Street Closed

Street Closed

A non-problem blog post is rare, and feels wonderful.

This photo feels simultaneously beautiful and ugly, like Robyn’s incredible Be Mine video, and so I googled “something that is both beautiful and ugly” to see if there’s a specific phrase for that (something more specific than wabi-sabi, which is all about embracing imperfection).

I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for (stupid English language) but I did find something amazing and somewhat relevant on Wikipedia:


Jolie laide (English translation: “beautiful ugly”) is the French expression used to describe someone who is unconventionally beautiful. Snaggle teeth, a bump in the nose, closely set eyes are just a few examples of unconventional physical traits, which some might view as deformities, that are embraced under the notion of jolie laide. Although the concept of jolie laide recognizes that men act and women appear (as the writer John Berger once put it), it also recognizes that behind the visceral image lies an internal life. As the literary critic Daphne Merkin put it, jolie laide is “a triumph of personality over physiognomy, the imposition of substance over surface.”

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