The Victorians have been immoderately praised, and immoderately blamed, and surely it is time we formed some reasonable picture of them? There was their courageous, intellectually adventurous side, their greedy and inhuman side, their superbly poetic side, their morally pretentious side, their tea and buttered toast side, and their champagne and Skittles side. Much like ourselves, in fact, though rather dirtier.
Jeb's eyes look like they might pop... so do the veins in his neck. He makes a sound-somewhere between a cough and a moan-mesmerized by my rocking hips. He stands. "Would you get down? You're going to hurt yourself." "No. Come up here with me." I raised my arms over my head and roll my pelvis seductively. "It's a wake-up dance for Skittles. You know, like the Native Americans used to do to bring down rain." Jeb gawks. "I seriously doubt Native Americans moved like that."
Why did I, like thousands of others, have to carry a cross I hadn't chosen, a cross which was not made for my shoulders and which didn't concern me? Who decided to come rummaging around in my obscure existence, invade my gray anonymity, my meager tranquility, and bowl me like a little ball in a great game of skittles? God? Well, in that case, if He exists, if He really exists, let Him hide His face. Let Him put His two hands on His head, and let Him bow down. It may be, as Peiper used to teach us, that many men are unworthy of Him, but now I know that He, too, is unworthy of most of us, and that if the creature is capable of producing horror, it's solely because his Creator has slipped him the recipe for it.
Flipping to the front, I caught Aiden's gaze and offered a sympathetic smile. "Skittles?" "Please." I dumped some into his open palm, then picked out the green ones. Aiden grinned at me. "You know I don't like the green ones?" Shrugging, I popped them in my mouth. "The few times I've seen you eat them, you leave the green ones behind." Deacon popped his head between our seats. "That's true love right there." "That it is." Aiden's gaze flicked to the road. I flushed like a little schoolgirl and focused on the remaining pieces of candy until Deacon drifted back into his seat. I handed all the red ones to Aiden.
Jennifer L. Armentrout
The non-jocks, the readers, the gay kids, the ones starting to stew about social injustice: for these kids, "letting your freak flag fly" is both self discovery and self defense. You cry for this bunch at the mandatory pep assemblies. Huddled together, miserably, in the upper reaches of the bleachers, wearing their oversized raincoats and their secondhand Salvation Army clothes, they stare down at the school-sanctioned celebration of the A list students. They know bullying, these kids-especially the ones who frefuse to exist under the radar. They're tripped in the hallway, shoved against lockers, pelted with Skittles in the lunchroom. For the most part, their tormentors are stealth artists. The freaks know where there's refuge: I the library, the theater program, art class, creative writing.
What is the use of beauty in woman? Provided a woman is physically well made and capable of bearing children, she will always be good enough in the opinion of economists. What is the use of music? - of painting? Who would be fool enough nowadays to prefer Mozart to Carrel, Michael Angelo to the inventor of white mustard? There is nothing really beautiful save what is of no possible use. Everything useful is ugly, for it expresses a need, and man's needs are low and disgusting, like his own poor, wretched nature. The most useful place in a house is the water-closet. For my part, saving these gentry's presence, I am of those to whom superfluities are necessaries, and I am fond of things and people in inverse ratio to the service they render me. I prefer a Chinese vase with its mandarins and dragons, which is perfectly useless to me, to a utensil which I do use, and the particular talent of mine which I set most store by is that which enables me not to guess logogriphs and charades. I would very willingly renounce my rights as a Frenchman and a citizen for the sight of an undoubted painting by Raphael, or of a beautiful nude woman, - Princess Borghese, for instance, when she posed for Canova, or Julia Grisi when she is entering her bath. I would most willingly consent to the return of that cannibal, Charles X., if he brought me, from his residence in Bohemia, a case of Tokai or Johannisberg; and the electoral laws would be quite liberal enough, to my mind, were some of our streets broader and some other things less broad. Though I am not a dilettante, I prefer the sound of a poor fiddle and tambourines to that of the Speaker's bell. I would sell my breeches for a ring, and my bread for jam. The occupation which best befits civilized man seems to me to be idleness or analytically smoking a pipe or cigar. I think highly of those who play skittles, and also of those who write verse. You may perceive that my principles are not utilitarian, and that I shall never be the editor of a virtuous paper, unless I am converted, which would be very comical. Instead of founding a Monthyon prize for the reward of virtue, I would rather bestow - like Sardanapalus, that great, misunderstood philosopher - a large reward to him who should invent a new pleasure; for to me enjoyment seems to be the end of life and the only useful thing on this earth. God willed it to be so, for he created women, perfumes, light, lovely flowers, good wine, spirited horses, lapdogs, and Angora cats; for He did not say to his angels, 'Be virtuous, ' but, 'Love, ' and gave us lips more sensitive than the rest of the skin that we might kiss women, eyes looking upward that we might behold the light, a subtile sense of smell that we might breathe in the soul of the flowers, muscular limbs that we might press the flanks of stallions and fly swift as thought without railway or steam-kettle, delicate hands that we might stroke the long heads of greyhounds, the velvety fur of cats, and the polished shoulder of not very virtuous creatures, and, finally, granted to us alone the triple and glorious privilege of drinking without being thirsty, striking fire, and making love in all seasons, whereby we are very much more distinguished from brutes than by the custom of reading newspapers and framing constitutions.