Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Tora! Tora! Tyra!

My power of concentration makes a tempestuous and fickle concubine most days. I try to have a moment with her when I can, because I never know when she'll be both present and yielding. She has been completely absent for the past few days in particular, like a cuckolding slut who’s gone missing. It’s off with that occasional but familiar Lothario, the bout of illness, and I'll have to wait until he's done with her.

Mexicans call the unwelcome male that entreats one's wife in cuckoldry, Sancho. In the military he’s known as Jody. Part of the psychological burlesque of boot camp is (or was) the Jody cadence song, for marching or double-time:

Jody, Jody, six foot four
Jody’s at my girl’s backdoor
But when I get my ninety-six
Gonna put him in a fix

A “ninety-six” is ninety six hours of leave, or four days.

Anyway. When even the glare of the computer screen seems like the harsh light of day to my now sickly, mole-like eyes (funny how much they look mole-like as well in this state, peering weakly out from the sides of the nose their diminution makes larger) I’m self restricted to laying on the couch and listening to the television for my news. Soon this becomes a malady of its own, for it doesn’t take long before Anderson Cooper’s flak-jacketed, affected pose of profound concern (just slightly more than you would be able to muster, mister) as he more or less parrots the pro-Israel line over an endless loop of Lebanese rubble and broken bodies (as if testing our ability to sustain cognitive dissonance), and when CNN is interviewing doomsday prophets and asking them straight faced if it’s time to treat the book of Revelation as a weather report, and I give in to my base desire to indulge in mindless television.

Having watched the last episode of Deadwood three times already and very nearly resorting to watching for a second time the most recent of that Sex and the City for twenty-something males, Entourage, I venture out into the open waters of the channel stream.

How can I resist Tyra Banks? Is there any greater testament to the power of beauty to cloud judgment and confound reason than the Tyra Banks Show? Yes, they’ve given this woman a microphone, and however much I want to think they are winking at us behind her back, I glumly accept that it is all in earnest, and that this beautiful young thing with that rosebud pout turned insouciantly starboard—just so—really is being paid to commit the only sacrilege left in our times, that against beauty.
When the beautiful, the perpetually adolescent, when those possessed of an ideally formed and seemingly frozen in time youthful grace start carrying on and pretending to be adult, that is to say concerned and practical, all is lost. Beauty has only one duty, and that is to remain mute. This is the final vulgar transgression in our long slide into the hell of dissolute tedium, all these beautiful people pretending to be something else. Like exquisitely crafted funerary urns being used as inefficient beer pitchers, spilling forth their frothy mess.

But mute Tyra will never be. Oh my Lord, will she ever again be silent? She is so free with her copious thoughts and assertions; they are so important, so new and original and necessary every time they spring from those lips (my God, those lips!), and I can almost make myself forget the sounds. But this is how I know I am no longer young. I can’t ignore the significance of the sounds any more. I can’t pretend they are a siren’s song. Meaning keeps creeping in every few syllables, and it is the absolute enemy of beauty. The literal, because it directly relates to action and therefore to degradation, to time and mortality, is the antithesis of beauty. Beauty has to remain abstract, immobile, the illusion of eternity; even the sensual, physical beauty of a living human.

But of course I’ve purposely inverted things here; there are so many countless others who have so much more to say than beautiful young Tyra, and they will never be heard. Isn’t this the real sin? That we’re humoring this beautiful, dare I say it, idiot? Worse, that we are so charmed by physical beauty that we don’t even realize any more that we humor it? That we defer to it absently, as if in a trance?
No; this is nothing compared to the defilement of the noble ideal of beauty. That seems like the murder of youth; like the trampling of innocence itself, even if the object and subject of this defilement are the same entity. Beauty devouring itself! Only in our debased times. Anyway.

But what a treat I would get on this day! Not since the intrepid Ms. Banks donned a fat suit and discovered to her dismay (and let’s pretend to ours, lest a furrow, heart rending in its charm though it may be, should come to that flawless brow) that obesity is unattractive. But wait—there’s more. This unattractiveness yields a significantly degraded level of treatment from the opposite sex. Yes, it’s true! Men.

Today Tyra would bravely delve further into the brute madness that is masculinity. She would go undercover applying for a job as a stripper. Under about a quarter inch of make-up that would make her no longer beautiful but merely hot. Yes, just like a potential stripper who looks like Tyra Banks.

The first revelation was that Tyra found the inside of the strip club creepy. It was almost endearing how, in our debauched era when young women (perhaps Tyra is dating herself a bit here) are expected to engage in stripper-like behavior as a rite of awareness, she was shocked to witness lap dancing. Of course she quickly became inured to it. It almost seemed, normal. And this troubled her. This poignant observation and we’d only just gotten underway. I almost forgot about the Apocalypse.
It was on to the interview. Skillfully Tyra drew from her interviewer the investigative coup-de-grace: undoubtedly after much edited out baiting, near the end of the interview she learns that there are certain “types” of women (how debasing!) that suit particular customers' preferences (men!); she asks what "type" is she, and—ready yourself—learns that she is an--exotic. Zoom in and freeze on our undercover beauty—minor key shift in the soundtrack; just in case anyone missed it. Break for commercial. Whew!
Not since Gloria Steinem learned the bunny dip. It could only have been better if he had leered at her and used the phrase “brown sugar.”

He may have. I didn’t make it to the other end of the commercial break. Like I said, tempestuous and fickle most days, absent currently. Anyway, I think I hear her key in the lock. I'm going to make like I never noticed she was gone.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

It always distresses me when people like yourself are even aware of something such as the Tyra Banks Show. You are a regular viewer of this program? Come on. Read a book,listen to some good music. Do anything other than resorting to watching daytime television with your freetime. As if I or anyone else really needed to tell you this. Well I did anyway.

C. Van Carter said...

Yes, read a book Dennis. Like this one, which I just finished.

Rick Darby said...

Hmmmm. You say this Tyra Banks is an unusually fetching beauty? Really, Dennis, I'm surprised at you. I thought your mind was on higher things.

What time and network did you say she's on?

Dennis Dale said...

Damn good read, Carter. I devoured it in one sitting, though it was kind of hard slogging (so much revelation! so much pain!), while listening to Tyra's single, "Shake ya Body" over and over again.

The song is a defiant expression of personal worth and female--I won't give it away. Would you believe it's her only recording?