Friday, October 20, 2017

Fight for Beauty

When did we say yes to beauty being 
discarded deleted and demeaned?

I can't speak to "we" because I am not sure it includes me, nor do I feel part of those doing the we-ing. But I do remember in the early 1980s how connoisseurial words like beauty and uglygood and bad had no place in the contemporary art conversation; that to say a work of art was beautiful was too subjective to be generative, and was ultimately anti-social.

Where is the agreement
that beauty is optional – 

Not urgent for us to thrive?

I find this to be a leading question, if not a fallacy. Maybe I am wrong. Or maybe I would like to be provided with a definition of beauty and how it is important to our sur-thrive-al.

Since when have we learned
the price of everything yet know
the value of nothing?

This question is easier because the price of everything has its price, and an increasing majority of those living in Vancouver find that price impossible to meet. Last I heard, the value of nothing is 0.

How could we have missed
that beauty is a strength
not a substance that makes its way
through the cracks to come after our
senses in full force to push us forward? 

It is easy for those unable to meet the price of everything to have missed the proposition that equates beauty with strength in their day-to-day struggle to afford substances such as food and clothing and shelter. As for "what makes its way/ through the cracks," that could be false consciousness. But to assign an action to beauty -- "push" is too aggressive, too monological. Same too for unilateral directions like "forward." 

Because we, we have not signed up. 
Westbank. Fight for Beauty.

As a dependent clause, "Because we" only makes sense in a lyric poem. Only this isn't a lyric poem so much as a centre-justified admonishment of an imagined enemy of something that is refused a definition by a private developer in defense of what it really wants, and that's a fight. In the words of Mick Jagger at the December 6, 1969 Altamont Free Concert in Northern California: "Who's fighting -- what for?" He said this more than once.

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