“I think that this is the age that invented ugliness”
With typical bluntness this phrase is provocative, but is it defensible? How can one generation ‘invent’ something which has been around forever. And, who, after all, decides what’s ugly?
What was once considered ugly, we can view as just another form of reality, alternate beauty. The plain girl from school whom you end up marrying becomes beautiful. By the end of Notre Dame Quasimodo’s ugliness has melted away to reveal many kinds of beauty.
The ugliness Bunuel saw was not failed beauty, not crooked teeth or bad skin, but the deliberate imposition of ugliness, ugliness which was actually what its creators intended: Shopping malls, Burger King, and all of the ugliness associated with the marketing of products which we don’t need and are sold to us using lies, deception and brain-washing. That’s true ugliness: lies told cynically, for profit.
When ugliness is a function of a things existence, an essential component in its design, that’s not bad taste, it’s the assassination of taste itself, Gusticide. When the creation and marketing of food makes it necessary to destroy its nature, its flavor, that’s Gusticide.
Taste is the tool we use to decide what is good, what’s good for us, and what we like. When that tool is taken away from us, our very existence is less rich, less meaningful, and less our own.
When we ‘choose’ to eat and drink foods which are actually chosen for us by food product engineers we’ve succumbed to a form of control beyond Orwellian, because we think we’ve made the choice ourselves, we defend them as our own. Meanwhile the beneficiaries are strangers who, like the executives at tobacco companies, never touch their own creations.
This is ugliness: You’re invited to dine at a facility which allows you to carry your food to the table yourself, eat from paper and plastic, food which is overpriced and bad for you. And you are in a facility where the colors, the hard surfaces, the brightness and the sound levels were chosen expressly for the purpose of making you leave quickly. That’s FastFood hospitality.
That’s what ugliness means: It’s not esthetics, it’s a business plan.
These tomatoes are bad because they have no flavor or nutrients, but they’re also bad because they’re grown that way on purpose, and people buy them and don’t know the difference, or don’t care. And they’re triply bad when our ham is made in giant factories and has no flavor besides the sugar added to it. The pig died for nothing. We put these tomatoes on the ham sandwich. And then we add mayonnaise, full of sugar, to make up for a bit more of the lost flavor. To save it from itself.
And then, can you imagine drinking water with this? Of course not. Like likes Like. You drink sugar. It’s an evil cycle and it’s ugly.