"Always forgive your enemies -- nothing annoys them so much."
                ~~ Oscar Wilde

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In Greek mythology, the giant Procrustes stretched or shortened his captives to make them fit his bed. Not unlike Procrustes, our modern guarantors of civilization, the media, abetted by a network of doyens and doyennes, dictate our body measurements. Women especially have been Procrusteanized into a lifelong struggle for that illusive ideal called beauty.

In department stores and boutiques --- online and off --- we are bombarded with airbrushed photos of voluptuarian smiles imploring us to use jars of enhancement and scents of choice. Cosmetics vendors instruct us in the value of discovering the true "scent of a woman".

Marketers say this is all good for you. With special élan, they assure that your SAQ --- sex appeal quotient --- will skyrocket. Such promises on beauty jars keep women on a high wire of hope. And men have also gotten into the act.

Cicero, the Roman statesman and orator, observed that "The mind becomes accustomed to things by the habitual sight of them, and neither wonders nor inquires about the reasons for the things it sees all the time." Which is precisely why our cosmetics grotesquerie and enthusiastic pursuit of health and beauty are not such bad things.

Compare them to the values foisted upon us by those whose single-minded pursuit is a cloying banality. Their standards and tastes are what pass as "intellectual consumerism".
They approach everything, including learning, as a way of reaching non-judgmental conclusions. The result of this silliness is political correctness with manners.

This way of thinking ultimately destroys authentic standards and devalues achievement. We forfeit both celebration and disappointment when the goal is to make everyone feel good about themselves. We spend an inordinate amount of time on the pretense of making judgments. Standards may fall, but never expectations. Great effort goes into the fiction that everyone is in the game. People can be everything --- if we but say they can.

Our mastodonic appetites are encouraged and celebrated. They hang in relief like a cloud which has become the American trademark --- blissfully fat and happy. Obesity is no longer a problem because we now have the Plus size! A majority of people in this country are overweight but rather than entertain the idea of getting fit, the standards have been changed so we can feel better about ourselves. What used to be a size 14, for example, is now called "size 10".

This is not to suggest that we shouldn't take pleasure from life; however, to stop feeling guilty about our indulgences is nothing short of dangerous. We need to remember what it's like to have our stomachs growl and to see our ribs in the mirror.

All raillery aside, this is nothing to celebrate. We can look forward to record cases of diabetes, heart attack, stroke, osteoporosis and a host of other problems that result from obesity for decades to come as people age.

And no matter how hard some try to change it, the drive to differentiate and subjugate based on appearance will endure. If Cicero was right, and I believe that he was, this country could use some help from Procrustes.


Cris de Coeur

What's with the Far Left in this country?
Are they afraid of the truth?
Are they afraid of allowing other opinions to be fully heard because their own are so void of critical analyses; and therefore, they cannot defend them?
Do exposure and illumination betray the core triviality of the Far Left agenda?
Their methods strike me as an ideology of intolerance on a panoramic scale, with the garnish of a withered sprig of wistful humanism --- the default setting of a nostalgic Western liberalism.
A fever-pitch of "cultural instruction" within the confines of Far Left enclaves ever illuminates the pusillanimity of calling their own to account.

I sympathize afresh.


"The writer, when he is also an artist, is someone who admits what others don't dare reveal." Elia Kazan