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Mar 24, 2011

Chacun à son goût?

Sometimes it's so easy to reconcile oneself to with the more mind-boggling marks from the judges, or some of the rather ludicrous opinions held by other presumably rational fans. "Figure skating so objective anyways and everyone is different," is a an easy and polite way to disagree, or perhaps the more defensive "it's just MY opinion." Yet upon closer reflection, this is merely just a means of muddling two concepts that are often (incorrectly) viewed as interchangeable: beauty and attractiveness.

Though some skaters appear to try very hard to prove otherwise, figure skating is an art as much as it is a sport. Why not? Figure skating programs are put together with skill and intention, and have different moods, tensions, textures, influences. They evoke emotions and engage the senses (and perhaps even the intellect at times). And of course, some are better than others.

If we are to accept that figure skating is an art, then we should judge it as we judge other art forms--that is, on aesthetic grounds, not simply just the gut feelings of like/dislike.* After all, it is attractiveness that implies desireability and hence, the attendant peculiarities of personal associations and quirks. But beauty is an entirely different animal altogether. Perhaps Immanuel Kant puts it best when he notes that "if he proclaims something to be beautiful, then he requires the same liking from others; he then judges not just for himself but for everyone, and speaks of beauty as if it were a property of things."

So, no more of this "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" prattle that is so commonly trotted out in this age of delicate sensibilities. But of course this brings up the inevitable question--what is beauty, exactly? The problem of defining beauty has been a topic of intense debate and discussion at least since the ancient Greeks, and so to avoid turning this into a philosophy blog, let's just list some criteria as beauty pertains to figure skating and its aesthetics: how well does the skating communicate what it has to say? Does the skating have something to say in the first place? Does the skating engage our attention to a satisfying end? How well does the program integrate its elements into a cohesive whole? Is the music being used as anything other than backgroud noise? If so, how is it being used?

As such, I, Morozombie, intend to begin critically reviewing figure skating programs with my scientifically-patented and totally aesthetic ranking system:

***** Masterpiece
**** Very Good
*** Adequate
** Mediocre
* Dreck 

*That being said, I admit that there will always be an element of subjectivity in figure skating precisely because it evokes emotions and engages the senses, but.....<insert Gallic shrug here>. 


  1. So excited for the upcoming reviews. I don't think anyone else could write about the combination of skating and philosophy as well as you do.

  2. YAY! Morozombie is back!!
    Now here's a question: are costumes/makeup factored into the ratings?