I was riding on a dollar van yesterday — you pay a local step van driver to sweep you up and down the streets so you don’t have to walk — and I overheard a conversation between a wrinkled and crusty old man and pock-faced younger boy: “Marry an ugly girl,” the old man said in a heavy Spanish accent, “and you’ll be happy the rest of your life because she’ll be grateful for the attention and content with the ring on her finger.”
Page 2 of 5
Hooray for 2008 and I hope your year is joyous and not yet bloody!
Michel Foucault is one of those certain talents where a quirky mix of genius, talent and savantism all congeal in the mind of one person to shed the powerful glow of meaning and context on the rest of us One of Foucault’s passions in life was his love of words and his research into the power of labels.
Ugly is everywhere. Some of it is visual. Most of it is internal. None of it is ever hidden.
A lot of it used to be punished via Ugly Laws. Some of the best Ugly Advice I was ever given came to me as a youngster in the form of punches to my face from a crew-cut boy two years older than me — but in my same fifth grade class. His name was Alex.
He was a bully. He wore a perpetual scowl.
He outweighed most of us in class by 75 pounds.
Everyone hated him.
Everyone admired his giant fists and punching power.
He was a brute in a boy’s body.
He was a boulder that gathered moss.
While the rest of us wore mop-top bowl haircuts, Alex waxed the ends of his crew cut and shaved the base of his neck every morning.
Alex imparted his reality to me in a flurry of blows to my face after I had taken the advice of my mother’s boyfriend to “stand up to a bully and fight him on your own turf!”
Are you aware in the early-to-mid 1900’s it was illegal to be “found ugly” on the streets of some mainstream American cities like Chicago, Illinois (Chicago Municipal Code, sec. 36034) and Omaha, Nebraska (Unsightly Beggar Ordinance Nebraska Municipal Code of 1941, sec. 25) and Columbus, Ohio (General Offense Code, sec. 2387.04)? Your punishment for being caught in public ranged from incarceration to fines of up to $50.00 USD for each ugly offense.