Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Gauziness is All

One of my pet blog subjects, obviously: that strange subgenre in "romantic" turn-of-the-century French postcards (Gauziness is All) in which the "men" look so much like women they probably are women.  Witness, indeed, the first two of the three exquisite images here: one might infer that the foppish creature (left), sniffing a perfumed letter, and the "man" in the couple below are in fact the same woman.  Whose fabby idea was this?  

The whole perverse business suggests a not-so-hidden collective disbelief in the existence of any "real-world" male pulchritude -- as in who would ever want to snog with a real man?  

My own choice for favorite waltz partner would be the stellar eunuch in the third image.  I have lots of other cards in which "he" appears.  It must be admitted that "he" also resembles one of my better-looking male colleagues.

PS.   One is reminded, by the way, of Japan's celebrated Takarazuka Revue.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Yes to Hedy Lamarr

 "Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid."

She was glamorous, for sure, but not stupid.  Despite being considered one of the most beautiful screen actresses of her day--she appeared in a string of MGM hits during the 1940s--the Viennese-born Hollywood leading lady Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000) rejected the life of movie star in the 1950s.

At the beginning of World War II--as her biographer Stephen Michael Shearer has  revealed --"Lamarr and composer George Antheil developed a radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes, which used spread spectrum and frequency-hopping technology to defeat the threat of jamming by the Axis powers.  Though the US Navy did not adopt the technology until the 1960s, the principles of their work are now incorporated into modern Wi-Fi, CDMA and Bluetooth technology, and this work led to their being inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014."  (Wikipedia)