Thomas Couture, Les Romains de la dÃ©cadence [Romans in the Period of Decadence], 1847, MusÃ©e d’Orsay, Paris
This week’s competitors:
If asked to provide a list of great American achievements over the past 20 years, I would say the election of Barack Obama in 2008, the iPhone and the speech with which Jesse first talks CÃ©line off the train in “Before Sunrise”. It had to do with time travellers, as I recall, but it was the tone that did itâ€”a small miracle of foxy charm and open-hearted entreaty, whisked along by a Huck Finn boulevardier spirit. It turned out to be enough to power an entire movie. …
Nobody knows anything, of course, but using the in-house time machine available only to critics on Intelligent Life magazine, I can safely report that in 50 yearsâ€™ time, the CÃ©line and Jesse films will be held up as classics of the heartfelt sequel form, up there with Truffautâ€™s Antoine Doinel films, Satyajit Rayâ€™s Apu films and the “Toy Story” trilogy.
The Atlantic pays transgendered Thomas Page McBee to pontificate on the new meaning of masculinity.
Masculinity is not as a magical state defined by advertisers and secondary sex characteristics but, like femininity, a complex amalgamation of socialization, biology, style, and stereotype. Men aren’t in crisis, we’re in opportunity, but only if we can each look in the mirror and decide what kind of man we are. …
What kind of man do I want to be? The kind I am. I think vulnerability is the foundation of courage; I love aesthetics; I stand up for myself; I box and lift weights; I listen. I’m the type of man I’d want to hang out with, the kind of guy who thinks masculinity is diverse and that real men don’t exist.
Despite the dinosaur machismo I encountered in the beginning of my transition, I’ve reason to believe that the old guard is falling away, and the new man taking his place. Since I’ve come out as a wine-drinking feminist with feelings, I’ve met many guys who are embracing a wider definition of masculinity. Not just the stay-at-home dads, but the elderly man who told me he’s just now told his best friend of decades that he loves him, the ex-varsity jock who works with men to redefine what masculinity means, the straight, burly artist who documents friends shotgunning beer who is matter-of-fact about the homoeroticism of male bonding, and whose skater buddies pose for his delicate homages to just that.