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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

beauty wins

I never had much interest in Spanish painting per se before the Met's Manet & Velázquez exhibit back in 2003 (Manet/Velázquez: The French Taste for Spanish Painting). Since then Spanish painters have stolen more and more of my attention and affection with each passing year. My recent trip to Europe was driven solely by one desire: to see the National Gallery's big Velázquez exhibit in London and then broaden the experience by travelling to Spain.

I can't say I had ever planned an entire trans-Atlantic trip around simply seeing a painting exhibit before, but I don't find the trip remarkable in that regard. Perhaps the absence of doing it before now is the interesting thing. Am I simply more mature now? Better paid? More refined, whatever that means? I rather think it's because I can now allow beauty to move me much more than I could before. One wonders why it takes this long to be so moved by the beauty of this world.

There was beauty in abundance in Velázquez's work (1599-1660). A couple of times, it was frightening—a word I will justify in a few moments—and, at least once, it totally circumvented my own moral convictions. But beauty has a funny way of doing that, doesn't it?

The capsule summary on Velázquez is that he brought new realism and psychology to portraiture, but I'm going to focus on sexual themes in his work. Here I saw some unusual things going on, in me and in the paintings, that are hopefully worth sharing.

Despite the sublime eroticism of the Rokeby Venus (The Toilet of Venus), Velázquez also did a thoroughly sex-negative narrative painting, The Temptation of Saint Thomas Aquinas.

According to the catalogue, the story was well-known. Aquinas's family objected to his taking orders and sent a woman to seduce him away from the sacerdotal life. Young Thomas responded to her appearance by pulling a burning log from the fireplace and drawing a cross on the wall with it. But how Velázquez depicts this scenario has to be seen to be believed.

Aquinas looks beleaguered from a duel with the devil. The angels tend to him, one on bended, solicitous knee to support his weakened frame, and the other preparing to gird him in a belt of chastity to protect him from the evils of a vicious world, a world Aquinas is clearly too delicate for. The woman, leaving in the background, has a rather worldly WTF look about her. Her depiction lacks any sense of rebuke—she is not to blame—but the paint on her victim's face says it all.

I want to dislike this painting for its moral content, its uncritical embrace of the idea of sex as sin and temptation and its depiction of chastity as holy and glowing, but the painting wins me over, even in the features that most effectively do its ideological dirty work. No, especially, in those features. There is a divinely alabaster glow to Aquinas's face that, angels aside, conveys the entirety of the painting's interpretation of his nature. Velázquez achieved a subtle radiance, in just a part of the face, that somehow demonstrates that the chaste enjoy a state of grace. It is a grace that this debauched world would trample at every turn, but the angels are there to support the pious as they face the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.

I know that, content-wise, this painting represents the exact opposite of everything I believe about sexuality and this world, and yet I cannot resist loving this painting solely for its æsthetic beauty. So much for reason and morals and convictions. Experiences like this one—feeling the seduction of beauty in a painting that opposes seduction—were what I travelled thousands of miles to see.

But that's not all there is to say about sexuality and Velázquez. I still haven't explained what was frightening about it. Reader, tune in next time for the conclusion.

18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Umm . . . It's actually a tremendously erotic painting.

8:34 PM, January 17, 2007

 
Blogger Jeff Strabone said...

What makes you say so? To me it's emphatically a painting of caritas rather than eros. What am I missing?

10:39 PM, January 17, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In your "sex negative", Aquinas was given a choice between sex and chastity and he took chastity, right? That is the story, but it is not exactly what Velazquez painted. He has not simply replaced carnality with holiness.

Look at the faces! Aquinas and the angel are breathing the same air, half their faces touching in shadows, their mouths about to meet. Spend a little more time looking at those faces, and you'll maybe see that it is a moment of intimacy between the alabaster-faced one and the angel - or, in the resignation on Aquinas' face, that he can no longer resist the seduction of the angel.

And what of the scene as a whole? Aquinas, in a post-coital slump, has entirely collapsed into this angel. The whole physical charge of drawing that cross has drained him just as surely as Le Petit Mort. What you are missing is that Velazquez has refused to say something "sex negative"; he has refused to indulge in what you call the "uncritical embrace of the idea of sex as sin and temptation and its depiction of chastity as holy and glowing". Instead, he has depicted acceptance of God as immensely sexual and seductive - but not without some sadness. What he depicts, in part, is that Aquinas, though rejecting the woman, becomes the bride of Christ himself - pale-faced and frail, fainting into his/her beloved's arms. It's not sex negative, it's sex reversal.

Look at the centre of the Temptation: Aquinas' hand droops. It symbolises a flaccid penis: and before people panic about such an assertion, take a look at the painting, at the shape and contour of the hand. How can one then say the painting is "sex negative"? The angel is supporting that arm, almost cradling it.

Indeed, it is the eroticism of this painting that is "sublime", rather than the Rokeby Venus.

8:03 AM, January 18, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Indeed.

8:18 AM, January 18, 2007

 
Blogger Jeff Strabone said...

I don't think there's a substantive disgreement between us over the painting. I like what Anonymous said quite a lot, and I think the apparent differences are due to the words in play having both specific and broad meanings.

I was using 'erotic' in the strict sense of being the adjectival form of 'eros': eros, as opposed to agape/caritas. Eros is carnal, pagan, and sexual. Caritas is divine, Christian, and non-sexual. Thinking of the two paintings, the oppositions become stark: Venus/pagan/eros versus Aquinas/Christian/caritas.

I agree that the Aquinas relies on a composition and a visual grammar that are highly charged. But that charge cannot be properly be called carnal or erotic because the experience represented is divine, and particularly Christian-divine. The narrative has been sexualized at the level of metaphor only. The substance of the narrative remains anti-sexual.

Anonymous referred to Aquinas as the bride of Christ, a metaphor with a long history. One thinks of Ephesians 5.23-25: 'For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church ... Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.' One thinks, too, of Revelation 21.2: 'And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.' And, of course, Christians have long interpreted the eroticism of the Song of Solomon as if it were an allegory for the church as the bride of Christ.

Christian culture is full of ecstatic or sexualized representation and rhetoric. But it always occurs at the level of metaphor. Real sex is frowned upon, hence the virgin births of Mary and Jesus. Yes, the Aquinas is, in the loosest sense of the word, erotic in appearance. But it is using its erotic or sexualized appearance to endorse the opposite of carnality and sex: abstinence of the flesh in lieu of congress with angels. Sex is restricted to metaphor.

The painting's strictly metaphorical 'eroticism' only heightens its literal anti-carnality. Look at the options: a dim-witted whore or congress with angels. The deck is stacked, and the cards all depict angel-porn. It's thoroughly sex-negative and insidiously so _because_ of Aquinas's alabaster afterglow.

It's like saying Slavery is Freedom. Instead, the painting powerfully—seductively—says, Abstinence is Orgasmic. No. The painting is wrong. To forsake the carnal life is to sin against oneself.

Morally, I'd be far happier with a work that translated literal sex into non-sexual figurative representation than I am with this painting that translates literal sex-negativity into sexual metaphor. Æsthetically, I'll take the Velázquez any day of the week.

4:13 AM, January 19, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You say "this painting represents the exact opposite of everything I believe about sexuality and this world, and yet I cannot resist loving this painting solely for its æsthetic beauty" and then later that "[the painting] is using its erotic or sexualized appearance to endorse the opposite of carnality and sex: abstinence of the flesh in lieu of congress with angels". Has not Velazquez rather tricked you, with your too-simple opposition between eros and caritas? Even if you think not, has he not managed to capture some real sadness in the loss of one particular type of sexuality? And, again even if you think not, has he not managed to conjure up in you a confusion to mirror Aquinas' own choice between the aesthetic/sexual and the moral/chaste? BTW, I think it's a bit rough chastisting Velazquez for using sex metaphorically: I mean, what the fuck was he supposed to do?

There's also a slight problem with your definition: "Eros is carnal, pagan, and sexual. Caritas is divine, Christian, and non-sexual." It a priori defines works like Temptation as Caritas, i.e., as a Christian work. You fail to see the erotics of Caritas, and then you bring a Caritas-like purity and chaste holiness to Erotics: in your subsequent rejection of The Temptation, you are forcing yourself into saying very unerotic things like "No. The painting is wrong."

Are you sure that this is always true, and that your Orwellian approach to sex - Everybody Must Orgasm Now - is the only one? For everybody? And would you care to explain how a painting - which challenges your notion of Caritas and Eros as much as it also may appear to represent it, a challenge you must concede at the very least in its sumptious, gorgeous aesthetics - can be "wrong", even morally so?

7:07 AM, January 19, 2007

 
Anonymous Harry Bosch said...

If Aquinas's hand is a flaccid penis, the onerous duty falls to me to point out that his smokin' log is an erect penis, which, once it has done its work of inscribing - yea ejaculating - a cross, is now forever abandoned. As the old saw has it, post coitum omne animalium triste est, which rather explains his expression. Not working from any trite disjunction between eros and caritas, Velasquez is rather painting the aftermath of sex with God. It is hardly anti-orgasmic; rather, a cum-halo'd celebration of the orgasm to end all orgasms.

9:37 PM, January 19, 2007

 
Anonymous the mighty bosch said...

Thank you for fulfilling your onerous duty, Harry. You are correct to point to the log as you do. In fact, one might say that Aquinas had quite a woody.

You are nevertheless quite wrong to titter on about old saws and trite disjunctions. Most of what you say has already been said; it has already been pointed out several times in this thread that Snr Strabone's distinction is too simplistic and open to challenge. But you do not give Snr Strabone the option of responding to the charge of oversimplification, or of responding to the questions asked of him, and instead you just accuse him of dealing in trite disjunctions and failing to recognise your own preferred old saw. In fact, the issue of eros and caritas is quite real in this painting: Velazquez has painted a scene that represents - and does not simply reject - this old pairing, and while Snr Strabone's reading may be dissatisfying, he at least raises the question of a tension between the erotics of the flesh and the erotics of the spiritual. The sadness in the face, the harlot's odd expression as she makes her quick exit, the limp hand: this is not simply post-ejaculatory melancholia.

10:32 PM, January 19, 2007

 
Blogger Jeff Strabone said...

(Mighty Bosch and I were apparently composing our remarks at the same time. This comment was written before reading his last comment. I will get to that one later.)

It's nice to see so much of the Bosch family all together in one place. I hadn't realized blogging was a family activity.

Mighty B. asked whether I agreed that Velázquez had 'managed to capture some real sadness in the loss of one particular type of sexuality', i.e. carnal sexuality. (I would not have thought that 'sexuality' ever needed to be modified by 'carnal', but, given the discussion so far, so be it.) Sadness? Regret perhaps? No, I don't agree. If we accept that the painting is earnestly Christian, then it would have been very un-Christian of Velázquez to leave any suggestion that earthly carnality can compete with the reward of divine grace. (But I recognize that Mighty does not accept the painting as Christian. Here we will have to part ways.)

Mighty B. further asks if I accept that Velázquez has 'managed to conjure up in you a confusion to mirror Aquinas' own choice between the aesthetic/sexual and the moral/chaste'. I would call it perplexity rather than confusion. The painting crosses my signals: I love it as a painting and hate it as content. And I said precisely that in my original entry in the next-to-last paragraph. I thrilled at 'feeling the seduction of beauty in a painting that opposes seduction'. One can dispute my interpretation, but I believe I testified to some complexity of response.

In the National Gallery's catalogue, the authors favor the hypothesis that the Inquisitor General commissioned the painting for the Colegio de San Domenico in Valencia (page 158). Once one decides to paint Aquinas's temptation, then, yes, one will likely portray the story as expected. And when the Inquisitor General is the customer, all the more so. Now, Velázquez perhaps could have slipped in some critique of what he was painting, as I believe he did in the case of the the Infanta Margarita in a Blue Dress. (See entry for January 18, 2006.) But he didn't.

I'm not 'chastising' Velázquez, as Mighty B. implies. In the same sentence that I originally introduced the Aquinas, I included a link to the Rokeby Venus. I know that the literal content of an artist's work should not, without other evidence, be taken for his beliefs. I am reminded of Ice-T and Body Count's 1992 heavy metal song 'Cop Killer', which some people mistook for advocacy of killing cops. That's generally not how culture works.

As for Mighty B.'s bigger questions, I think it is he and his Bosch kinsmen who miss the historical importance of eros and caritas. The world was not always as it is now. Debates and differences now long since settled or forgotten were once highly meaningful. In the year 451 CE, the Christian Church split over the question of monophysitism versus the hypostatic union. Today we would just say WTF?! That the ideas of a bygone age no longer resonate with us is no reason to dismiss such doctrinal differences as 'a trite disjunction', as Harry B. did in his comment.

My 'Orwellian approach to sex'? Which of my past lovers spilled the beans?

11:07 PM, January 19, 2007

 
Blogger Jeff Strabone said...

Mighty B. wrote:
'and while Snr Strabone's reading may be dissatisfying, he at least raises the question of a tension between the erotics of the flesh and the erotics of the spiritual. The sadness in the face, the harlot's odd expression as she makes her quick exit, the limp hand: this is not simply post-ejaculatory melancholia.'

We could go on endlessly about this painting. It deserves our attention. But this would be a good place to stop and gird ourselves for the next extended conversation. Yes, there is something going on in this painting about the erotics of the flesh and the erotics of the spiritual. I see it, within the moral world of the Aquinas story and the painting (which is not necessarily shared by Velázquez, the actual man), as a rejection of the literal erotics of the flesh and an embrace of the spiritual, visually representable in an erotic register. Perhaps all the more so in a Catholic culture, something that none of us mentioned.

And that's all I have to say about it. If Mighty B. has a final summation regarding his understanding of the tension between the two erotics, I would be happy to give him or her the last word.

11:33 PM, January 19, 2007

 
Anonymous The Mighty Bosch said...

Snr Strabone, you are quite wrong when you say: "Sadness? Regret perhaps? No, I don't agree. If we accept that the painting is earnestly Christian, then it would have been very un-Christian of Velázquez to leave any suggestion that earthly carnality can compete with the reward of divine grace. (But I recognize that Mighty does not accept the painting as Christian. Here we will have to part ways.)" This is quite naive! The struggles of the flesh, despair over leaving behind wordly things, and temptation - these are all present in "earnest" Christian art. In lots and lots and lots of it. By your line of reasoning, it would be un-Christian to show Jesus on the cross as suffering, because he was about to re-united with God: it is exactly because he was suffering that the crucifixion is so powerful a symbol. Temptation is exactly the "suggestion that earthly carnality can compete with the reward of divine grace", and many an "earnest" Christian poet and painter has struggled with temptation. As for your paranthetical statement - WTF?!?

You seem to be alone in not seeing some sadness in this painting, but surely you are most lonely in insisting that we must be more alive to historical concerns informing this painting while at the same time ignoring the texture and reality of those very concerns. You take the Bosch family to task for not recognising the relevance of the eros-caritas problem (even though many members of the Bosch family and anonymous have pointed out that this concern is present in the painting, and that your perplexity stems from your very literal mapping of this divide onto the much more ambiguous terrain of the painting). But then you utterly denounce the reality, texture and experience of that dichotomy, in your refusal to accept the possibility of spiritual ecstasy as the orgasmic and sexual - all of which was very much alive for those ancients who worried about eros and caritas. Indeed, you go so far as to say that there is real sex (Rokeby) and then there is metaphorical sex, that the ecstasies of the spiritual (sex-negative) are no match for the ecstasies of the flesh (sex-positive), and that the suggestion that one cannot have both is crude and, indeed, morally wrong. What you, from a historical distance, so facilely call "metaphor" in representations of sexuality was far more real for those who live in your hallowed history. It is you who turns the sexuality in Christian art into mere "metaphor", as though every erotic moment in Christian art was read and interpreted in scare quotes by a knowing populace. Most of all, it is your disdain for what Velazquez has painted - from a specifically contemporary position of liberal sexuality - that evacuates the painting of its erotics.

And if I were to have the last word on the erotics of the flesh and the erotics of the spirit - well, let me just put it to you this way: it would be such an explosive mind-orgasm, that your collective post-ejaculatory melancholia would be a living hell.

12:28 AM, January 20, 2007

 
Blogger Jeff Strabone said...

The Godfather Part III deserves no place alongside the great diptych that preceded it, but it did leave us one memorable line, which is apt here:
'Just when I thought that I was out they pull me back in.'

I am very reluctant to continue this thread: we are descending into arguing over what each of us said rather than the ideas. Even so, I can't let Mighty Bosch go unanswered. I think, ten comments into a discussion, one understands that the statements apply to the matter under discussion. Here is what I said:
'If we accept that the painting is earnestly Christian, then it would have been very un-Christian of Velázquez to leave any suggestion that earthly carnality can compete with the reward of divine grace. (But I recognize that Mighty does not accept the painting as Christian. Here we will have to part ways.)'

This was not a 'line of reasoning' on my part. It was a statement about one painting made after several statements by Mighty B., but particularly after his objection that the problem with my definition of eros was that 'It a priori defines works like Temptation as Caritas, i.e., as a Christian work.' Did I misread Mighty B.? Did he not imply that I was mistaken in seeing the painting as Christian? WTF indeed.

But I now see that we were both wrong in part. In a heavy-handed Christian painting perhaps, the spritual wins hands down against the straw man of the carnal. In a great, complex painting, the flesh and the spirit struggle. But what sort of Christian painting is this?

The flesh and the spirit do indeed struggle in paintings, BUT NOT IN THIS PAINTING. (The capitals are due to my technical inability to use italics in the comments. Does anyone know how to do it?) In this painting, the deck is stacked. Jesus on the cross demonstrates the suffering of the flesh. Aquinas being intimately soothed by angels while the dully-painted earthly woman flees in the background is no contest. Do you know what would have made this painting live up to its name as a temptation: the Rokeby Venus! Aquinas did not have to choose between competing allures. Make Aquinas choose between Venus and the angels and then we'd have a genuine temptation. The sex of the flesh never gets a fair hearing in this painting. And if the Bosch clan says otherwise, then they are not looking at the same painting as I am.

And that, my dear readers, is why I saw and still see earth-sex-negativity in this Velázquez painting: because the real sublimities of the flesh are wholly outside Aquinas's frame. They're all in the Rokeby Venus.

(If my characterization of sexuality in Christian visual culture sounds as excessive as Mighty Bosch makes it seem, I attribute that excess to the effect of repetition and emphatic argument. For what it's worth, I don't dismiss it as 'mere "metaphor"'.)

2:16 AM, January 20, 2007

 
Anonymous the mighty bosch said...

Perhaps you should remove the "comments" section from your blog: you have a habit of despising it when threads go on for more than a couple back-and-forths, and it is clear that you don't read them anyway.

Yes it is a line of reasoning where you say what Velazquez has done if he has created an "earnest" Christian painting. It was a naive thing to say about THIS PARTICULAR painting, too.

Like many conversations, there is a flow where people begin questioning what was said - and arguing about the argument. You now say, "particularly after his objection that the problem with my definition of eros was that 'It a priori defines works like Temptation as Caritas, i.e., as a Christian work.' Did I misread Mighty B.? Did he not imply that I was mistaken in seeing the painting as Christian? WTF indeed." Yes, you did misread this. In any number of ways, including the fact that this was not about your definition of "eros". You are clearly not paying attention to details - something that afflicts both your reading of comments and your reading of paintings (at least, this one) - and so you miss important terms like "a priori".

You have chosen to ignore most of my questions, some of which I would have thought might have interested you. Oh well. Having ignored them all, you can safely say that this painting simply does not give pleasures of the flesh a fair shot. What an odd thing to say about a painting.


This branch of the Bosch family bids au revoir, and will leave on this note: you are quite right about Godfather III.

8:53 AM, January 20, 2007

 
Blogger Jeff Strabone said...

The Mighty Bosch has misread at least as much of my argument as I have his. When arguments go on this long, people generally don't listen and just want to prove the other person wrong.

Here is the most screamingly blatant case. Mighty B. wrote:
'Having ignored them all, you can safely say that this painting simply does not give pleasures of the flesh a fair shot.'

And here is how I began this conversation:
'yet I cannot resist loving this painting solely for its æsthetic beauty. So much for reason and morals and convictions. Experiences like this one—feeling the seduction of beauty in a painting that opposes seduction—were what I travelled thousands of miles to see.'

I began this conversation by saying that the æsthetic (OED: 'Of or pertaining to sensuous perception, received by the senses') pleasures of the painting had seduced me despite the narrative.

So when I say that the painting does not give the pleasures of the flesh a fair shot, I am obviously talking about the narrative of the painting. What could be clearer? The name of my original entry was 'Beauty Wins'. My point from the beginning was the disjunction between the mind and the flesh. Whose mind and flesh? Mine.

10:53 AM, January 20, 2007

 
Anonymous Harry Bosch said...

The Mighty Bosch wrote:

In fact, the issue of eros and caritas is quite real in this painting: Velazquez has painted a scene that represents - and does not simply reject - this old pairing, and while Snr Strabone's reading may be dissatisfying, he at least raises the question of a tension between the erotics of the flesh and the erotics of the spiritual.

You are quite wrong, as can easily be seen from looking at the painting. Velazquez is not merely representing the traditional disjunction between Eros and Caritas - to do so in a painting would, I'm afraid, be trite - no; he is sublimely fusing Eros with Caritas, thus o'erleaping the clichéd opposition between them. Thus the signs of tumescence, ejaculation and post-coital tristesse; thus, indeed, the important fact that these angels are not diaphanous phantoms: they are superbly fleshy angels, just as fleshy, if not more so, than Aquinas himself.

I recommend to Snr Strabone, meanwhile, the useful expedient of writing "[less than]i[more than]" before text he wants to put in italics, and "[less than]/i[more than]" afterwards. (Replace the square brackets and terms therein with the typographic symbols. If I typed them myself here you would just see some italic text and not the instructions.) At some point thereafter he might even want to investigate how to embed links in text.

But I must join my uncle Mighty in protest at the proprietor's wishing to shut down the argument just as it was giving me an aesthetic stiffy. The idea that comment threads get pointless after 10 comments is fantastically wrong, as can easily be proved by visiting various other interesting weblogs on the internets.

8:05 PM, January 20, 2007

 
Blogger Jeff Strabone said...

Well, keep it going then, but competition should never supplant conversation.

9:12 PM, January 20, 2007

 
Anonymous The Mighty Bosch said...

Um, Nephew Harry, I specifically did not say "Velazquez is [. . . ] merely representing the traditional disjunction between Eros and Caritas" (italics added). I did argue that he was not only and simply rejecting the disjunction because, as I point out elsewhere, and you simply reiterate, he fuses them, and similarly I pointed out how this fusion was sublime - rather than Rokeby, whose "sublime eroticisim" Snr Strabone evoked in the original post (my argument was that Snr Strabone missed the real sublime eroticism of Temptation, although he later realised that the idea was indeed hidden somewhere there in the term "Beauty wins").

But, you twitter, if he is fusing them, is he not rejecting the traditional disjunction? Well, yes and no: by recognising it, he is acknowledging it, and this acknowledgement is part of the narrative of the painting - in the fleeing harlot, as some measure of the sadness in the features, in the necessary rejection of certain worldly pleasures that constitute temptation; Velazquez goes on to refute it through this luscious and, as I already said, sublimely erotic relationship with the angels. My problem with Snr Strabone was that he recognised the role of caritas and eros, but did not follow Velazquez through in his reading of this.

And is there a tension between the erotics of the flesh and the erotics of the spirit? Yes, that remains; Velazquez is not simply representing the erotics of the flesh and the erotics of the spirit as exactly the same thing. That would be trite. There is sadness in resisting temptation, in mourning what has not been enjoyed and thrilled to, and it is a sadness transcends simple animal melancholia after ejaculation. The erotics of the spirit can draw on the erotics of the flesh, and vice versa, but they are not the same thing. If they were, this would be a much less interesting painting. That he can show that are not simply "opposites" is Velazquez's triumph.

And while we are in accord over the value of continuing discussion past two or three responses, you would do better to direct Snr Strabone to specific sites where such threads are in fact interesting; there are many sites where, following one or two mostly pointless comments, two or three dozen even more pointless comments follow.

2:49 AM, January 21, 2007

 
Anonymous Harry Bosch said...

Of course, Uncle, to "fuse" a bunny and a snake is not to argue that a bunny and a snake are exactly the same thing. It would have been trite of me so to suggest. But perhaps it is to invent a new thing. A bunnysnake.

That he can show that are not simply "opposites" is Velazquez's triumph.

We are, I think, in accord.

there are many sites where, following one or two mostly pointless comments, two or three dozen even more pointless comments follow.

A melancholic, not to say post-coital, truth indeed. I cannot believe it applies to all sites, though.

8:21 AM, January 21, 2007

 

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