Saturday, December 13, 2008

To Bettie Page

Well, you're gone now, and the world has lost someone who defined the cheesecake pinups of the 1950s - the curvaceous figure and innocent girl next door look that reminded many men of their old high school sweethearts. And yet, you were more than a pretty face with bangs and red tarted-up lips. You were more than the light bondage pics you posed for when times were tough and New York was an alien world populated by strangers. You transcended all of that, and became iconic, like Marilyn Monroe or Jayne Mansfield. You became a timeless beauty, yet inside there was a spiritual longing, a religious calling. There was substance and soul. There was a power in your photos, not just to arouse the appetites of males, but to satisfy a craving for art, in the most intelligent classical sense of the word. It's an American version of the Athenian beauty, a high iconic ideal art professors lecture about. You provided a sense of that ideal and trapped it in photographs, made it timeless and by that nature, preserved it and made it endure. Yes, because of you, I bought Bunny Yeager's photograph books. Yes, because of you, prefer brunettes. Yes, because of you, I laugh at the cheesy reconstructions of the Rocketeer's girlfriend in comics, who you're modeled after.
You became a part of pop culture, a winking, smiling embodiment of youth and beauty.
Goodbye, Miss Page. You shall be missed.

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