'No one says a sunset is interesting,' Susan Sontag wrote. 'It's beautiful,' we say when we see a gorgeous sunset. She was defending sublime beauty. Beauty, she believed, was an absolute to which we respond with pleasure and awe. She had lost patience with those who dismissed the idea of beauty as elitist. They preferred "interesting" to "beautiful"--much more democratic: anything could be interesting.
Beautiful or interesting: are those our only choices? No. I like ugly-beauty, Cocteau's beast ("La belle et la bete," 1946.)
Joan Crawford is an ugly beauty.
Da Vinci's old man:
Goya's painting of a monk talking to an old woman defies categories.
An example close to home: an American beech tree with an enormous bulging bole.
As for me, as I age, how will I describe myself?