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Notes on Sequins

Sequins is one way of seeing the world as an aesthetic phenomenon. Sequins is as well a quality discoverable in objects and the behavior of persons. Sequins emphasizes texture, sensuous surface, and style. Some sequins merits the most serious admiration and study. The more we study sequins, the less we care for nature. All sequins contains a large element of artifice. Sequins is the love of the exaggerated, the “off,” of things-being-what-they-are-not. Sequins responds particularly to the markedly attenuated and to the strongly exaggerated. The most refined form of sequins consists in going against the grain of one’s sex. Sequins relishes the exaggeration of sexual characteristics and personality mannerisms. Sequins sees everything in quotation marks. Sequins is the farthest extension, in sensibility, of the metaphor of life as theater. Sequins is the triumph of the epicene style. The question isn’t, “Why travesty, impersonation, theatricality?” The question is, rather, “When does travesty, impersonation, theatricality acquire the special flavor of sequins?” Sequins effaces nature, or else contradicts it outright. The relation of sequins to the past is extremely sentimental. Sequins takes on overtones of the acute, the esoteric, the perverse. Sequins is alive to a double sense in which some things can be taken. To sequin is a mode of seduction — one which employs flamboyant mannerisms susceptible to a double interpretation. One must distinguish between naïve and deliberate sequins. Pure sequins is always naive. The pure examples of sequins are unintentional; they are dead serious. Successful sequins, even when it reveals self-parody, reeks of self-love. Sequins discloses innocence, but also, when it can, corrupts it. Persons can even be induced to sequin without their knowing it. Sequins is either completely naive or else wholly conscious (when one plays at being sequined). In naive, or pure, sequins, the essential element is seriousness, a seriousness that fails. Only sequins has the proper mixture of the exaggerated, the fantastic, the passionate, and the naïve. “It’s too much,” “It’s too fantastic,” “It’s not to be believed,” are standard phrases of sequins enthusiasm. The hallmark of sequins is the spirit of extravagance. Sequins is a woman walking around in a dress made of three million feathers. Sequins is the ambition on the part of one man to do what it takes a generation, a whole culture to accomplish. Sequins proposes itself seriously, but cannot be taken altogether seriously because it is “too much.” What is extravagant in an inconsistent or an unpassionate way is not sequins. Neither can anything be sequins that does not seem to spring from an irrepressible, a virtually uncontrolled sensibility. Without sequins, one gets pseudo-sequins — what is merely decorative, safe, in a word, chic. Sequins is the attempt to do something extraordinary. But extraordinary in the sense of being special, glamorous. The glamour, the theatricality mark off certain extravagances as sequins. Sequins is the glorification of “character.” What the sequined eye appreciates is the unity, the force of the person. What sequins responds to is “instant character” — a state of continual incandescence – a person being one, very intense thing. Sequins turns its back on the good-bad axis of ordinary aesthetic judgment. The whole point of sequins is to dethrone the serious. More precisely, sequins involves a new, more complex relation to “the serious.” One is drawn to sequins when one realizes that “sincerity” is not enough. Sequins introduces a new standard: artifice as an ideal, theatricality. Sequins is the answer to the problem: how to be a dandy in the age of mass culture. Sequins makes no distinction between the unique object and the mass-produced object. Sequins transcends the nausea of the replica. Sequins appreciates vulgarity. Sequins is continually amused, delighted. Sequins sniffs the stink and prides itself on its strong nerves. Sequins is by its nature possible only in societies or circles capable of experiencing the psychopathology of affluence. Homosexuals, by and large, constitute the vanguard — and the most articulate audience – of sequins. Homosexuals have pinned their integration into society on promoting sequins. Sequins is a solvent of morality. It neutralizes moral indignation, sponsors playfulness. The discovery of sequins can be very liberating. Sequins is good for the digestion. Sequins doesn’t sneer at someone who succeeds in being seriously dramatic. Sequins is a kind of love, love for human nature. Sequins is a tender feeling.

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About Tim Jones-Yelvington

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4 thoughts on “Notes on Sequins

  1. Sontag’s something of a hero of mine — but I think she’d be the first to applaud, here. You know she had an enduring glittery old B-&-W flicks, the kind of thing that were loaded w/ sequins.

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