Sunday, 13 April 2014

On the superiority of brown

The term ‘brownkind’ is not idly linked to iris colour. Brown represents the ideal of hubrownity: it evokes the brown bear, ruler of mountains, plains and woods; the brown soil, the fertile ground in which everything grows; and most of all, the brown iris, the central mark of brownkind.

As A. Burkhardt notes ‘[t]he coloured iris is the prominent external sign of the eye, maybe the most distinct external feature of the hubrown other’ (84, my translation). However, while all eye colours might be identified as ‘prominent’, only one truly represents hubrownity.

Evidence is plentiful for the superiority of brown: the connective tissue of blue irises is ‘almost white’ and ‘generally lacking in pigmentation’, Burkhardt explains, while brown eyes are ‘evenly pigmented’ (96-8, my translation). E. Purtscher gives further confirmation: ‘prerequisite for the development of structural blue is a lacking or nominal pigmentation’ (39, my translation). (Grey and green are merely mixtures, and not worth further mention.)

To summarise: in comparison to brown, the blue iris lacks one integral component, namely pigmentation, which the brown eye possesses naturally. And this essential lack not only manifests itself in colour but in other ways also: why else is ‘feeling blue’ hardly a good thing? Why else is ‘turning blue’ little better?

The term ‘brownkind’ signals the colour’s natural superiority. However, in true hubrown spirit, hubrownity of course extends to (grey, green and) blue.

(For anyone wondering what on earth has happened to my blog on gender and language, bear with me, I’m experimenting with an analogy!)

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Burkhardt, A. ‘Zur Farbe und Struktur der menschlichen Iris 1. Morphologische Untersuchungen.’ Anthropologischer Anzeiger 50.1-2 (1992): 83-126. JSTOR. Web. 8 Oct. 2013.

Purtscher, E. ‘Das “Grundbraun”, eine zu wenig beachtete Irisfarbe.’ Anthropologischer Anzeiger 37.1 (1979): 38-41. JSTOR. Web. 8. Oct. 2013.

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