The Camera & the Damage Done



Brigitte Bardot: sex symbol of the ’50s and ’60s.

The Camera & the Damage Done

A young woman dances in a disheveled room. She is alone; her clothing decorates the floor, a chair, an unmade bed. In the distant corner, beneath a turquoise wardrobe, lies an upside down milk crate, adorned by two pastel speakers. They exude the soundtrack of her life, the story of her vanity. By all standards her hair, face and body are perfect; the attuned momentum of her hips unbearably seductive. It makes no difference whether you are man or woman, rapist or saint. As she smiles at you, a hand on each breast, none may help but turn to stare.

A camera streams this moving picture across the web, into the hearts and homes of fifty thousand would-be dilettantes. She is above them, and they know it; this fact revealed yet again in every passing instant, in every stroke of flesh. Though time, evolution and genealogy have sought to bequeath immaculate beauty, she finds it prudent, no – necessary – to sell this grace for gain. It brings her pleasure, knowing the pleasure she brings to others. It brings her shame, knowing the limits of her gift, the ersatz nature of the twinkle in her eye. It is simple exhibition, but it pays the rent. And she gets to feel wanted, by as many as a hundred million men. Some days it seems achievement: greatness. Other days it is humiliation; her unseen mind so buried deep, so hidden beneath superficiality. She is aware of so many others, their conquests detailed in history and fiction. She could be more than simply this. She knows it to be true that those like her have come before, and will come again soon after she is gone. So she likens herself to a flower, in bloom, in the season of now.

Beyond the camera her life is only slightly different. Personal interaction is more tangible, more rewarding. She finds the real, physical attention of other men and women more satisfactory, but also more abrasive. Many find themselves jealous of her gift, her perfect exterior an example of their own subjective inferiority, personified as God’s indifferent spite. Some surmise that she is but a shallow beast, an inhuman object to be discarded quickly without a second thought. Sometimes their judgment manifests as truth. She sees their pain and blames herself. Like all strengths, her beauty is also Weakness. At first, the men for whom she spreads her legs are comparable in likeness to her very self: beautiful on the outside; only they are motivated by a system unto which they have learned to take what they desire. She also knows how to take, but so many give so many gifts in hope of love or sex that at times she forgets to remember her humanity. And so together respective vanities lay way to ego and pretentious suffering.

After enough tears have been spent, she begins to separate herself from the only the world she has ever known. By now the years have begun to take their toll: the hundred million souls move on to press new flowers in the quiet confines of their unilluminated compartmental accommodations. She finds new hobbies, no less shallow, but frequented by different types: those who belong to worlds where superficiality has little place or consequence. One day she meets a man who stands for everything absent in her youth. He is mostly likely ugly, by the traditional standards of modern lust. But his heart is true; his moral intonation as strong as it is respectable.

The twinkle in her eye begins to change, to deepen under the fulfillment of requited affection. At first conflicted by doubt, this man remembers painfully how he used to hate her kind, so blessed with providence; the guilt of his jealousy fading as slowly as his cautious attitude. But optimism is indeed stronger than pessimism, hope stronger than fear, and soon she opens to him a new, beautiful world, the likes of which he has never known. Their hurt is gone, together they grow, until such a time as they choose to give back – to create a life the likes of which they were not bestowed. Together they label all their hate and pain and fear, to be filed away as unacceptable. Then she spreads her legs anew; this time, in a very different way. He has put forth his seed of love, and so receives a boy and girl. Together our two forces raise their young as equals, installing such value as to motivate a change in evolutionary standard. They have not forgotten the past; the technologies of present day still echo the vanities she has tried so hard to leave behind. But through righteous conscience, our lady comes to rise above; and when death arrives, so she dies: the matriarch of a new generation.