July 4, 2012

Fandom isn’t just for fangirls, but there are a lot of us. How did that happen? I have some theories.

Science says familiarity alone makes people more attractive. Research is starting to suggest that simply seeing someone’s face more frequently is enough to enhance its attractivness. Maybe it’s just one of those sub-protocols that keeps the human race repopulating itself on autopilot. The dangers portable portraits of great beauties pose to our better judgment were suspected long before the internet (think The Magic Flute). But we will never learn.

Stendhal calls this “crystallization”.

Idealization is euphoric. Stendhal had a striking metaphor for this sentiment, which was more respected in his day.

Yesterday you kissed her
and the still place in your soul
arched like a clef. Listen, you whispered,
listen to the spit of rain
counting itself on the window-pane.

Today is cold, outside
the city is an orchestra of sound,

– Mozart’s Kitchen

Only idealization explains love poetry, the “blinkering fireworks display” of cupid in paper kisses, a spontaneous “littering of the house with impressions of lips.” Or postcards of flowers, ships and poplars in pastels.

Escapism is its own reward. Even with only self-hypnosis to rely on, fantasy resists no sentiment of your own, being made of emotional reasons, and made to absorb them into a dreamscape where discontinuity is the pulse of continuity, safe from indifferent forces.


Simultaneity and season are conspirators in magic time. Take the morning I followed a search phrase hint from one postcard to Eliot Porter’s photographs taken heading into the woods. Before long, I found an update of the 1966 Frostbitten Apples, and the original, and exhibits of birds glimpsed in sharp relief at instantaneous motion.

Associational logic ignores temporal precedence. A lead from another postcard turned up an oversupply of fan art crowding out Edward Hopper originals, beyond which could be found a series of nudes in apartments with open windows, a resting freight car and a bobbing tramp steamer.

All circles are linear, and all planes intersect. Another picture postcard clue led to Robert Glenn Ketchum’s panoramic oxbow compositions in a portfolio of tundra photography.

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