The word “iconic”, writes Jonathan Meades in the new issue of Intelligent Life, "is today’s expression of humankind’s perennial bent towards aggrandisement.” Tim de Lisle, editor of the magazine, announces the new issue ...
You can’t switch on the television these days, or open a newspaper, without hearing the word “iconic”. Everything from the new American president to the old British phone box has been hailed as an icon. In the new quarterly issue ofIntelligent Life, on sale now in Britain and across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Jonathan Meades takes a witty look at the iconic epidemic.
In his research, Meades finds that people have written about an iconic baby lotion, an iconic cassoulet, an iconic enema, an iconic shoehorn and an iconic Coventry City football shirt of the 1970s, as well as umpteen iconic buildings and celebrities.
The word “iconic”, he writes, is “cosily religiose, softly spiritual… It is today’s expression of humankind’s perennial bent towards aggrandisement.”
Meades, author of our cover story on Zaha Hadid ("The first great female architect", Summer 2008), traces the history of the word, from the ancient Greeks and the early Christians (the original iconoclasts), to the Nazis and Stalin, and on to the visual bombast of today’s stadium-rock concerts. He makes it plain: iconic is indeed the adjective of the age.