James Baldwin: “I do not like people whose principal aim is pleasure.” And neither do pleasure seekers like themselves. Two of Baldwin’s contemporaries, Andy Warhol and Truman Capote, died from pleasure in extremis.
No one before or since has rebuked White America with such elegance and fearlessness. “I will flatly say that the bulk of this country’s white population impresses me, and has so impressed me for a very long time, as being beyond any conceivable hope of moral rehabilitation. They have been white, if I may so put it, for too long.”
What do we learn from the death of Chadwick Boseman? At least this: That Stoics are sometimes confused with super heroes; that it is not important to live a long life; that living well is dying well; and that Einstein was undoubtedly right when he wrote, “The only rational way to educate is by example.”
Only a few are glamorous. Glamour is innate, an endowment, as every charism is. Men who strive to be glamorous are merely affected. Orchids don’t try to be glamorous; they just are.
Glamour is derived from grammar. Before the masses knew how to read, Latin was glamorous. It was a secret knowledge; only the priests knew it. Now everyone knows how to read. So the churches are closed and falling down. Stained glass windows have had their day. Glamour has moved on.
Miles Davis was glamorous. You could not take your eyes off him. His glamour cast a spell. His Bitches Brew was glamour’s answer to doo-wop.
Davis liked his ladies and his heroin. Glamour is careless, even reckless, but it is also connected. It arrives on the scene like an unshelled secret. “Don’t play what’s there,” Davis said. “Play what’s not there.” Improvise. Play what you don’t know.
Glamour’s first rule: To be who you are, you have to be like nobody else.