It’s All About Taste
Last week, Roger Ebert reignited the age old “what is art?” debate with his post entitled, “Video Games Can Never Be Art.” Of course, many in the video game community disagreed with his premise. What I found most interesting was Ebert’s definition of art as it relates to Plato’s definition of art as “the imitation of nature”:
My notion is that it grows better the more it improves or alters nature through a passage through what we might call the artist’s soul, or vision. Countless artists have drawn countless nudes. They are all working from nature. Some of there paintings are masterpieces, most are very bad indeed. How do we tell the difference? We know. It is a matter, yes, of taste.
I completely agree with Ebert’s assertion that we know the difference between the great and well, not great.
I’ve often been called a music or movie snob because I’m rather dismissive of things like Linkin Park or Paul Blart: Mall Cop. “It’s just a matter of opinion,” I am told. No it’s a matter of good taste. If you have ever heard The Beatles’ White Album or seen a truly great movie like The Godfather, then it should be painfully obvious to you that Linkin Park and Blart are just not on that level. The Beatles and The Godfather are just better, they just are. You don’t have to necessarily love The Beatles or hate Blart (althought you probably should), but you should at least appreciate the difference.
Look, I like shitty things too. We all do. I’ve watched Con Air at least 25 different times with a big grin on my face each time. If given the choice I would probably watch Con Air over Gone with the Wind, but that doesn’t mean I actually think Con Air is the better movie. Of course it’s not. I know this because I have taste.
What does everyone else think? Do you agree, or is my snobbery taking over?