Virginia Postrel wrote a great article on the different facets of glamour.

Two quotes: one from Conrad the author.

In his 1898 novella Youth, Joseph Conrad wrote, “Oh, the glamour of youth! Oh, the fire of it, more dazzling than the flames of the burning ship, throwing a magic light on the wide earth, leaping audaciously to the sky.” He wistfully recalled “the deceitful feeling that lures us on to joys, to perils, to love, to vain effort.”

Note that Conrad is not saying that it is glamorous to be young-a judgment from the outside. Rather, his “glamour of youth” is an internal, psychological state. Young people, he suggests, are particularly susceptible to glamour. Like a veil, a distorted lens, or a mind-altering drug, the “charmed medium” of glamour affects not the object perceived but the person perceiving. Reflecting this sense of the word, by 1902 Webster’s included two new definitions: “a kind of haze in the air, causing things to appear different from what they really are” and “any artificial interest in, or association with, an object, through which it appears delusively magnified or glorified.”

The most striking recent exemplar of glamour was not a movie star or fashion plate but a political candidate: Barack Obama in 2008. With its stylized portraits of the candidate gazing upward and its logo featuring a road stretching toward the horizon, the iconography of Obama’s first presidential campaign was classically glamorous. (The Onion satirized the candidate’s many glamorous photographs in a story headlined “Obama Practices Looking-Off-into-Future Pose.”)

Worth the read.


About hansston

Pastor a church in Sparta.
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