Sunday, 22 December 2013

The Importance Of Ugliness

Shane Rhodes argues that, in some cases, beauty can be dangerous:
If I have a worry here, it is that the quest for beauty in language, in art, in poetry so often over-rides the importance of ugliness in language, in art, in poetry. It is just as important to search out and study the ugliness (and, sometime, to look at the ugliness of what beautiful language can create) as it is to look for those instances of beauty. This is especially true when looking at issues like colonization, anti-indigenousness, and racism – there isn’t much beauty here, but there is a whole lot of ugliness. So often we are led on by ideas of beauty and deterred or stopped by ideas of ugliness and disgust – but it is important to think of how these terms can be politically motivated and used. Colonization has very real psychological manifestations in any settler society; one of these manifestations is an unwillingness in the settler to look realistically at the injustices of our histories and current actions in the name of settlement. In Canada, who wants to read the treaties? Who wants to read the Indian Act? Who wants to look at such blatant racism? All of these texts are ugly; they are ugly because they rub against the beautiful myths we have created of our just and peaceful society.

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