[ExI] Objective standards?/was Re: silly 'rules'
William Flynn Wallace
foozler83 at gmail.com
Tue Sep 29 00:01:08 UTC 2015
On Sat, Sep 26, 2015 at 2:18 AM, Giulio Prisco <giulio at gmail.com> wrote:
> Why do we need "objective standards" at all? What's wrong with
> subjective standards? And why can't different people people with
> mostly different subjective standards agree to disagree, and
> collaborate to make the world a better place according to the
> standards and values they both happen to support?
> Yes, we can develop scholarly theories of comparatively aesthetics and
> all that, and some people like to do that. I prefer to consider my,
> and others', standards and values as a given.
Departments of literature need objective standards or they would have to
admit that anything is as good as anything else. They have a point. We
don't have to agree with them.
In the New York Times Book Review on Sunday a writer is usually asked what
paragon of literature is really dull and not worth reading, and it's
interesting to see their choice. So far, Middlemarch seems to have the
distinction of being the book that the literati think is dull and hard to
But a lot of famous books have been mentioned.
We have not had enough time yet to see what of the 20th century art, music,
literature will survive. Mostly things have lasted because the elite who
run universities have clung to them and the populace has had little say.
With the 20th century and the explosion of popular everything, it's a new
Who actually reads Shakespeare and listens to Beethoven?
I'd like to know what you mean by 'given'.
> On Sat, Sep 26, 2015 at 12:52 AM, William Flynn Wallace
> <foozler83 at gmail.com> wrote:
> > my comments at the bottom
> > On Mon, Sep 21, 2015 at 10:27 PM, Dan <danust2012 at gmail.com> wrote:
> >> On Friday, September 18, 2015 3:11 PM William Flynn Wallace
> >> <foozler83 at gmail.com> wrote:
> >> >> But if no one can really say why they're great, the best thing
> >> >> to do is either be precise with "many people think they're great"
> >> >> or find out if and why they are.)
> >> >> Anyway, it's not like the world's going to end anytime sooner because
> >> >> of this discussion. :)
> >> > I have looked into the philosophy of aesthetics at some (not great)
> >> > depth. I still have not found any valid argument that can contradict
> >> > "I don't know much about X but I know what I like."
> >> > Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, if you want the cliche'.
> >> I'm not sure if the point of esthetics is to contradict that. One should
> >> separate between one's reactions to art and standards. And then the
> issue of
> >> whether there are any reliable objective standards, what they are, and
> >> to apply them to a work. (Some might maintain there are none, others
> >> there are but that they're pretty abstract so won't prove helpful in
> >> cases, and still others that each work carries its own esthetics with
> >> This latter position might be objective in the sense that if one can
> >> the esthetics inherent in the work, then one has the means to judge it
> >> whatever that means.)
> >> I'm also not sure esthetics will make you change you feelings about a
> >> work. It might, but so can other factors. My feelings toward certain
> >> has changed as I've seen more movies, gotten more experience, grown up
> >> think:). Haven't you experienced that?
> >> Also, have you ever analyzed why you like a given work -- story, film,
> >> painting, poem, etc.? Did you come up with some idea -- I like it
> >> it's got X -- only to find there are other things with X that you don't
> >> like. For example, imagine you love "The Walking Dead." Let's say you
> >> analyze why and, without too much thought, you say, "Well, it's got
> >> in it. I'm a sucker for zombies." Then you see "In the Flesh," and you
> >> absolutely detest it. Well, both have zombies, so zombies simpliciter
> >> be why you like it.
> >> > I advised my children and grandchildren: "Never let anyone tell you
> >> > that
> >> > your tastes are bad or wrong. You like what you like and that's all
> >> > takes. Never be ashamed at what you like. However, do expose
> >> > to other opinions and tastes to see if you might like them too."
> >> > gets to be the arbiter of my tastes except me.
> >> Sage advice! Being involved with Objectivists (I mean of the Ayn Rand
> >> sort) over the years I've run into too many people who think they must
> >> remold their tastes according to some Randian esthetics. They haven't
> >> cornered the market on this. Think of how people will sort of bully
> >> on issues of taste. "Oh, you like that band?" "You're reading that
> >> "You enjoyed 'American Beauty'?" (The last is from me, actually.:)
> >> > I love gourmet cooking and I also like those little gutbombers they
> >> > at Krystal.
> >> You raise another point: Whether tastes are predictable. I'm clueless
> >> here, especially about myself. Well, not completely. But there are
> plenty of
> >> examples where someone says, in all seriousness, if you like X, you'll
> >> Y, and someone else likes X but not Y or vice versa. And, yes, there are
> >> cases where someone like both the highbrow and lowbrow (and middlebrow)
> >> stuff.
> >> And I think one can still say, while not being ashamed or trying to do
> >> psychological surgery on one's tastes, "I like this, but I know it's not
> >> great" -- along with "I think that's great, but I don't really like it."
> >> > (I left out all the obvious things about snobs [does it matter who
> >> > what?] and elitism, etc.)
> >> It depends on the goal. I do agree with what you seem to be hinting at:
> >> some people want to lord over others with their tastes. So there's a
> bit of
> >> social status dominance thing going on. On the other hand, one of my
> >> roommates in college turned me on to a lot of music partly by shaming
> me. :)
> >> I'm glad he did, but at the same time there might have been a more
> >> approach to this.
> >> Regards,
> >> Dan
> > I would never apologize for my taste. I cannot imagine saying 'I know
> > great but I don't like it.'
> > I could say "Others think it's great but I don't", but would only say
> > if asked. I would not try to knock another opinion with that.
> > A friend not on this list thinks there is something to like in classical
> > music for everyone, and I agree, but cannot agree with him that
> classical is
> > all we need.
> > I doubt that anyone's tastes are predictable.
> > The rational approach to taste is to teach it in junior and high school -
> > visual arts, architecture, music of ALL sorts. I would put home
> > back in school, esp. home finance, and it could include some tasting of
> > different cuisines.
> > There are a few poets I like but mostly I don't like poems, making me a
> > lowbrow to many, I suppose. Doesn't bother me.
> > Why do I like a given work? If it's classical music, then mostly I just
> > don't know. One reason I like fantasy and scifi is that I am practically
> > guaranteed a happy ending, or at least not a tragic one. Hard to find
> > literary critics who like books with happy endings. Has to be tragedic
> > qualify for high art. Hogwash and sheep dip. I will even turn to the
> > of a book to see if I want to finish it. Often the quality of the
> > takes second place to content. I just don't want to read about marriage
> > problems, and those books are very fashionable now. I don't care if
> > Shakespeare or his equal wrote it.
> > There a case to be made for standard tastes, since we have computers that
> > can write pop music that is listenable, and Thomas Kinkade, who had a
> > formula for his art works that millions loved. I even like some formula
> > things, like detective Nero Wolfe and Sherlock Holmes. But those carry
> > originality most others don't.
> > I am 73 and have been reading some books I read as long as 65 years ago,
> > nothing is the same. Not surprised. I also tend to read more slowly
> than I
> > did once and thus notice things I skipped before.
> > Well. I have more, but this's probably too much already.
> > bill w
> >> Sample my Kindle books via:
> >> http://www.amazon.com/Dan-Ust/e/B00J6HPX8M/
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