[ExI] Objective standards?

William Flynn Wallace foozler83 at gmail.com
Wed Sep 30 16:29:42 UTC 2015

On Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 8:04 PM, Dan TheBookMan <danust2012 at gmail.com>

> On Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 3:38 PM, William Flynn Wallace <
> foozler83 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Dan - ​Probably an issue of exposure and guidance and maybe self-control.
>> But if it's all a matter of tastes, why care so much about it?​
>> ​Because I am a teacher - to the bone!  Teachers are sharers and if I
>> love something I want to share it.  That's what psych 101 does, isn't it?
>> Present a large number of areas in a rather shallow way to see if some are
>> drawn to one or another and want to follow it up somehow.
>> As for music, it's not presented in school in most places, and so most
>> people don't even have the chance to see what they might like, and I think
>> that's sad.​  Also sad is the fact that they might use it as sonic
>> wallpaper, just for background and never hear that there is anything more
>> to it because they don't just sit and listen, and because if they did
>> they'd still not get all of it because of their untrained ears.
>> Now - I went to concerts with a chemistry teacher and he knew nothing
>> about music but he knew he liked some classical.  I argue that his
>> enjoyment might equal mine, and that he really doesn't need any more
>> knowledge than he has.  But if he did, he would enjoy it on a more complex
>> level and on more levels, just as good English teachers can do with books.
>> No, I did not try to teach him.  I thought it might be perceived as
>> patronizing.
>> I have pointed out the donkey imitation in Midsummer Night's Dream, and
>> that's not essential to the enjoyment, but it's interesting, eh?
>> Take Huckleberry Finn - the symbolism taught is that the river is a good
>> place and the shores are bad places etc.  Interesting even if not what
>> Twain had in mind.  True, as Terry Pratchett said, for a given value of
>> true.
> Doesn't much of this seem to answer your question about literary and art
> analysis and criticism?
> ​And what was my question?​
> Also, if it all comes down to pure tastes and also tastes are irreducible
> ​did I say this? ​
> and have no other significance, then it still seems to be pointless. In
> fact, one might argue this distracts from more important things. So, having
> music only as decoration would be good so that people don't focus too much
> on it, no? Of course, if there's more to it than tastes or if tastes are
> not irreducible and do matter (as in one can have bad or the wrong tastes),
> then it might matter a whole lot. One person might be better off than
> another simply because she or he has better, more informed, wider, or more
> refined tastes, for example. Or art (including literature and music) might
> have a bigger, more important role to play in life than just tastes.
> ​  why 'just' tastes?  Most of my day is concerned with taste:  what to
> read, to listen to, to eat, to talk about even- I love these discussions
> and so it suits my taste to have them - when I make a post and no one is
> interested I try again to stir thing up -and sometimes I play devil's
> advocate....

​Ask most people what/who they are.  Maybe they will start with their town
or state,  country, religion, occupation, marital and child status, ​race,
sex​, level of education, social status, income.  I'd rather talk about my
tastes - they are more who I am than my degrees of cash on hand.

Do I think of my tastes as refined?  Somewhat.  Am I an elitist?  Of course.

I do believe in objective standards, but those are highly debatable, as we
are finding out.  I'd even talk about Ravel versus Debussy as to whom was
better, though it doesn't make a hill of beans. And at the end our tastes
are probably unchanged, but what comes out often is that one needs to
explore others' choices to see if they are a fit for one's own universe.  I
am extremely picky and so most don't, but often I am pleasantly surprised.
I have bought a lot of classical CDs, music written after 1950, and the
vast majority of them are money wasted, but then the few diamonds (Ligeti's
piano etudes for one) I find are worth it.  I wish I had the money to do
that with fiction, but as Dan says, there are just so many coming out, as
Dogbert says, like a fire hose aimed at a teacup.

Maybe we should start another chat group devoted entirely to posting
favorite new books and music and what not.

bill w

> Regards,
> Dan
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