The Friday Fillip

Losing face, saving face, facing up to the music, it’s a facer, the face that launched a thousand ships — yes, even Facebook: all about what’s up top and up front. It’s what we present to the world and how that world knows us. There even seems to be a hard-wired ability in the human brain to recognize faces, damage to which produces the unhappy condition of prosopagnosia (the most famous instance of which is found in Oliver Sacks’ book “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for A Hat“). In case you doubt that this is a special-purpose ability of yours, consider how difficult it would be to express this tacit knowledge, as Polanyi calls it: try to describe a friend’s face sufficiently well that a stranger reading your description could pick that friend out of a crowd of thousands with something like the ease with which you could.

We find some faces more attractive than others, and this is a fact being studied by, among others, the School of Psychology at the University of Aberdeen. They’ve got a website that offers you (accessible) papers on facial attractiveness, and — much more fun — a page where you can make an average face out of any number of face photos as raw material. Even better, you can upload your own set of face photos and have their application average them for you. You will understand that I was tempted to produce the average Slawyer — but the better part of curiosity is discretion, sometimes.

As much fun, perhaps, and completely unscientific is the My Heritage celebrity matching website: you upload a photo and their software will kick out a pic of a celeb whom you most resemble. Of course your intrepid blogger had to give it a go… Seems I most resemble one Tung Chee Hwa.

That’s what I said.

Turns out that Mr. Tung is the ill-fated first elected Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, driven out of office by popular discontent… But enough about the other me. I pressed on and found other celebrity matches, including such notables as Martin Gardiner, Sugar Ray Robinson and, mirabile dictu, Brigitte Bardo.

That’s what I said.

But enough talk: let me show you, below the fold, the match of me and Mr. Tung, and leave you to try your luck. I’ll be the one on the left…

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