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Laura PennyThere is an aged shampoo commercial tattooed on one of my synapses: An implausibly shiny supermodel looks straight into the camera and purrs the indelibly irritating tagline -- "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful." In her latest work, cultural critic Elaine Scarry makes a similar case, urging her fellow scholars in the humanities to stop being suspicious of beauty. Scarry fears that the humanities have become "beauty-blind," dismissing beauty as a diversion and distraction from more politically pressing issues such as justice and inequality. This is not to say that academia is, en masse, sticking up for the ugly. This is merely to note that beauty no longer enjoys an easy relationship with truth and goodness. Such absolutes are, as the kids say, sooo five minutes ago. Scarry's campaign for beauty as an absolute value is thus unabashedly retro, as are her classical sources: Plato, Homer, Dante, Kant and Proust.
— Globe and Mail