Monday, August 07, 2006

Orgasm or Excellent Marinara?

What's interesting about this slide show isn't that it's hard to tell: it's that it's easy.

Beautiful Agony makes the point in a different way.

Charles Darwin, who spent decades thinking about how to reason about biology when you can't do experiments in the lab, published a book in 1872, called The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, showing that biology hard-wires emotional expression even in humans.

He points out, for example, that even people blind from birth smile when they're happy.

He identifies several distinct expressions with specific emotions, and even provides photographs. "Orgasm" is not one of them, but Darwin was a Victorian. It's clear, from looking at Beautiful Agony, that this expression is clearly identifiable.

My sister, Jo, tells a story about a photo exhibit, where people were suggesting titles for an as-yet untitled face shot.
Most suggestions were things like "Ecstasy" and "Orgasm."

"Ecstasy, maybe," said Jo, "but that's not what people look like when they're having an orgasm. It's what they wish they looked like. They actually look like Joe Cocker."

She is exactly right. Go back and look at the slide show, and you'll also see which stars are faking it.