Institutionalized Ugliness

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Karen: Your blog on the ugliness of collectivist car designs reminded me of H.L. Mencken’s essay, “The Libido For the Ugly.” In part, Mencken says:

“On certain levels of the American race, indeed, there seems to be a positive libido for the ugly, as on other and less Christian levels there is a libido for the beautiful. It is impossible to put down the wallpaper that defaces the average American home of the lower middle class to mere inadvertence, or to the obscene humor of the manufacturers. Such ghastly designs, it must be obvious, give a genuine delight to a certain type of mind. . . . Here is something that the psychologists have so far neglected: the love of ugliness for its own sake, the lust to make the world intolerable. Its habitat is the United States. Out of the melting pot emerges a race which hates beauty as it hates truth.”

12:26 pm on June 2, 2009