Google “Samantha Brick” at the moment and you’ll read about a British journalist who wrote a column about the hardships of being beautiful.
Then you’ll read about the intense global response to her arguably simple silly vanity.
Topics incite controversy generally when they contain at least a morsel of truth. So Brick’s boasting has touched something raw but true in the public consciousness.
Amongst the many reviews and comments there are those lampooning her, those applauding her. Those riling against the influence of beauty. Those claiming to ignore looks. Those claiming satisfaction with their own appearance and those who do not. Many blaming the media for our “obsession” with appearances. Many finding fault in the demise of a more pure feminism.
Few, if any, commentators claim appearances are inconsequential at the practical level. The extent of the consequentiality, and the desirability of the same, are hotly debated.
But nearly everyone agrees, at least tacitly, that appearances matter to some degree.
Of course, no-one would argue appearances matter *more* than intelligence and morality and social skills. We rightly train our children to develop their substance more than their packaging. We judge books by their contents, not their covers.
And yet, and yet…
One should only judge a book by reading it – but by then it is too late to judge *whether* to read it. It’s already read! Perforce, then, the judgement as to whether to read it in the first place must be made by some external device. A review? Recommendation by a friend? “Its a really friendly book and has a great SOH”.
Unknown author, unknown title: we only pick up such a book by its cover.