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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Governor Christie's "Resting Bitch Face"

Above you will see a picture or excerpt from a video shot at a D.J. Trump rally during or shortly after Super Tuesday.  Trump is the lump on the right, while standing on a lower level behind him is Chris Christie, the present governor of New Jersey.  A few days earlier Christie had been one of Trump's many competitors in this year's primaries, but, having not been as adept as several others in fooling enough poll participants and voters into favoring him, he had dropped out, and shortly afterward he had become the first of those competitors to endorse Donald J.

That was a move that in general had been a big surprise.   Gov. Christie is so feisty, with a temperament that matches his severely outsized physical being, that one would not have expected him to endorse anyone at all, so filled would he figure to be with bitterness at his failure to prevail over what he would surely consider to be a bunch of lesser mortals, and one in particular, the pompous, blustering, late-coming entrant in this over-long, running political brawl, D.J. Trump.

That photo elicited a ton of study, purely because of Christie's facial expression in it.   There were as many different interpretations of what people thought had to be uppermost in Christie's mind in the instant when the photo was snapped as there were interpreters.  
"What happened?"  "That should've been me, not that dummy, up there raking in all those delegates."   "Who does this blowhard think he is?"  "What am I doing here?"   "Did I compound my errors by endorsing this chump?"  "What have I let myself in for, in the coming next days, weeks, months, and years?"   "How do I look up here?   Like a fool?"   "Do I look like I'm in a deep state of shock?"  What would happen if I just spat out a gob and walked out of here, one hand behind me with its middle finger extended? 
Those were just a few drops that had to have been in the enormous tub that was brimming over with conjectures as soon as that photo hit the public eye.   I think the most interesting possibility is that the camera caught Christie’s face when he was merely undergoing a "resting bitch" moment. 

Until a few days ago I had never heard of what I found out has just recently come to be called the "resting bitch face" or RBF.   The Feb 2 Washington Post article by Caitlin Gibson that brought it to my attention made it appear to be some sort of syndrome that is now scientifically recognized.  It is supposedly most often to be seen in women, hence the "bitch" part, though it can also occur with men.  An actress named Kirsten Stewart was cited as a good example, and below is a pic of another actress, Anna Kendricks, who according to the article has been afflicted with RBF all her life, though she appears to be none the worse for it:

It would do wonders for Sarah Palin if every once in a while she could look like this, in place of her empty and ever-present smile.

Kanye West was given as an example in a male, but I don't see that.   West is usually characterized as being a hostile guy, and so his glower is probably just his everyday look, though one has to wonder.   He is married to Kim Kardashian and so surely for him life among all those attention-getting women is filled 24/7 with things that ought to stir up in him millions of sensations other than barely suppressed, chronic rage.  For instance, he is in the perfect position to do an interesting book on none other than his wife, along the lines of Jame's Agee's classic "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men," mainly the part where Agee is poking all through a sharecropper's home while that family is out laboring in the cottonfields.  But what does Kanye West waste all his time doing instead?  He puts out rap albums with lyrics that appear to have been written by a dedicated illiterate, for which he thinks he should be given hundreds of millions of dollars in backing by a billionaire.   Wild!

I'm wondering if this "resting bitch” thing isn't some sort of a put-on, or was meant to be someone's deliberate slur on women.  I would have thought that the word for that facial expression has already been around for centuries, and it has always sufficed to say that at such moments a person merely looks "pensive."

I'm interested in this latest "scientific" finding, because of a painting that lately I’ve been wanting to begin that will show a close friend, a highly personable young woman, whose normally brightly smiling face very occasionally assumes just that kind of expression for an instant or so.   In the way of preparatory sketches, I have not one but two photos that recorded her face when it was in that stance.

The first photo was a closeup of her taken by her photographer at her wedding, and it appeared amongst hundreds of other shots, all showing how happy that lady was, except for that one split-second when the camera caught her in a different mood.  Undoubtedly the button was pushed just at a moment when she was wondering what to do about a pebble in her shoe, or she was wondering whether every detail of her long-desired entry into holy matrimony had been covered.  It is even quite possible that, being an artist, she sensed that all the pictures in her wedding album were going to come out with all the participants and attendees wearing absolutely identical smiles, and she chose that moment to look  somewhat different.

  The other photo was taken by me at another wedding where I was taking a picture of the unusually colorful wedding cake while totally unaware that this same lady was not only standing in the distant background of my shot but also she was wearing that RBF that otherwise was so uncharacteristic of her.   I don't know what she was thinking at that moment but I am thinking that now I can use the close-up as the reference for her face in my painting, and I can use the other photo for the rest of her. Besides the RBF at that wedding she was also modeling a swimsuit.

I would very much like to make a painting showing that cake, too, with its “blushing” bride standing proudly behind it, though that depends on how much energy is still available to me, along with the difficulty of keeping those intentions strictly to myself.  Not that the two ladies involved would disapprove of the results but because the rigors of old age are a constant threat to the carrying out of intentions.

That article suggested that that RBF look may involve contempt, but that lady has such a rosy disposition that I question whether she is really capable of feeling true contempt for anybody or anything.  She told me about an instance wherein a guy that she didn't even know put both his ugly hands around her comely neck while laughingly informing her that he could choke her if he wanted.   And later all she could find to say about that was that she didn't like it.

As things would have it, that “resting face” is also a more interesting look than a mere smile.   That one picture taken in an unguarded moment of deep thought by a newlywed when its wearer might not be even the least bit angry, might usually be the main one that gets the most attention.   Similarly, that rally pic could easily become the image of Chris Christie that has a great chance of being remembered much more often than any others that have been taken of him.

. . . That is, of his face.  The governor's highly noticeable bulk is a whole another matter, and he could be facing the same situation as a Supreme Court justice who just recently appears to have been permanently taken out of here by his own personal assassin that he had come into the habit of wearing wrapped around his person just like six anacondas, before they all decided to squeeze as one.   But that is not considered to be a fit subject for discussion.


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