3 may. 2005

For some people the hierarchy of aesthetic values IS the main point. Far from being a damaging distraction, the way Art lends itself to being categorized and RANKED is precisely what gives it its value. For such people, if there is no way of answering the question "how good is it? is it better than ...?" the game cannot be played at all. The criteria for deciding that THIS is better or worse than THAT have to be extremely arbitrary and difficult to apply--otherwise any fool would be able to tell the good from the bad.

You gotta problem with that? I do. I'm not saying I don't have my own hierarchies, (and they're better than yours, don't forget!), but they often get in my way. I'd like to dismantle them, not systematize them, or "reify" them as we used to say in grad school. My prejudices don't make me better than I would be without 'em.

So anything goes? Not really. Blandly accepting everything as more or less equal does no good either, because it's a lie. I don't have a solution to this aporia. I'll keep thinking about it.

3 comentarios:

David Koehn dijo...

I think about this problem all the time. I don't belive in ranking at all. Yet "judgement" and explaining the value of what I perceive as good or bad or otherwise seems core to my appreciation. Don't have any suggestions for you other than that I identify with what you are saying.

Jonathan dijo...


Some help up you are! Seriously though, I appreciate you stopping by and expressing the same dilemma in your own words.

suzanne dijo...

really no different
than that old saw about pornography is it?
I know a good piece
novel poem when I see it

it matters little to me
whether distinguished critics like or not
what I do
or whether I dislike what they say
is mahhhvelous

de gustibus non disputandum...
which causes me to be
alternately amused and annoyed
by all the sorting out
of "the Better School";
the great best hope for future poetry
and all that

every poem
even by the finest of poets
is not splendiferous
everyone bombs on occasion
and sometimes
poets I consider
of lesser quality write something

I just don't get
all this attention to
critical judgement calling