This thing called Beauty Part One: Sir Roger Scruton’s Statement and maybe a Warning

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As we kickoff the 2020’s decade, we lost a lesser known conservative voice in January. He was not really a household name in America for he was British and not American. However his ideals don’t fall short of the tree if you hold to a conservative worldview. His name is Sir Roger Scruton, a philosopher especially in politics and culture. His ideals might have gotten under your skin at times, but in the end he was a rib rock conservative who saw what was happening in our macro culture, and its overall impact.

I want to talk about Scruton’s 2009 TV documentary special Why Beauty Matters (produced by the BBC), but I also want to about a retired radio broadcaster by the name of Marlin R. Taylor (that will be in part two on this series of Beauty) and his passion for the Beautiful Music/Easy Listening format. The later I had a chance to not only read his book, but also talk to a little bit from time to time online. Taylor truly is a nice man. Both had different careers and maybe slightly different worldviews, but when it comes to beauty I am sure that both Scruton and Taylor would come to similar conclusions .

A friend of mine introduced me to Scruton’s documentary which is found on Youtube (with Portuguese subtitles) and I find Scruton’s commentary on beauty in the arts, music and the overall macro culture to be very refreshing. He points out that art and music created between 1750 and 1930 contained an element of beauty of some kind. In fact that was aim of such art between that frame in the timeline. If not the artists and composers themselves admitting this, then the “highly educated” people of the day would say that on their behalf.

By the 1930’s however, art was created to challenge the norms, shock the masses, and most of all spit in the face of the gatekeepers who wanted to conserve beauty. Apparently the purpose of this new art was to be original, cutting edge, and most of all challenge the culture norms and customs that stir up calls for fundamental transformations and never ending revolutions. It’s not just about creating a work of art on display but its overall impact. Not just in the creation of big box stores and store fronts, but your office work space, were you workout, go to church, you name it. Ugly and dull Is In, and in the end its about our self centeredness and embracing our animal instinct. This abstract and protest art is also important to those who seek to social engineer our society. In the end this so called cutting edge art was just a reminder to people that you only have this life in the here, now and moment. At least with the art and music that contained an element of beauty, their was a higher calling somewhere and somehow; like that their is something higher than the human race. Art with a high degree of beauty has proven to be indeed timeless. Even some of the decent art more/less with a certain degree of beauty falls into the shock value. Folk singer and musician Woody Guthrie said it best; “It’s a folk singer’s job to comfort disturbed people and to disturb comfortable people.”
Well if you thought that rock music (later Rap/Hip-Hop) enabled rebellion, you should have paid more close attention to the folk music coming from the likes of Woody, and his son Arlo who would also gain fame with his cover of the song City of New Orleans and the true to life story or “Massacree “about getting drafted into the Vietnam War, but actually did himself a favor by littering on Thanksgiving Day 1965. Their was no need for him to go crazy ‘wanting to kill’ but yet he made Alice’s Restaurant a humorous but yet another anti-war rant through the Folk and now Folk Rock music genres.

Well you got to hand it to the Guthries, they were all about Consciousness Raising that is for sure. Over time, such consciousness raising Trumped (no pun intended) the concept of Beauty.

In my next piece I will talk about Marlin Taylor, his love for Beautiful/Easy Listening music and why this element of beauty was rejected by the Baby Boomers and by Generation X.

Please visit my Facebook page DNM’s World, in which this article first appeared.

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