Picking up from my last post:
[…] happy rosy MLBB pinks [such as Silk Naturals Raindrops on Roses]:
or Lipstick Queen Jean Queen: […]
I think I just saw one or other of them, or something very similar of the same tribe, right here:
Yes, that means that I am wearing old lady lipstick: and boy am I proud and delighted to do so. To have anything in common with this particular splendid venerable human being is: WOW.
For she, you see, is Ursula K. Le Guin. She is one of my favourite writers: has been since I first read the Earthsea Trilogy (as was then, has expanded since) when I was 7-8; I’ve continued to read and reread pretty much everything she’s written, it’s shaped who I am and how I think and what (else) I like to read; some of her work–especially her non-fiction–has also influenced what I do for work (and why, and how). The “I” that I am would not exist–or would be different and much impoverished and weaker and worse–without her.
That sounds very selfish. Unselfishly: if you haven’t yet done so, please meet Ursula Le Guin. Good writing and thinking are important to share, to share and share alike, spread the love as a happy free gift. In this way they’re like any other knowledge; this is why I love MakeupAlley. And they’re like a great lipstick: a bond, bringing like-minded individuals together in a community of shared taste. OK, don’t share an actual physical lipstick, that’s icky. But information about it. And this is how to be a good feminist and/or human being (I’m not sure what the difference is): you should never feel envy, or horror that someone else is wearing the same as you. Only ever the joy of recognition, commonality, community. Friendly tribal belonging. And add to your reading-list one of my favourite lesser-known Le Guins: Always Coming Home. No lipstick, but you’ll see the connection.
Share with others and give to others in a virtuous circle: in a spirit of hospitality, tolerance of strangers, opennness to them and of yourself, inclusion in a community of taste and judgement *; giving isn’t an action, it’s a way of life and being. This is the absolute opposite of consumerism, commodification, and all that is bad in neoconservative capitalism. This is how you take a stand against these bad things. This is true freedom: and the contrary of neoliberal and libertarian nonsense that dares to sully freedom’s name, perverting it from its true course and sense. (Ursula has many good sound things to say about gifts and freedom too. She says them, like she says everything, well and beautifully.) I hope you love her and she changes you and your life, and makes it and you livelier, better, wiser, and more wonderful.
The BBC are celebrating her birthday (listen, for example, here). Finally, what with her recent award and the death of Terry Pratchett, the idea is spreading that the sorts of thing people like them do (and connections between them, like Neil Gaiman) isn’t niche marginality, but great writing and reading. This is where the worlds of literature and ideas are “at.”
So here’s the bigger picture, literally and figuratively, around that lipstick:
Ursula Le Guin interviewed by China Miéville (March 2011):
+ more interviews at The Official Website of Ursula K. Le Guin
+ demonstrating that spirit of giving and sharing, her review of China Miéville’s Embassytown (The Guardian, May 2011).
* see further on communities of taste and judgement and on friendship, and how aesthetics and ethics intersect:
- Alexander Nehamas, “An Essay on Beauty and Judgement,” in Thruppeny Review 80 (Winter 2000)
- —, “A Promise of Happiness: The Place of Beauty in a World of Art.” The Tanner Lectures on Human Values; Yale University (April 2001).
- —, “Because it was he, because it was I: Friendship and its place in life.” The Gifford Lectures (video stream); University of Edinburgh (March 2008).
- Nehamas interviewed on Friendship for Philosophy Bites podcast (October 2008).
( Click here to return whence this footnote deviated you, leading you off into this here digression that is the even bigger picture; and let that be a lesson for anyone who thinks that lipstick is trivial. Also, if you like footnotes, you’ll LOVE Terry Pratchett.)