Monday, March 08, 2010

Well did you ever...

...see a mango with two Pink Ladies?


And while we're on the very mildly saucy (mango salsa?), these pictures came to me via my friend and student Marie-Hélène, who follows this blog and who found them in Ouest France, the newspaper of the region.  She expressed the hope that my Melusina was luckier than this. 

Eliza Gonzalez in New Jersey made this fine replica of the Venus de Milo in snow.  She is clearly a more skilled snow sculptor than I am, if somewhat derivative in her style.  However, next thing she knew a policeman was on her doorstep, requesting that Venus be either snowballed or covered up, as a neighbour had complained.  So she was embellished with a sarong and bikini top.  Which  is amusing and charming in a way, but Ms Gonzalez made the serious point that the sculpture now looks 'more objecitified and sexualised' than before, with which I think I'm inclined to agree.

There's a short BBC article here.  Ouest France was inclined to take a head-shaking chuckling attitude, confirmed doubtless in the belief that le monde anglo-saxon is yet in a state of benighted prudery and puritanism.  I replied that Melusina was tucked away in the back garden, so would not scandalise anyone, but that I thought such an event was unlikely here anyway.


marja-leena said...

Hah, the fruit names sound downright tongue-in-cheek sexy, and that's reinforced by the snow Venus! I'd read about that somewhere a while ago and had the same incredulous reaction.

Kim said...

That is quite hilarious! I can't believe someone report that to the police. Geez. I've seen a lot worse in the art museum, that's for sure!

HKatz said...

The mango does seem to be strutting across the shelf with a pink lady on either arm (imaginary arm...)

I remember reading that article about the "lewd" snow sculpture in New Jersey. Apparently the policeman called to the scene was rather embarrassed at having to ask the sculptor to make her work look more decent (and yes, the bikini/sarong does sexualize it more, but in a humorous way - and I feel like the sculptor is sticking her tongue out at whatever neighbor saw fit to make the report).

Dale said...

American massage therapists are trained to always keep the breasts covered. Not a difficult thing to do, it just takes a moment to throw over a folded pillowcase and then pull the sheet out from under, but I've always felt that the process, rather than de-emphasizing and desexualizing the breasts, generally has exactly the opposite effect. But of course people's responses vary wildly, in this as in just about anything. If *I* was to pick out an area of the body too erotically charged to be safely worked on, on everyone, it would be the hands. But really it's just silly, trying to guess what places will hold how much erotic charge for which person at which time. The intention, of establishing and keeping boundaries, is very important: I just think this method of honoring it is not very intelligent.

herhimnbryn said...

Mangos and Pink Ladies are regular visitors in this house.

As to the snow sculpture.......I am speechless.

The Crow said...

Lucy, there is something about your photo that makes me think of Gauguin's paintings - the colors, the subject and composition, maybe?

Did I mention the lush, tropical colors?

Simply beautiful!

Lucy said...


Obviously this story has been floating around the papers for a while now, but has only just reached this side of the pond. Probably just a spiteful or slightly batty neighbour making trouble, but in fact it's had the effect of creating an interest.

I agree the sarong and bra are playful, Hkatz. It reminds rather of those, usually, advertising things where, for example, they put a pair of Levis on the Mona Lisa.

Dale, thanks for taking it up thoughtfully. It's a more complex matter than just an excuse to scoff at prudery. Even the most apparently shame-free and bodily straight-forward cultures don't go around with their genitalia uncovered. I rather like the use of sarongs like this with beachwear; I think most women when not actually swimming or sunbathing would feel more comfortable with their lower body wrapped like that, but also it looks more attractive too. The right level of veiling allows the imagination more rein, of course. Athletes, on the other hand, in the interests of aerodynamics, wear less and less, but somehow their leanness and athleticism, and the activities they are engaged in, desexualise them. The body in art, the permission and calm of life-drawing classes for instance, alters things again...

A very large and interesting area I haven't the time or early morning brain power to go into enough now!

There's only one Pink Lady now, as I've eaten the other. They are very good, and grown in France, not imported, so I feel OK about eating them! Sometimes I can even get organic ones.

J Cosmo Newbery said...

I've known women like that!

Roderick Robinson said...

Stories like the snow sculpture make me quiver with rage because they are carefully chosen by foreign news handlers to confirm prejudices about America (and, I should add, America does the same thing, loving to emphasise aspects of the UK's quaintness). The trouble is, with me, they work, especially if the story touches on anything to do with evangelical Christians. Then I have to tell myself to simmer down. I have to remind myself I lived in America for six years and it wasn't like this at all. Or if it was the rest of America, sophisticated and laid back, was laughing about it in the same way that we are invited to react to the snow sculptures. And just to underline a further point, this took place in New Jersey a state frequently jeered at by New Yorkers ("What's the only serious criticism of the Empire State Building?" Answer: "You can see New Jersey from the top.") yet NJ is home to Princeton University one of the the US's great halls of learning. Sorry to have rained on everyone's parade.

vicki johnson said...

Barrett: If only all those jokes here in NY/NJ would keep those folks from moving out to my beloved corner of NJ where they build their ugly McMansions!! But thanks for sticking up for us sometimes silly Americans.

And aren't there silly neighbors trying to squash other people's fun everywhere?? The Internet seems to bear this out with all sorts of stories of people squabbling in nearly every corner of the globe.

Speaking of snow, I must confess that I was dumbfounded when I read letters to the editor in the online version of the Telegraph berating school officials and teachers for canceling classes following the heavy snow storms in the UK. Even here, where we regularly receive snowfalls twice as deep and have excellent road crews and a fleet of snow plowing trucks, schools are often closed or delayed opening due to snow/ice storms. But--the legal mess that makes home and shop owner's libel if they attempt to shovel the walks in front of their homes or businesses--that is a nutsy, dangerous, and ridiculous set of laws I simply do not understand.

Don't we all shake our heads and get a good chuckle at each other's expense from time to time?

Love your mango and pink ladies photo Lucy!!

Dick said...

What is happening in France that a skilfully rendered poitrine now creates offense? Whatever next? Big Macs on the streets of Paris..?

Unknown said...

I am struck, among other things, by the elegant way that Venus wears her sarong.

The lighting on the mango and apples suggests the setting sun. Or is it simply domestic lighting. Either way it is dramatic and beautiful.

Lucy said...

And again, what diverse responses!

Cosmo - hah, you poor sap!

BB - Not raining at all, I like a lively response. Tempting to assume puritanism is always in some way religiously motivated, but it ain't necessarily so, and nothing in this story suggested unequivocally it was. Do you remember the shrill and dour (not mutually exclusive adjectives I feel...) person who berated Radio 4 some years ago about 'I'm Sorry I haven't a Clue', saying it was offensive and sexist and that Humphrey Littleton was pretty much the antichrist for his smut and innuendo? A very British affair that, and not a whiff of religion per se about it. And, as you say, the press is out to manipulate us and confirm us in our prejudices. Apparently all but the one of the sculptor's neighbours were praising of the statue, and if the response hadn't been considered remarkable and ridiculous it never would have made it to the news within the US at all, which it obviously did quite a while back, before being recycled to fill some column inches here.

I wondered about NJ. I think our best real life American friend hails from there, though I have detected a bit of tongue-in-cheek jibing around it. Perhaps it's a bit like Norfolk to Londoners?

However, if Zephyr comes from there I refuse to hear further ill of it! Indeed, screwed up killjoy neighbours are a constant everywhere, no doubt. I also read of old timers in the States bemoaning the lack of backbone when it came to closing schools. Litigiousness everywhere puts a different slant on things, I guess.

Dick - no, the French press thought it was laughable, I think. In fact though, I'm going to stick my neck out here with a bit more gratuitous national stereotyping, on the grounds that no one, except maybe BB, ever reads my comment replies anyway, that the French are not the most let-it-all-hang-out of Europeans. That honour, I posit, should go to the Germans. Pudeur, cover-it-up modesty and decency, whence cometh, I assume, the word prudery, is still a held and respected notion, and French girls are often quite shy and discrete about how and where they show their bodies.

Plutarch - actually, I do think that the clothing shows to greater effect just what a lovely shape she is, in a way that the unadorned
form, perhaps partly owing to familiarity, does not. Yes, it is sunset light. We have at last reached the time of year when the evening light moves in interesting (how I overuse that word!) ways and patterns around the room, which always delights me. Next to the fruit was a bottle of cider, which refracted it prettily also, but I felt it cvomplicated the picture and couldn't find a way to incorporate it into the pun, which I'm not sure anyone has actually picked up on anyway.

I'm sure I spend more time writing in my comments box than on my actual blog.

marly youmans said...

Love the photo, Lucy, and how energetic you are about blogging--far more so than I have ever been.

As for the Venus, perhaps there is a secret story here that we don't know. Perhaps the middle class male is irresistibly drawn to the Snow Queen some time after midnight. And perhaps his wife became incensed... We can always hope there is more to it.

Rouchswalwe said...

hey! I, too, read your comment replies, sweet Lucy! Ja, ze Germans do indeed let it all hang out. In southern Japan, I was always the first to shed my threads and jump into the hot springs with the locals; and may I say that my language skills benefitted. There is a wonderful phrase: hadaka no kaiwa, which means naked conversation. A fine way to learn another language!

Zhoen said...

Spencer Tunick

Lucy said...

Marly - I thank you. I feel many people make better use of thier blogging time than I do, but really, this is about all I do in the writing and picture making line, whereas you are a real and proper writier and crafter of tales and visions. This is shown by your delightful reading and extrapolation of the snowy Venus saga, which much surely cap all other comments on the matter and is by far my preferred take on the matter!

Smoky Swallow - you are fabulous, and a dashed good sport. Hooray for naked Germano-Japanese conversation.

Zhoen - thanks for the link, which I enjoyed very much. I shall go seeking the photos of the event. I hadn't been to 'Death and Taxes' before either.

Lucas said...

Wow the Snow Venus should bedeck an Album cover by the hottest Rock band around.
It seems strangely indecent that one day no doubt already she .... well will melt.

Patty said...

What a perfectly excellent idea Snow Venus! Also I agree with you completely, she looks much more "objectified" after the addition of the bikini top and sarong.

Bee said...

This is very amusing, but also rather pathetic and sad! Don't the police have better things to do? Her neighbors might get upset about something like, I don't know, child pornography instead.

I guess that with the addition of a blonde wig the Venus could be Pamela Anderson. It doesn't seem like an improvement, though.

Cindy said...

Well, this is the first time I have seen a snow nude :).