Philosopher Alain de Botton antagonised the Brisbane media by citing the city as tangible proof of his argument that ugliness isn’t relative, it’s absolute
I admit I don’t view Alain de Botton in quite the same way after reading The Finkler Question as I used to, but I was still taken aback by his recent harsh criticism of Brisbane’s appearance.
Writing on his blog, The Philosopher’s Mail, he offers Brisbane as proof of his philosophical proposition that beauty is absolute. Brisbane, he says, is “ugly” and “a mess”.
While most people find the centre of Paris wonderful and others will delight in the winding streets of Siena, no one on the planet responds deeply to the brutal cross city expressway and chunky stained brown office blocks of (Brisbane).
He says the reason modern Brisbane comes to look the way it does is because:
People who have no interest whatsoever in making any city even remotely beautiful or dignified can get away with some truly terrible construction projects free of any fear of being criticised.
My purpose isn’t to take on arguably the world’s best known living philosopher on the grand theme of whether or not taste is relative (maybe another time!). Rather, it’s to point out he got Brisbane badly wrong; there’re many positive aspects to this sub tropical capital that Mr de Botton evidently didn’t notice.
I think modern Brisbane is a beautiful and delightful city. Indeed, I think it’s a gem that for better or worse still remains largely undiscovered by the rest of the nation and, indeed, the world. […]