Jonathan Gottschall wants to retire the idea that there can be no science of art. I’ve been thinking about it since I read this last week and wanted to rebut and Jon gets it totally. I’ll say what I was going to say anyway but I’ll back by science now. So the link above is to a pitchfork article, a rebut itself, to this article, and… wow this is already jumbled. You don’t even have to do the reading for this course everybody knows the argument framed as some people want to believe in the magic of art and some people think a little knowledge goes along way. What we really have is a fearful, anti-science, regressive cult of subjectivity versus educated people with skill and talent. You can see where my bias is.
It’s said often that you ruin a joke by explaining it. This is incorrect. You can’t make a joke better by explaining and if you have to explain it then it didn’t work but studying a joke, breaking it down into elements and figuring out the hows and whys doesn’t ruin comedy. It’s the same with music. I have a friend who will get hostile if I use musical terms when describing music. As if learning something about music will ruin it for him. Everything I learn about music enhances my appreciation of good music and my disdain for lazy songwriting and studio trickery. I don’t know art but I know what I like and to suggest otherwise makes you an elitist jerk. It’s the working class nobility myth people love. They don’t need no fancy learning or thinking to enjoy movies or music to it’s fullest. I’m confronted all the time with if-it-sounds-good-then-it-is-good levels of music criticism. Some folks think McDonald’s tastes good but no one thinks it’s Good Food, we actually call it Junk Food. Yet most aren’t quick to admit they watch Junk Movies. And to the cry of elitism? Thinking is not elite, dogs do it. You don’t have to go to Harvard, an elite educational standard, to see that filling a movie with cathartic stereotypes is the cinematic equivalent of MSG or toxic levels of salt in food.
A phrase I hate, hate as much as if someone said Yeah, I’d vote for Hitler, is “Everyone’s entitled to an opinion.” Ask why and there is no response just furrowed brows as intellectually lazy cultists try to buff out the scratch in the mental wall you just ran into. Why are you entitled to an opinion? Freedom of speech isn’t freedom of ignorance (oh, t-shirt idea). I want to make a humourous exaggeration about people not doing this to doctors but they do. That’s how far the cult of subjectivity has overrun us. Get vaccinated you uneducated jackass, you are not smarter than medical science.
Forgive the extreme metaphor but I suspect a lot of people are trying to live a Life Is Beautiful life. If they can just stay happy and ignore the holocaust of modern life it’ll all be okay in the end. And they’ll win an Oscar.