November 05, 2003

Vanitas Vanitatem!

Meet to perfume our burying;
These have but their growing prime,
And man does flourish but his time:
Survey our progress from our birth;
We are set, we grow, we turn to earth.
Courts adieu, and all delights,
All bewitching appetites!
Sweetest breath and clearest eye,
Like perfumes, go out and die;
And consequently this is done
As shadows wait upon the sun.
Vain ambition of kings
Who seek by trophies and dead things
To leave a living name behind,
And weave but nets to catch the wind

-- John Webster, in The Devil's Law-Case, 1623.

AH, VANITY -- the classic lesser vice.

It is interesting how this particular fault has recently grown so prominent in American life. Not nearly as dangerous to one's soul as cruel self-conceit, gnawing envy or even a relaxed state of acedia, vanity is a comparatively lighter sin. That is not to say vanity is harmless, of course -- it can certainly steer one down the easy path to ruin. Still, one often finds vanity is a consequence of minor things, such as the quality of a person's wardrobe or a person's automobile. As such, it is often a minor person who succumbs to the vice.

Really, now. Is there anything of lesser consequence in life than a person who can't get over how great he or she is -- especially if he or she acts that way because of the clothes or the looks or the car he or she has? Is there anything more annoying, more nauseating, more wretched? Perhaps, but we are hard-pressed to think of any examples.

For in one year, of course, the designer clothes will have faded and torn, and gone out-of-style; while in ten years, the fancy car once thought so great shall rust on the same junk pile as an economy sedan. Looks will fade with time as well. Yet the vain person never entertains such thoughts. Rather, he or she giddily bounces along in life, not caring one whit about anything or anyone other than me-me-me-ME!. The end result is that they are neither good, but they are not really bad either; they just are, then are forgotten. And, as our Lord said, they are the type He would spit out of His mouth.

But while God knows the flaws and faults we each have, discerning such things in others is far more difficult for people. However, the job has recently gotten much easier, thanks to a new dating site for people who are vain and insipid!

We are bemused, horrified, and appreciative of this all at the same time.

First, we find it exceedingly funny that a Web site aimed at vain people has any members at all. After all, would not the vain feel themselves above dealing with what they'd conceivably see as a scandalous enterprise?

Secondly, we think it's pretty bloody grim when people are putting such stock in transient things. It is one thing to have high standards, of course, and we think it understandable for people to have reasonable "base requirements" in relation to the opposite sex. But it is another thing entirely to put such stock in, for instance, looks or money. 'Cause looks certainly don't last, and fortunes are subject to Fortune.

That said, we come to our last point -- namely, that we find it most helpful that these folks are self-segregating themselves into a community of future unfortunates. We would submit that those who still hold long-term views on life, and consequently have little patience for such foolishness, will hence be less likely to run across or deal with these people. In short, it could very well just make things a wee bit easier for single folks who have their heads on straight.

One final note before we move on. We do not wish to be seen as saying we don't think the idea is a brilliant concept. It is, and clearly the people behind the project had a good idea. They may be partially evil, but from a business perspective, we can't see how such a site wouldn't have legs.

Proof of this intelligence is displayed in one line on a page in which the company describes its offerings. The firm's spokesman, Mr Vanity, writes as follows: "Our current members consist of published writers, MIT grads, Harvard MBAs ..." (emphasis added)

As Shirer might have put it: "Clever man!"

(link via Moxie)

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at November 5, 2003 10:10 PM | TrackBack

Great entry Ben!

I didn't know quite what to say after seeing that...

Posted by: Moxie at November 6, 2003 03:41 AM

Thanks! Overall I thought the whole concept of their site was pretty pathetic, but I certainly don't think they'll go broke anytime soon.

Posted by: Benjamin Kepple at November 7, 2003 08:59 AM