Friday, August 06, 2004

On Critics (and, Yes, Political Taste, Too)

There is an interesting editorial by Alfredo Triff on the critics in the Miami New Times (via Ektopos). There's not much argument, but two paragraphs caught my eye. The first:

"The critic's job is not simply to evaluate what's good or bad. It would be too boring to constantly declare, "This is bad" or "This is good." Besides, that burden of proof can be daunting. What mortal is free of self-doubt? Imagine an internal dialogue inside the critic's mind: Is it really bad, or is it that I missed the point? Am I upset or biased? Could I like this if I'd seen it under different circumstances? How do I know? These are important questions because they probe fundamental issues beyond the aesthetic realm."

And the second:

"Finally one more consideration: There could be something meaningful in that painting worth a negotiation between what you think and what the critic could suggest."

These, in fact, summarize a great deal of what will be necessary to any theory of taste, whether it be applied to the visual arts, to the performance arts, to literature, to politics, to civic life, or to any of the other facets of human life that require good reasoning based on good sense, reasonable openmindedness, and diverse experience.

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