It’s actually the morbid fear of ugliness that fuels our obsession with all things beautiful. I don’t think there is anything more conspicuous than ugliness and I’m not talking about what looks ugly.
People like ugly. People want to be ugly for being ugly and difficult gives you the license to get away with just about everything. The biggest or the crudest, in addition to the usually being the ugliest in a group, is usually the one who decides. Where shall we do- ask the obnoxious one; where shall we meet up- ask the seemingly degenerated; why aren’t we doing what we really want to do- well the fat one will have an issue with it.
The pursuit of being correct and not hurting sentiments makes us want to do just about anything. Look at the news- nothing sells like bad news and ugliness. Once a week every newspaper will show some little incident that has no direct effect on your life or anyone’s for that matter but its really pathetic and ugly. Once a month some news channel or newspaper shall have a photo of Lalu Prasad Yadav spitting away a paan. There is a website that actually offers ugly models...and it's called, what else but ugly.org
Take movies for instance. They are all about the ugly one having the trueness in their heart that will change the world. Even extremely good-looking, when acting out ugly, win over almost anyone who isn’t playing ugly. What was so great about Charlize Theron in the Monster as opposed to Naomi Watts in 21 Grams? Or Helen Mirren managed to convey some emotion as the otherwise cold and ugly Queen that escaped a magnificent Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada or a wonderful Kate Winslet in Little Children. Tom Cruise might not be a great actor but perhaps his Jerry Maguire wasn’t as ugly as Geoffrey Rush in Shine. Even Will Smith has to enact a real life person in ‘ugly’ times to get talked about for his acting skills and not how many times he said ‘Aww Hell No’ in a film!
A friend recommended Mukul Kesavan’s The Ugliness of Indian Male and though it made for interesting reading (thanks Gopesh!) I was let down by the end. The book talks about how the Indian male- especially leading actors- are uglier than woman- especially beautiful leading ladies- and yet they are more popular.
Well…what’s so surprising about that?
The fact that ugliness sells more than anything was evident from the title of the book and the fact that the second part of the title, ‘…and other propositions’ was printed two sizes smaller than it’s preceding part! In any case barring a couple of observations the rest of the book comprises of essays that Mr. Kesavan’s English teacher might have rejected! If you ever get a chance watch Kim Ki Duk’s Time, it deals with the whole issue of ugliness is good as opposed to beauty is skin deep in a manner most unusual. I don’t think we suffer from a fascination for the beautiful but a fear of ugliness and that is what makes most of ugly.
But hey then isn’t ugly really beautiful?
This blog wasn’t written with the intention of sounding prude and no dogs were hurt while writing it as well.