of the post. Of course the human body is beautiful. But that's another subject entirely. BTW, it appears the Internet has noticed this silliness. Expect additional scrutiny.

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  41. “…[T]he simple truth is that though so much is made of the woman’s beauty in love stories, passion does not require it. Plato’s idea that lovers were originally one person, the two parts having become separated and desiring to be joined, is as good an explanation as any for what cannot in the mind of an outsider ever be convincingly accounted for.” —William Maxwell, form his short novel 'So Long, See You Tomorrow'

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