This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Thing To Be Today: mysterious.

The Louvre in Paris has a special entrance for those who aren't bothered about seeing the vast majority of the cultural and artistic treasures on display, but just want to tick off the flipping Mona Lisa.

File:Mona Lisa.jpg
Illustration by Leonardo da Vinci

It's a small painting, and one not likely to inspire joy, but Mona Lisa is a remarkably longstanding example of someone who's famous...well, for being famous.

The critic Walter Pater, in the days when publishing a book called The Renaissance: Studies in Art and Poetry was more or less the equivalent of opening a Twitter account, gave her a boost with the immortally ridiculous lines:

She is older than the rocks among which she sits; like the vampire, she has been dead many times, and learned the secrets of the grave...

none of which is, obviously, even slightly true, but does make poor old Lisa sound drenched in mystery. And people are suckers for anything mysterious.

Nowadays, luckily, it's not hard to be mysterious. Anyone who doesn't post on social media more than twice a day practically counts as a recluse - and we all know how fascinatingly full of mystery they are.

So: if you must post a selfie today then at least try out a mysterious smile: you know, the tooth-free one that lets people imagine you might be a vampire.

Take it early enough in the day and you might even manage to look several centuries undead, to enhance the illusion.

Thing To Be Today: mysterious. The word mystery comes from Latin, from the Greek word must─ôrion, which means secret rites.

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