Monday, March 16, 2009

Tulkinghorn discovers the secret to anti-cool

Roger Scruton carries the anti-cool gene, and with an instinct for contrarian ideas has just written a short book about beauty.

He gives a taste in this morning's Times:

This search for aesthetic order is not just a luxury; it is essential to life in society. It is one way in which we send out signals of humility, and show that we are not just animals foraging for our needs but civilised beings who wish to live at peace with our neighbours. That is why we adopt dress codes; it is why we are guided by taste in our language, in our gestures and in our ways of looking at other people and inviting them into our lives.

Beauty is not popular among professional architects, just as the pursuit of beauty is not popular among visual artists: it suggests costly sacrifices, and a scaling down of pretentions for the sake of people whom they don't need to know. But the controversy over modern architecture remains real and important: for it reflects the need of ordinary people that appearances be respected, so that the place where they find themselves can also be shared as a home.

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