THE EXTINCTION OF THE UGLY ONES

Some day, I need to get to know Spanish Princess Letizia’s surgeon. This person must be like the Michelangelo of the scalpel, the Monty Python of the bandages, the Cervantes of the cheekbone, the Marie Curie of the aquiline nose. Our Letizia has passed, in just a few years, from being a woman with sharp facial features, to being supermodel Nieves Álvarez. And all this without “doing anything”. She has magically evolved into a sweet being, with a sweet chin, a sweet nose, a sweet skin, a sweet look. So sweet she can even contain nut traces and cause diabetes if you look at her for too long.

The thing is… Well, that she is, honestly, more beautiful. She looks less like her, and more like others, but raising her beauty points, just like a Pokémon. A successful strategy in these times, maybe one of the few ones the Spanish Monarchy could come up with lately. Let’s just face it: being pretty pays off, and, what’s more, without any real efforts. It pays off… “just because”, because you hear people saying “pick this one, he’s pretty nice” and so on. Beautiful people get more things and more easily, because physiologically they are more appealing to our eyes, for this reason they say that we are constantly looking for symmetry in faces, or maybe because we would like to romp with this Adonis under a pine tree. Whatever it is, being cute opens doors. If you’re not, there’s a chance water buckets are placed on top of those, so that when you enter you can realise what the situation is.

How many people are there showing everywhere with their good-looking face and nothing else to offer? How many dubious talents exploit their statuesque torso to get a front row pass or an actor role despite being as expressive as a tile? It’s true that pretty faces have always been admired, but it’ also true that, in the past, even pretty faces tried to do something which could add them some credibility, like holding the crown of a State (I’m feeling monarchic today) or acting or posing like nobody else. After thinking about it for a while, I’m still clueless if I have to find a social function to the epitome of the new social species that embodies this idea: the it-girl. A model is a model, a journalist is a journalist, and a photographer is a photographer. The it-girl is, normally, a cheesy character.

After spending several nights awake writing numbers, complicated mathematic things, crosses and lines in a blackboard, we have come to the conclusion that the equation for contemporary success is a sum between a pretty face, knowledge of how to be cool (also named “component it”) and the indispensable element: followers, likes, or minions of your flowery beauty.

Creative professionals are easy targets nowadays; they are the new ecce homo of society. Wasn’t it enough that you had to show, for art’s sake and for free, samples of your work to show your worth? (The next time I’ll go to wax I will not pay, I will do that the second time, if I’m pleased with the results. Or the third one, because we shouldn’t throw away our money. But when I’m rich and on top, I will pay). Now you need at least 800 followers on Instagram if you want people to take you into consideration. Because it doesn’t matter how good you are, your product is worth nothing if you don’t have a horde of followers. And it’s only natural that people have started buying them, so that they can pretend they are cool enough. If you are not followed, you’re hopeless. You don’t count. Are you the next Warhol? We are sorry. Numbers rule, and that’s not only true for our IRS Head. And they count even more if you have the bad luck of looking like our IRS Head.

We have forgotten the ancient refrain: you can’t get blood from a turnip. We care enormously for our turnips, but what can we expect from them? Their blood, the substance, which decides if you are good or bad, has become something secondary. Talent is awarded in a second place. We all know that at the end what’s really good remains, and what’s void and meaningless fades away. But, what if this proves wrong? What if we are installing ourselves in a tyranny of numbers, followers and inconsistent pretty faces?

Letizia’s surgeon is going to have a lot of work to do. Please call me Nieves.