Monday, September 14, 2015

The genetics of an unwelcoming mien.

My wife and I were tagged to greet at church yesterday. The usual drill -- stand by the entrance, smile, shake hands, pass out bulletins.

Old-timers usually hang out with me and chew the fat a bit. The youngsters ... not so much.

One young mother came through the door with her three daughters, ages six and younger. The girls took one look at me and immediately hid behind her skirts. "Ah, yes," said the mother, "the 'scary man.'"

Sigh. Angry eyebrows and a stentorian baritone voice. I am the Lloyd Bochner of church greeters.

"Girls. Welcome."

5 comments:

paul bowman said...

Took me a few days (owing partly to a bad cold), but I finally made mental connection between this post and recently circulating Guardian item, selections from a new book about portraiture by Simon Schama.

Astonishingly, the cerebral equipment at her command to process this information has developed to the point at which its operations are as complete as they will be for the rest of her life. And this has been accomplished at a time when the infant is still incapable of differentiating other kinds of objects. Research at Princeton University has revealed that a reading of one 10th of a second is enough for us to decide whether we trust or mistrust a face, whether we want to engage or disengage from a countenance: a mere Tinder-swipe to settle our allegiance into a resolution no mere speech is likely to alter. It is this elementary social wiring that makes portraiture the most basic of all the genres of the visual arts.

paul bowman said...

Come to think of it, I should’ve passed that along to a couple of budding artists — one of them related to you.

Darrell Reimer said...

That's a little more verbiage than said artist is likely to plough through, but you never know. Better to over- than underestimate a person, I say.

paul bowman said...

Schama does deliver verbiage. To tell the truth, I haven’t quite got through this article, fine material though it is.

paul bowman said...

Hopefully it won’t be long before the TV series makes it over here on one streaming venue or other — for us who have trouble doing all the reading.