Wednesday, June 10, 2020

The Final Solution: The Masque

The masque was popular in the 16th and l7th centuries. You find waltzes with masked player as interludes for instance in Moliere's Le bourgeois gentilhomme. On television the most famous masked character was of course The Lone Ranger. In our current age, the character of Tonto, a subservient Native American who called his master "Kemosabe" would be unheard of--neither would he be allowed in most supermarkets, without borrowing his bosses' famed appurtenance Then there were the masks worn by executioners and those who engaging in sado-masochistic role playing of the kind that went on in the famous masked scene in Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut. Now, however, with the advent of the coronavirus the mask has a achieved a respectability it never had before. Face covering in public by Muslim women with either the burqa or niqab has been  prohibited in countries like France which experienced Charlie Hebdo among other terrorist incidents, since the mask didn’t allow you to identify potential terrorists. However, how can anyone object to any face coverings, when masks are now required? Masks will probably be with us for some time and they’re already becoming a fashion statement. Wannabe doctors or nurses of course prefer the bare bones medical look. This year’s About Time: Fashion and Duration was cancelled due to the pandemic, but it won’t be surprising if the major fashion houses include new masked fashions for the Met's 2021’s gala.

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