We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our post a while ago about Claire's Knee had me thinking about enchantment. You may recall that the Rohmer movie was about a gentleman who became enchanted, bewitched, charmed, by a teenage girl.
Nowadays, in our pathologizing way, we might say "obsessed" instead, even though it is an entirely natural thing for men to be bewitched by women (and, until very recent history, entirely normal for young teens to marry). It doesn't necesarily take much to have this effect: a knee, the way she holds a teacup, a dimple, a sexy imperfection, the delicate way her fingers touch your hand during conversation, or the way she says "Thank you." Feminine graces do have a magic to them. Men, piggish oafs that these adorable creations are, generally lack the magical effect on women... unless they are sociopathic or narcissistic.
We now say "What a charming person" without necessarily meaning too much. Perhaps just meaning that they are pleasant, use the right fork, and do not say the f word at dinner. However, the etymologies of the word charm, like enchanted(and certainly like bewitched) have powerful origins in notions of magic spells and of being captured or controlled by something. (And, interestingly, in singing. Music can be an enchantment, can't it?).
The things that these words describe have remarkable powers for good, and for destruction. Like drugs.
Editor's addendum: Some may recall that the three bat brothers in Pogo were named Bewitched, Bothered, and Bemildred. Always cracked me up, because my Godmother was named Mildred. She was from Tallahassee, dramatic in her graciousness and warmth, and always wore big, high-fashion hats. Would not go out without a hat. An enchanting lady who held my Godfather in her spell until he died.
"Awesome" is another word that has lost its magic.
Another word that has lost its magic is "racist." It has been so over-used in past years that while it once created anger or shame, depending on who was being labeled racist, these days a roll of the eyes is the more common response.
But, the ornate, excessive and intrusive arrangement, which is so typical of that time, destroys the magic. This defect occurs in many of Ella's songbooks and in many other recordings of that time. The Big Band was a disaster for singers. That said, the Big Band instrumentals, thinking of String of Pearls, were themselves magnificent. I guess the aesthetic has changed. Or maybe it's only me.
If only there were a way to electronically reduce the musicians. Failing that, is there any modern voice of Ella's quality that could redo the songbooks with a well-behaved, modest musical accompaniment?
Words were, once, magic in a sense. Don't you think. And those who first uttered/spoke them magicians. How did this happen back in the cave days, or whenever, when our language was being formed, no matter from which culture.
I mean, for myself, who first spoke of "Fire". Gave word to such elemental force. Who first spoke of woman, who first spoke of love.
Men, piggish oafs that these adorable creations are, generally lack the magical effect on women
Oh, I don't know about that. I've known a couple of guys who had that effect on multitudes of woman without effort. But perhaps it is less common, or more crudely sexual; women can be as driven by crazy lust as any man.
For us ordinary mortals, I think love and desire works both ways. But perhaps men, piggish self centered oafs that we are, don't notice it so much in women.
Compared to today's poorly trained, "over-styling" pop singers, Ella is a Rosa Ponselle. [the great opera soprano who began as a singer on the borscht circuit, and moved on to the Metropolitan Opera House.]
My favorite album of hers is The Cole Porter Songbook, in which she performs some of Porter's most elegant, witty songs with an elegance all her own.
Ben, my dear man ... I hope you're being sarcastic here about patriarchy and female subservience. I've always regarded your comments here as being both civilized and illuminating. Personally, as a product of an American time before Birkenstocks and hairy legs, when door-holding and flirtation were treated with proper respect and enjoyment by both sexes involved, I am wistful and nostalgic for both.
When I was younger and more able, I tried to hold doors for those of both sexes who were elderly and infirm. Now that I am in that group, I feel cheated that most of the young and able have deep-seated reservoirs of rudeness and obliviousness. Luckily for me, the middle-aged and mature of our society still feel concern for others. Doors do get held by them, while the young and oblivious rush past on their way to anger management classes.