Weekend TV – Why Beauty Matters

by Lynn Connolly

why beauty matters

Hallelujiah! Finally, someone told it like it is over modern art; it’s mostly ugly and pointless. It’s a point of view I’ve been a proponent of for some time, and as philosopher Roger Scruton took a verbal scythe to all things that purport to be modernistic art, I sat there nodding along and doing a pretty good impression of parcel-shelf Churchill dog.

He – like me – views many things about this modern world as ugly; from architecture to the mode of speech many use nowadays to, of course, art. He propounded that art should be pretty to look at, not just something as ludicrous as a whistle hanging off a rail as we saw in the School of Saatchi.

I didn’t hang around long enough with that particular show to find out much else about it; seeing a woman talk about the phallic and erotic nature of the whistle-rail combo was enough for me. Harry Hill did a very funny p-take of it in his TV Burp over the weekend, and he, though less lofty than the serious and very studious Scruton, hit the nail on its ridiculous head with his parody of finding the ‘piece’ erotic.

But as I said, Scruton didn’t only reserve his criticism for all things arty – such as Tracey Emin’s ‘My Bed’ which, if it’s art, my kids rooms are positively masterpieces – and his wider moans included the “cult of ugliness” that we’re all apparently falling victim to. And again, I have to agree. His remarks about manners – among other etiquette issues – and the slaughter of the Queen’s English again had me giving myself whiplash in my enthusiastic concord.

And if I may put my ha’porth in, the trend for written English to be reduced to ‘text-speak’ drives me nuts. I h8 it, I rlly do. Its da pits. Even the act of writing it myself to demonstrate a point irritates me beyond reason…

However, I digress; Scruton looked mournfully upon a wind turbine, had a fervent discourse to give on post-war buildings and had a lovely over-the-garden-fence-like bitch about the state of play, beautywise, with a sculptor whose work is of actual things and not just tin cans strung together or whistles hanging off handrails.

Ultimately, what the show amounted to was a televised spleen-vent, but it was one I enjoyed because I agreed entirely with every word Scruton had to say. What did you think of the show and do you agree or disagree that ‘modern’ is, far too often, a synonym for ugly?

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.