“Thoughts before coffee” Part 18: On Criticism.

Wow, part 18! This means that T.B.C. is an adult now! Yay, drinking and voting!

And, since this series is now old enough to legally step into a strip club, it’s time for a hard truth: Everyone and anyone will judge you. For whatever reason. They just will. This works both ways. You will judge people and actions too. This does not necessarily make you or the others bad people. It’s part of our universal culture: judging people helps us deal with the less annoying of our species.

(Quick note: NO, this does not justify racism. Shut up.)

When it comes down to works of Art, everyone has an opinion. You might feel the urge to quote Clint Eastwood and his opinion on opinions, but stay with me. When talking about criticism on Art, everyone can say whether it is good or not, aesthetically speaking. It’s called ‘taste’. You like horror movies, I hate them, and so on. Simple, right?

Art, however, is not only about pleasing us. It has many different uses: conveying a message, offering criticism on society, exchanging opinions and many more. When judging a book, you shouldn’t do it solely based on its cover. We should, however, be clear on a few things.

Personal taste is a factor. If you do not enjoy a certain genre of books/films/music, then you probably won’t bother looking deeper into it. And that’s cool. BUT, if you do not look deeper, you are not allowed to say whether X genre is successful at what it’s supposed to do (see above). How would you know? You don’t watch X movies, read Χ books or listen to X music. How can you tell if the things you dislike are not doing their job, if you’ve never bothered looking into them?

When critisizing something, we should do it without taking personal taste into consideration. I’m not saying that everyone should be all over Art and every single of its aspects. That’s something you decide for yourself. What I’m saying is that, if you want to say that X should be considered a good example of Art, you should set personal likes and/or dislikes aside. “What is this about? Did it succeed in delivering its promise to the audience/reader/visitor (of museums, painting galleries etc.)? What mediums were used, and how skillfully?” are some of the questions you could ask yourself, before saying it was ‘good’ or ‘bad’ artistically.

My point is: whether you like something or not, it can be a good piece of Art. I hate horror movies. I have not watched many of them, since they look all the same to me (is that racist?). That does not mean that all of them are bad. For all I know, some of them might be brilliant works. What I am allowed to say is “I dislike horror movies”, not “all horror movies are trash”. And that’s that.

See you all next time!

 

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