Where Oh Where Has Beauty Gone?

For all you philosophers of beauty out there–check out this article written in 2006 by Bifo Berardi (in a British antiques magazine, no less) which provides a thorough meditation on the evolution and meaning of beauty, from antiqua up through the modern age.  Where o where has beauty gone?  I’m not talking about the superficiality of a lovely face, or a well-toned body.  Perhaps I am speaking of the work of God, or Nature, as opposed to the work of Man/Woman, which can often depart grossly from the ideal of beauty.  Beauty does not seem like the first aesthetic on the list that today’s artists are gravitating to.  Why?


Click to access fp_bifo11.pdf

An Chloë

Wenn die Lieb’ aus deinen blauen,
hellen, offnen Augen sieht,
und vor Lust hinein zu schauen
mir’s im Herzen klopft und glüht;

und ich halte dich und küße
deine Rosenwangen warm,
liebes Mädchen, und ich schließe
zitternd dich in meinem Arm,

Mädchen, Mädchen, und ich drücke
dich an meinen Busen fest,
der im letzten Augenblicke
sterbend nur dich von sich läßt;

den berauschten Blick umschattet
eine düstre Wolke mir,
und ich sitze dann ermattet,
aber selig neben dir.

“The Most Beautiful of All Doubts”

In his long poem In Praise of Doubt, Bertolt Brecht wrote:

“But the most beautiful of all doubts

Is when the downtrodden and despondent raise their heads

and stop believing in the strength of their oppressors.

Oh how laboriously the new truth was fought for!

What sacrifices it cost!

How difficult it was to see

that things were thus, and not thus.”

I say that the brave students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High have stopped doubting.  Watching these brave Parkland students today who gathered the guts to stand up and face the shameless powerful, in order to demand that the tragedies caused by guns be ended. I stand with them. It is a double tragedy that these students must take time from their lessons and education to fight, to fight back, which takes courage, energy and time. God bless these brave young souls who are determined that their friends have not died in vain, and that all who have perished via gun violence will not be forgotten.  The loss of their lives means we can all stop doubting, now.  We can see that things are thus, and not thus.

Noting as well, the pernicious manner in which CNN’s advertisers (BMW) are capitalizing and distorting on the students’ show of strength==equating it with bravado and material wealth: “As long as there is fear….as long as there is desire…YOU CAN DO MORE” (by purchasing a BMW) and:  “After the crash–I wonder–am I dying? And what about my kids?–The law firm of _____________” followed by the masculine horror-voice-over: “CNN: the most trusted name in news”.  For those of you who heard my Love is Not a Subaru, this is again the libidinal economy hard at work.