Carla's Pumpkin
Chamber of Horrors

For years, our pumpkins sprawled upon the grass, fed by vines that wandered in freedom. Then Carla introduced the pumpkin trellis, framed with 2x4s and enclosed in chicken wire. From germination, the vines were trained to climb the trellis, twisting and wrapping and committing their short lives to the insidious contraption.

As the fruit began to grow, its weight tested the vines. The first large pumpkin plummeted to the ground, signaling the call for Carla's system of restraints. Nylons were introduced for support, hung from screw eyes and hooks of every conceivable shape. The pumpkins swelled, testing the nylon, and were soon placed in a more severe system of nylons twisted into rope.

Some of the pumpkins were born at the wrong place, trapped in corners in which they could not develop naturally, and eventually rotted. Others were able to grow to a respectable size within their shackles, but exhibited strange, anthropomorphic shapes from their captivity. The coloring of the crop was a potpourri of green, cream, unnaturally shaded pumpkins.

But isn't oppression of flora the essence of domestic gardening, just as beauty is always grounded in oppression? Generically, civilization is only possible via broad legislative and social confinement, but less obvious restraints such as high heels, salad forks, and parsley are the real oppressors in our everyday lives. Three stars and a Napoleonic medal for the commitment to an ongoing campaign to subjugate the wild pumpkin.

As an exercise for the student, elaborate on raising pumpkins in the light of fifteen theories of beauty.

1) An object of beauty relaxes the will in that it can be aesthetically appreciated through a state of disinterestedness. (Schopenhauer)

2) Beauty is in the eye of the creator, and others find an object beautiful if they can imagine themselves in that role.

3) Beauty is in the eye of the oppressor, and others find an object beautiful if they enjoy the fruit of oppression.

4) A thing of beauty is a joy forever. (Keats)

5) Beauty is a promise of happiness. (Stendhal)

6) Beauty is a hint of indigestion. (Colonel Sanders)

7) An object is beautiful if it yields pleasure in the absence of happiness.

8) An object is beautiful if it yields happiness in the absence of pleasure.

9) Beauty is the private side of love.

10) Beauty is a glimpse of the thing-in-itself (Kant), as opposed to the thing-in-something else.

11) Beauty is that which can be revealed through critique, but cannot be devalued thereby.

12) Beauty goes a-wandering, and concludes its wanderings with breakfast at a local Denny's.

13) A thing of beauty is the same as any other thing, except that it's traveling backward in time. Don't touch!

14) Beauty sells, but cannot be purchased.

15) Pre--tty.

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