Thursday, April 17, 2008

Good word

"The features do not quite work together. In pictures, its most striking aspect is the ski-jump silhouette ('Bob Hope and I would make a great ad for Sun Valley'), but the aspect that awes one when he meets Nixon is its distressing width, accentuated by the depth of the ravine running down its center, and by its general fuzziness (Nixon's 'five-o'clock shadow' extends all the way up to his heavy eyebrows, though -- like many hairy men -- he is balding above the brows' 'timberline'). The nose swings far out; then, underneath, it does not rejoin his face in a straight line, but curves far up again, leaving a large but partially screened space between nose and lip. The whole face's lack of jointure is emphasized by the fact that he has no very defined upper lip (I mean the lip itself, the thing makeup men put lipstick on, not the moustache area). The mouth works down solely, like Charlie McCarthy's -- a rapid but restricted motion, not disturbing the heavy luggage of jowl on either side. When he smiles, the space under his nose rolls up (and in) like the old sunshades hung on front porches."

Garry Wills, Nixon Agonistes

No comments: