Monday, June 15, 2015

Taste vs. Judgment

An online discussion with an online friend has me mulling the eternal question of taste vs. judgment yet again. Here is my proposition: That, at the extreme ends, at least, it is possible (and desirable) to make aesthetic judgments about a work of art's overall quality.

Here is one example. If I prefer The Godfather Part III to The Godfather, that is just fine. Taste is personal and I can enjoy any single work of art over any single work of art and if you tell me I am wrong you are just being a dick.

BUT - if I claim Godfather Part III is a better movie, well, then, now I am being a dick. Because if thousands and thousands of smart people have assessed both films (as they have) and decided that one is clearly a better work of art than the other (as they have), then for me to come along and tell them they are wrong is a bit narcissistic and silly. Again (and this is important), I don't have to like it better. I just have to acknowledge that it is objectively better.

Also, it is important to say that this is not scientific. So am I pretending there is some objective way to decide whether Part I or Part II is the better film? No. I could convincingly argue that I is better, or II.  But I could not convincingly argue that III is better. That's kind of my point.

My online friend thought I was wrong here, and I'm certain many of you will too - so, please! Debate me!

Until Whenever

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