The Idolatry of Ugliness - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Idolatry of Ugliness
“The Embrace,” newly unveiled in Boston (PBS NewsHour/YouTube)

There has been much appropriate scorn on the abominable statue recently erected atop a New York City state courthouse. Literally a golden idol, the horror — obligatorily sculpted by a feminist woman artist of color, Pakistani Shahzia Sikander — is meant to honor both the advancement of abortion rights and the late Supreme Court justice who championed them, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. But while every criticism of the statue is well merited, I must disagree with my conservative peers’ call for its removal. I say leave the monstrosity up for all to see the perfect manifestation of the satanic rite it celebrates.

Better yet, let it stand near the statue of Moses who, with God’s help, saved many children of Israel from death in the Passover. While not the erectors’ intent, the contrast physically depicts the battle between good and evil in American law, which last year brought the former a supreme victory in the de-constitutionalizing of abortion rights. And to give the woman who inspired the work due credit, she proved reasonable enough to have questioned the excessive scope of the overturned Supreme Court decision.

Roe v. Wade “invited no dialogue with legislators,” Justice Bader Ginsburg wrote. “Instead, it seemed entirely to remove the ball from the legislators’ court.” Ginsburg was also wise enough to realize what such judicial overreach wrought — the rise of the pro-life wave that would one day sweep away the infamy. “Around that extraordinary decision,” she said, “a well-organized and vocal right-to-life movement rallied and succeeded, for a considerable time, in turning the legislative tide in the opposite direction.” Of course, the self-defeating irony escaped Sikander and all those responsible for raising her courthouse aberration.

The statue also reveals something subtler than the worship of child sacrifice yet just as insidious — the progressive corrosion of art. Aesthetic ugliness is not merely the result of a lack of talent to create something beautiful, which is very much the case, but a deliberate blow against beauty. The barbarians in charge of modern culture despise the very concept of beauty, for beauty elevates society, and society maintains the nation, and they are on a nation-quashing mission. They know that only men can thwart it, given something to admire, like a beautiful woman, if only in a work of art. This is why former conduits of beauty — painting, sculpture, literature, music, advertising, film — now wallow in grotesquery, especially at the expense of male heroes, even one that liberals erroneously claim as their own, Martin Luther King.

Earlier this month, a ten-million-dollar bronze obscenity called “The Embrace” appeared in Boston Common, a supposed tribute to the civil rights icon. That the sculpture more resembles a pair of buttocks being squeezed by two hands still made it preferable to the Left over a reasonable depiction of the great man, who made our country a nobler place. Because the more recognizable alternative might have prompted younger spectators to actually research what Dr. King stood for — the dream that “children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” And this notion is anathema to today’s race-hustling industry.

Still, King made out much better than the great American warrior-president Teddy Roosevelt. His magnificent horseback statue was unceremoniously removed from the New York City Museum of Natural History, before which it had stood for more than 80 years. Boys used to admire Roosevelt, particularly his famous Charge Up San Juan Hill in Cuba, when they learned true American history. And that is something progressives cannot forgive and no longer allow.

But nowhere is the total erasure of beauty more blatant than in screen entertainment, from its inception by far the most popular purveyor of female pulchritude. For a hundred years, screen sirens stimulated the art form. To name just three of my favorites in each previous decade, the Tens — Phyllis Haver, Theda Bara, Evelyn Nesbit; Twenties — Louise Brooks, Clara Bow, Nita Naldi; Thirties — Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford, Frances Farmer; Forties — Rita Hayworth, Gene Tierney, Linda Darnell; Fifties — Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, Kim Novak; Sixties — Ann-Margret, Raquel Welch, any 60s Bond Girl, but especially Claudine Auger (Thunderball, 1965); Seventies — okay, this was a bland decade starring mostly plain women the likes of Diane Keaton, Jill Clayburgh, or Mia Farrow, but let’s go with Faye Dunaway, Candice Bergen, Jane Fonda (commie though she may be); Eighties — Kim Basinger, Kathleen Turner, Daryl Hannah; Nineties — Sharon Stone, Winona Ryder, Julia Roberts’; Aughts — Naomi Watts, Charlize Theron, Angelina Jolie.

Male tastes didn’t suddenly change in the 2010s, Hollywood did. It became conspicuously anti-beauty and, by extension, anti-man — in other words, Hollywoke. It not only stopped providing young males with a natural canvas for their heterosexual inclinations, it condemned it as “the male gaze.” Mostly angry, faux masculine, unattractive women took over the screen, including as unbelievable action leads, of no interest to either men or women. And an entire movie genre, the romantic comedy, ceased to exist.

That Hollywoke is paying a heavy financial price for disdaining the majority audience of both sexes which rewards beauty and romance is less important than its virtue signaling.

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