CT Women

Don't Miss

Subjectivity Overload

The problem with sentimentality, porn, and emotion for emotion’s sake.
Subjectivity Overload
(r2hox / Flickr)

Among all the top and best-of lists, I noticed two lists in particular, celebrating publication covers: the first offered the worst Christian book covers of the year, and the second documented 60 years of Playboy covers.

It would seem that lists couldn't have less in common than these two. However, different as they are, both lists are partly rooted in a single problem: our culture's abandonment of objective beauty. We no longer distinguish between what Roger Scruton in his lovely book, Beauty, calls "aesthetic interest" and "mere effect." If beauty is entirely subjective, the only thing that measures its worth is "mere effect"—how it makes us feel.

Consequently, we have seen—as in these covers—the increasing acceptance of two art forms that produce divergent, but parallel effects: the sentimental and the obscene.

Catholic novelist and short story writer Flannery O'Connor offered a startling similarity between sentimentality ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview
To continue reading, join now for free and get complete access.
Already a CT subscriber?
or your full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.

Information about CT Women
CT Women exists to highlight writing by Christian women. We cover trends, ideas, and leaders that shape how women are living out the gospel in our time. Learn more by meeting our advisors and editors.

Read These Next

hide this
Access The Archives

In the Archives

This article is available to CT subscribers only. To continue reading, please subscribe. You'll get immediate access to this article and the entire Christianity Today archives.

Subscribe

Already a subscriber?
or to continue reading.