Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Goddesses with tennis rackets

"Elena Dementieva," Dewey Hicks, NY Times Magazine, All rights reserved

For the article, "How Power Has Transformed Women's Tennis, " in Sunday's NY Times Magazine, a special camera that makes over a thousand exposures a second was used to shoot top female tennis stars in action. The resulting animated videos are shockingly beautiful. I feel I am watching focused inexorable acts of will, performed by young women whose beauty is inseparable from the power they summon. This is hard to explain. Before I say any more, see the video for yourself:

These women seem to me goddesses the way the ancient Greeks conceived them. They are physically & emotionally conjoined to human women; formed from the same template -- but from finer, more perfect materials. Stronger, more beautiful, they are naturally above the mortal plane -- but not separate from it. As immortal goddesses they are somehow more intensely, vividly mortal than their human sisters.

Like their sisters, too, the goddesses have a touching vanity. Their long, beautiful hair is not tied back; it swirls around their faces. Their costumes are each a little different; the styles & colors are carefully chosen. They are jealous, competitive. It is perhaps an important source of their power. And they understand passion -- & vengeance. Look at their faces. Like Hera, the Queen of the Goddesses, they are not above turning a rival's long hair into snakes, or turning their husband's mistress into a cow, then driving her mad with biting flies.

"Serena Williams," Dewey Nicks, NY Times Magazine, All rights reserved

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