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«August 20, 2007 Remember Elvis Thirty years after his death, the Memphis misfit defies explanation by Martha Bayles The sideburns and ducktail ...»

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Elvis sat down at the piano and... launched into Unchained Melody, the Roy Hamilton number in which he so often seemed to invest every fiber of his being. Hunched over the piano, his face framed in a helmet of blue-black hair from which sweat sheets down over pale, swollen cheeks, Elvis looks like nothing so much as a creature out of a Hollywood monster film--and yet we are with him all the way as he struggles to achieve grace. It is a moment of what can only be described as grotesque transcendence.

True, but recall the lyrics: "Time goes by so slowly, and time can do so much." Is any mortal creature capable of transcendence that is not, in some sense, grotesque?

Martha Bayles teaches in the honors program at Boston College.

© Copyright 2007, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.



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