That is/was/is Betty Ford, as photographed by David Hume Kennerly in 1977 (on President Ford’s last full day in office), featured over the weekend at Iconic Photos (a great blog I’ve mentioned, and stolen from, before). Her funeral is today. What a dish, and RIP!
But there may be no good excuse for:
My idea was that the above act of auto-pornography might help Scott get over whatever’s keeping him from providing a current author photo with his dang book. I’m referring to draft author bios like the following:
It would make sense to provide a picture and information about this book’s author. Credibility matters when it comes to sharing yogic knowledge. On the other hand, information about the author would interfere with this book’s distribution as something unprejudiced by commerce and tradition. Scott Smith Miller authored What Is(n’t) Hatha Yoga and that amount of information will have to suffice.
Scott admitted that he was really reaching with that stuff.
It would be needlessly cruel, especially after I’ve ranked him out with my “Me-Dusa” shot, to share his more recent try to escape the burden of self-exposure, but maybe I’m wrong to think that vanity has been playing a role somewhere. Scott hasn’t quite copped to that. Maybe a new photo of his yogic loveliness is even now winging its way across the internet to me.
Anyway, I’m not pretending to be free of and beyond vanity. If I were, I wouldn’t be trying to negate it, while imagining I had carved out a space to indulge it more freely. Cuz that was my plan. One way or another, I knew, through whatever filters or angles or lighting or cosmetics or right thinking real or virtual, I’d sooner or later end up trying to make myself look like a young Robert Mitchum instead of… that – and in the meantime get over my own “hump,” jump over my own blurry frizzy shadow.
The complicating factor is that, though I picked (or thought I was picking) the Me-Dusa shot because it embarrassed me – same thing: appealed to my anti-vanity – it’s kinda growing on me, as I must have known it would, exposing my anti-vanity as another vain sham even as I fall possessively in love with myself… all over again… and again… for the countlessth time… So much so that it’s taken me a day or two to get this post done.
Yet, at the same time, I know it’s still shockingly awful. Something about the way the lighting hits the visage unsettles me. I really meant it when I said I was sorry about it, for your sakes.
Same stuff will probably happen with Scott when he finally gets over whatever he has to get over, but that doesn’t mean I think he should aim for “crazy” or “joke” or “him-dusa.” Maybe he’s fully aware from his previous experiences how this all has to go – as with that great shot of himself, from ca. Y2K or so, that he linked us to before in a comment thread. Here’s a quick-capture (had to be “snipped” since the web version is embedded media, not a directly steal-able file):
Maybe Scott really is completely unaware of how impressive the rest of us shlubs find the above… from here below. In the text of the book in which it’s featured, he makes fun of it, criticizing himself in relation to surrounding circumstances, and pointing out what to him suggests a puddle of urine underneath his (im)posing person (a spot I/we now share). Yet the very discussion allowed him to show the photo, in fact to show it twice, and leaves us discussing it again today.
There’s just no punching your way out of the paper bag of narcissism once you’ve, narcissistically, put it at issue.
I therefore think he should just ignore it – or deal with it as something that he should easily re-negate before he’s even into his second set of whatever he does starting at 4:30 AM every day.
Or go with it: The command to love your neighbor as yourself is a command to love yourself, or is absurd, or a command to do harm. To hate yourself and love the other as yourself would require you to hate the other.
Or all of the above. However he puts it or gets to it, I think he’ll end with a good portrait photo that respects his book, and respects his friends and loved ones and students and teachers and himself and the First Teacher, and that addresses and forgets with generosity the need or desire of future readers to identify (with) him. Might even want to trust someone else – my candidate was the missus – to make a selection from a photo line-up… That one, he’s the one, arrest him!
Or no photo… I guess that’s an option… but, since he uses photos of other yoga-people in the main text, I think he has even less of an excuse. Why should he be relieved of the soul-stealing, unlike them, or me? Furthermore, he’s already exposed himself before, many times, in different ways. He’s no longer a virgin. Soul sold.
As an old friend of mine used to say, regarding consumption of a certain herbal intoxicant, “If you don’t know whether you’ve already gone too far or haven’t gone far enough, there’s really no choice…”
Which is how it must be for starlets and models and First Ladies – at least for the ones who go through any hesitation at all before exposing and exhibiting themselves on command or simple request. Deep down, once you’ve crossed the line, seen yourself crossing it, been your own voyeur, loved yourself as another, only more and worse shame and sin and self-obliteration can carry the load.