Paint Schoodic

Join us in Acadia National Park in August. Click here for more information.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Our obsession with parts

Northumberlandia and her oddly erect breasts, courtesy of Wikipedia.
We face our first morning trip downstairs with trepidation. The elderly hound tries his best, but he hasn’t got control of either his bowels or his bladder. He’s confined to a small space, but some mornings the mess he makes beggars belief. It can take a while to get him and the floor clean again. All that happens before our second cup of coffee.

That miasma is a good metaphor for the other mess I see most mornings: friend requests from strange men on Facebook. If I let them in through the net, almost immediately I get a message like this:

“You are so beautiful! I’ve been looking for a woman like you. Thanks for accepting me as your friend. I'm a US Army General presently serving in Afghanistan. I'm 52 years old, and widowed. Please email me or send me your email address. I will send you my pics. My email is”

We all know what these bots are looking for: intimate photos, and then money. At first I thought about sending them pictures of my incisions. But then, I thought, why not send them something truly intimate? My medical file contains images of the tumors and growths that have been removed from my nether regions over the last two decades. And colonoscopy pictures are pulsating, pink, and dang fascinating.

“I need regular wound care for my ostomy,” I would write in confiding tones.

Map of Northumberlandia, courtesy of Wikipedia.
Northumberlandia is a geoglyph that somehow reminds me of the modern obsession with our breeding parts. She was designed by American landscape architect Charles Jencks, and built on the Blagdon Estate.

That’s the hereditary home of Matt Ridley, fifth Viscount Ridley, author of The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature. This book argues that all human behavior must be understood through the window of sexual behavior, since we’re just a product of evolution, anyway. Northumberlandia is made from excavated material from a nearby open coal mine, shaped in the form of a woman’s torso.

Anthropomorphic landforms exist pretty commonly in nature; there are Sleeping Giant, Sleeping Warrior, and Sleeping Princess mountains all over the globe.

Cerne Abbas Giant, courtesy of Pete Harlow.

Britain is especially partial to geoglyphs. These include the ancient Uffington White Horse, the newer Long Man of Wilmington, and many more modern examples. The Cerne Abbas Giant is ithyphallic, so I suppose Northumberlandia evens up the score a bit.

It’s her boobs I object to. They’re clearly silicone-enhanced. As an argument for Ridley’s thesis that sex drives everything, and as an image of what is considered sexually attractive in 2017, Northumberlandia is a perfect motif. It's also a great example of what peers of the realm used to get up to when unconstrained by job or money. PG Wodehouse would have had a field day with the Viscount's Folly.


Anonymous said...

I had to look up ithyphallic. I suppose I will have to find a way to sneak that word into my everyday conversation soon so I won't forget it. There are political possibilities.

Carol Douglas said...

That could make for very weird conversations, very fast. Fun at the dinner table!