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Author Topic: Russell's smile  (Read 1457 times)

June 02, 2013, 12:48:48 PM
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Some time ago, Ken and I discussed Russell’s smile and associated problems with his oral health. As a dentist, I asked to obtain his dental records but was unable to secure a copy. Oh well. Russell had decayed teeth and more importantly infected gums. Despite sixty something years of smoking he avoided cancer. His poor dental  health adversely affected his relationships and his confidence. This is a basic hygiene issue everyone experiences. Apart from one having an ugly face, bad breath due to periodontal disease is the next sensation. It is  the next test one must ‘pass.’ For a celebrity such as Russell, each sentence, each encounter, each friendship is more carefully scrutinized than an armchair intellectual. Despite the emphasis of our brains ahead of our bodies we are animals with a sexual drive. We want that pleasure and to attract a mate we must make ourselves desirable.   

The philosopedia entry for B.R. regarding his smile stated:

“Russell’s marriage to Ottoline Morrell had been expected to bring him some degree of sexual happiness, for he told friends of his having been disappointed sexually with Alys Pearsall Smith. Russell later wrote that his pyorrhea and bad breath were in part responsible for their breakup,”

Old photos, especially those of famous people, as we all know, almost never show teeth. People used to be portrayed as serious all the time. Teddy Roosevelt’s broad celebratory grin is the first to my knowledge. Then, of course, John Kennedy. Now, evidently, we have time to be silly and happy as evidenced in each photo of each of us personally, those politically, Madison Ave. advertising efforts and of course Hollywood.

Here are some selected photos of BR with smiles include:













These photos are extensive but I have to stop sometime…

People who wish to be taken seriously do not smile. Could that be why philosophers do not smile? Many photos of Einstein show him smiling and acting goofy. When I see a picture as this I take the smile as a display of confidence, especially in this case knowing his contributions.



This photo, of course, if one of the more famous.

One does not wish to smile and expose ugly of missing teeth as it would diminish one’s image.

This is especially true of B.R.   The transition of a bright student with perfect young man’s teeth and optimistic smile and outlook with his entire future ahead of him into a philosophical phenomenon with so many irons in the fire, many interest, many lovers, many bills and finally into a superstar old man with denture. Many photos of BR smiling are after he had his teeth removed and dentures made.

Concern for appearance is  typical human nature. There is the matter of little time and little money for healthcare. These are constants which few of us discuss yet we all experience. 

My dental assistants screen their boyfriends by their teeth. If they have bad or missing teeth the boy didn’t make the cut. I asked them if it was like buying a horse. They gave a puzzled look. I asked if they made the potential partner  open up so they may examine their mouths as an on-the-spot inspection because  that’s what a guy would do. The clever female hand feeds the beast and looks in while opened up. You know, like at the petting zoo. The other females nodded in agreement. Men are less discriminating.

The point of all this is to explain how important it is to boost how one presents himself and how one perceives himself/herself during presentation. Theses series of sensations and perceptions are directly related to confidence.