Wednesday, 20 June 2018
The physiognomy of literary authors #1
J. G. Ballard looks like a jolly good chap. Just look at that broad grin! You can certainly tell that he likes a good drink or two at night. You can tell that he smokes the occasional cigar. You can tell from his bulging stomach that he does like plentiful meals. You can tell from that grin that he likes taking his golden retriever for a walk and tucking his daughters in at night.
So how can we account for his deviant imagination? How can we account for his fetishisation of car crashes? Semen on binnacles? Dead celebrities? J. F. Kennedy's death envisioned as a competitive sport? Growing flowers with semen?
So how can the (pseudo-) science of physiognomy account for this? If J. G. Ballard looks like a happy, decent chap, how do we account for the monsters and dragons that roam across his twisted psyche?
Well, that grin does have a malignant aspect to it. Perhaps he is a sadomasochist. If he feels compelled to write about sexual violence, he perhaps does enjoy it. Perhaps he does enjoy manipulating people's emotions. When we look at those eyes of his, we perhaps can ascertain that he does enjoy danger. The car crash that endured before the publication of Crash was most likely not accidental.
What about his dress code? Perhaps this is just as sinister as his profession. He claims that he is a writer, but he uses this to gain respectability. He dresses in a refined way, again, to gain respectability. He claims to write in metaphors to gain respectability.
But it is all a front. The smile on the face of this man is the smile of a man who loves pornography. It is the smile of a man who manipulates the emotions of others. It the smile of a deviant.