Saturday, March 9, 2013

Your Moment of Social Class

From Amor Towles' Rules of Civility:

    "The butterfly display was easier on the eyes, but it too evidenced a certain amateurishness.  The insects were pinned on the felt in such a way that you could only see the topside of their wings.  But if you know anything about butterflies, you know that the two sides of their wings can be dramatically different.  If the top is an opalescent blue, the underside can be a brownish gray with ocher spots.  The sharp contrast provides butterflies with a material evolutionary advantage, because when their wings are open they can attract a mate, while when their wings are closed they can disappear on the trunk of a tree.
    " It's a bit of a cliché to refer to someone as a chameleon: a person who can changed his colors from environment to environment. In fact, not one in a million can do that.  But there are tens of thousands of butterflies: men and women like Eve with two dramatically different colorings—one which serves to attract and the other which serves to camouflage—and which can be switched at the instant with a flit of the wings."

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