• ZhouBoTong
    181
    It seems a given in educated circles that Shakespeare and DaVinci created "better" art than, lets say, Michael Bay (makes movies that many would consider "low brow" like Transformers or Armageddon). Is there even a little justification for this?

    However, once convinced of their superiority, the elites are happy to force their tastes on the rest of us (I never learned anything about Michael Bay movies in school) and they even have the audacity to suggest I am wrong when I say "I like x better than y". Why are we teaching opinions in school? I appreciate the discussion of opinion in school but there should only be judgement of the justification, not the opinion itself.

    I think this idea applies to philosophy (and other areas as well), but every time I write my thoughts on that it seems like I will be insulting somebody, and I don't know enough philosophy to justify any insults :grimace: I do feel comfortable enough in my knowledge of education or the arts to justify any insults - for example: Shakespeare is OK at best (brilliant use of language but garbage stories).
  • Noah Te Stroete
    1.2k
    I love Love love Hamlet. Best play ever. Perhaps I’m an elite? Excuse me while I belch and pass gas.
  • Baden
    7.6k
    I do feel comfortable enough in my knowledge of education or the arts to justify any insults - for example: Shakespeare is OK at best (brilliant use of language but garbage stories).ZhouBoTong

    OK, what is the justification then? Why is Hamlet, for example, a garbage story compared to, say, the story of Transformers or whatever?
  • OpinionsMatter
    85

    I agree, we are definitely forced to agree with the supposedly 'intelligent' opinions of those in the arts. Shakespeare, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, etc. Why should the Mona Lisa still be considered something important in our history, when learning about the now(Current times) is possibly more fruitful? And who deemed those paintings and stories as 'the greats'? If we ran a poll, would the world still prefer old vs new or historical vs modern?
  • Brett
    434
    It seems a given in educated circles that Shakespeare and DaVinci created "better" art than, lets say, Michael Bay (makes movies that many would consider "low brow" like Transformers or Armageddon). Is there even a little justification for this?ZhouBoTong

    Shakespeare can be pretty tiresome to study at school, probably because at that age you can’t see beyond yourself. But the plays do offer an opportunity to think about human behaviour, including your own, which as a youth you don’t bother to consider: everyone else being wrong.
    Many writers of novels also like to write plays, presumably they see opportunities for looking st characters that they can’t find in novels. So the play does seem to have a special significance.

    Shakespeare is valued on a number of levels; the language and the subject. But it’s true that today most people wouldn’t go to see Shakespeare, so if the elite didn’t keep Shakespeare alive it might disappear. Some might say, so what? And I don’t know how to answer that, except to say that I regard it as worth preserving.

    Michael Bay is not Shakespeare for many reasons. He can’t produce anything without huge sums of money, and because of that he’s compromised. Maybe he doesn’t feel that himself. But I don’t see his films as revealing much about human nature except on a very superficial level and really what there is of it is a narrative tool. His objective is to make entertainment, which is fine and he has a huge audience who love what he does.
  • Baden
    7.6k
    @ZhouBoTong

    Here's someone justifying why Transformers (and Michael Bay) is crap.



    And here's someone justifying why Shakespeare isn't:



    Lots of justifications for both opinions in there. Have at them!
  • Baden
    7.6k
    I agree, we are definitely forced to agree with the supposedly 'intelligent' opinions of those in the arts. Shakespeare, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, etc.OpinionsMatter

    I don't think we are forced to agree. There are reasons why certain artists are considered more important than others, and the reasons have to do primarily, as @Brett pointed out, with what they offer us of value in terms of insights into human nature, truth, reality etc. And that's not just asserted, but explored and justified in depth in literature and other humanities courses. Nothing wrong with disagreeing. It's just that disagreement on the merits of the greats isn't going to carry much weight unless a consensus develops around it. And there needs to be reasons for that development. But it does happen and things do move on. We're not stuck with classical art, for example—there are multiple other respected options.

    Of course, it's unlikely Michael Bay will ever be one of them, but I doubt that matters to him because he's not trying to do art, he's trying to make money. And that claim, or at least the claim that his movies are garbage, can be rationally argued on the basis of a number of criteria including characterization, plot, use of language, imagery, quality of acting, etc. etc. In other words, we're talking of opinions, but not just opinions. Some opinions matter more than others because they're supported better.
  • OpinionsMatter
    85

    You have a point, but throughout grade school I was asked questions in history and social studies concerning these great 'teachers'. Writing out my own opinion in those tests would have resulted in low marks, and I prided myself in being a straight A student. So I was 'forced' (I use this term loosely) to agree with a so called 'standard' that was set a couple hundred years ago.
  • Baden
    7.6k


    Well, if you had valid reasons for your opinion and could point to evidence for it, you should have been given credit for that. So, maybe it was bad pedagogy. Certainly, the last thing a teacher should be doing is stifling original thought. Of course, just because something is original doesn't mean it involves thought either.
  • OpinionsMatter
    85

    Thank-you, and yes. My opinion, however, is that they are great only for what they have done for us as a society, but the questions I had to answer revolved more on the 'Why this is artistic' or 'This is good writing/painting because...'(The author/writer is gifted in talented work, they had good taste, along these lines) Perhaps these people are not talented, yet their work reflects us as human beings?
  • Joshs
    549
    "Why should the Mona Lisa still be considered something important in our history, when learning about the now(Current times) is possibly more fruitful?"

    Why do most continental philosophers keep commg back to Plato and Aristotle? It 's because they developed a vocabulary and method of thinking that is still implicit in, and relevant to, today's philosophies. Can the same be said about Da Vinci? In a way, yes.

    What are considered the 'masters' changes over time, but in general, we keep coming back to past greats because they still have relevance to us because of their ability to invent forms of expression that we can still learn from.
  • old
    76
    It seems a given in educated circles that Shakespeare and DaVinci created "better" art than, lets say, Michael Bay (makes movies that many would consider "low brow" like Transformers or Armageddon). Is there even a little justification for this?ZhouBoTong

    Perhaps 'sophistication' is a better word than 'education' here. Do young people really take the tastes of their professors seriously? Maybe a few. They are forced to pretend to study this or that book as they chase a piece of paper that will help them get a career they want. Free them from that insincere role, however, and they may passionately distinguish between this and that TV show or pop musician --often the art that actually moves them and informs their identity.

    Some of the books one studies at school are great IMO and others not so great. Personally I think Seinfeld is more important than Plato for students now. I don't have historical importance in mind, and it's that historical importance (what has moved people) that arguably justifies taking a look at books that are otherwise over-praised. To pick on Plato for a moment, I was recently reading the Apology and found it melodramatic and sentimental. It was a sermon. It was propaganda. But then lots of serious talk is like that. It wants your soul.
  • Brett
    434
    My opinion, however, is that they are great only for what they have done for us as a society,OpinionsMatter

    These people you refer to as ‘they’, presumably meaning the great artists (and time must surely sort the good from the mediocre), have not done anything for society, nor was that their intent. They do it for art, and in a strange kind of way, they have no interest in what you think.

    In terms of writing, if you are studying it, the difference between good and bad writing is very clear. Just look at this forum as an example. The difference between accepted styles and modern approaches is a different story. James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ was greeted with scorn and derision from the conservative school of writing, but it has survived as a great work. I’m sure someone will now come along and say they don’t like, but that means nothing. Modern works of art always faces that opposition. But that’s not the same as comparing good and bad writing,
  • I like sushi
    617
    Love that review! It is “porn” for sure!
  • ZhouBoTong
    181
    I love Love love Hamlet. Best play ever. Perhaps I’m an elite? Excuse me while I belch and pass gas.Noah Te Stroete

    It only makes you elite if you think you have better tastes in art or literature than I do.

    OK, what is the justification then? Why is Hamlet, for example, a garbage story compared to, say, the story of Transformers or whatever?Baden

    Whoops, I was not clear enough. It is only my opinion that it is garbage. I am not saying it IS garbage. Just that I think it is. How can someone be right or wrong on their opinion of what is good art? We could be more or less wrong on opinions of morality for example (whether subjectively or objectively, just trying to make a point hopefully not open that can o' worms now), but how can someone tell me I am wrong that I like x more than y?
  • ZhouBoTong
    181
    I agree, we are definitely forced to agree with the supposedly 'intelligent' opinions of those in the arts. Shakespeare, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, etc. Why should the Mona Lisa still be considered something important in our history, when learning about the now(Current times) is possibly more fruitful? And who deemed those paintings and stories as 'the greats'? If we ran a poll, would the world still prefer old vs new or historical vs modern?OpinionsMatter

    Sounds great. My thoughts exactly :grin:
  • ZhouBoTong
    181
    Lots of justifications for both opinions in there. Have at them!Baden

    And anyone who disagrees with those opinions is an idiot who doesn't know anything about art, right?

    Does one have to know anything about art to say "I like that one, the other one, not so much"?
  • Brett
    434
    Does one have to know anything about art to say "I like that one, the other one, not so much"?ZhouBoTong

    No, you can say that. But that’s where it ends because you don’t know enough about art to take it any further, otherwise you would say more than just, ‘ I like that one’.
  • Brett
    434
    I do feel comfortable enough in my knowledge of education or the arts to justify any insults - for example: Shakespeare is OK at best (brilliant use of language but garbage stories).ZhouBoTong

    This doesn’t suggest a knowledge of art. If anything it suggests very little understanding of art. If you had a better understanding of art but didn’t like a piece then I’m pretty sure you’d express it differently.
  • ZhouBoTong
    181
    Of course, it's unlikely Michael Bay will ever be one of themBaden

    Haha, OK. Just to clarify, I picked Michael Bay because I know he is crapped on as simply spitting out generic crap. Yet millions of people choose to watch his movies (repeatedly). Is it really fair to just label them all as "bumpkins who know nothing or real art"?

    There are reasons why certain artists are considered more important than others, and the reasons have to do primarily, as Brett pointed out, with what they offer us of value in terms of insights into human nature, truth, reality etc. And that's not just asserted, but explored and justified in depth in literature and other humanities courses.Baden

    Well this was not my intention, but if that is what you and @Brett want to emphasize, I am happy to do a bit of Shakespeare bashing. Can you two name some of the insights into human nature that Shakespeare provided? Like most people I know Romeo & Juliet better than the rest (I do some English tutoring but probably only end up with 1 or 2 hamlet or macbeth lessons per year) so any insights from that story will be particularly easy to counter.

    not trying to do artBaden
    An example of the elitism I was talking about. So Transformers is not even art? Can any movie be art if some movies are not? Even a documentary has many artistic elements that would not exist in text (and some text is rather dry while some has more artistic elements).
  • ZhouBoTong
    181
    This doesn’t suggest a knowledge of art. If anything it suggests very little understanding of art. If you had a better understanding of art but didn’t like a piece then I’m pretty sure you’d express it differently.Brett

    Fair enough. You caught me there. My actual point is we ALL know art well enough to be justified in liking or disliking something.

    Sorry Brett, I have a lot to discuss with you here. I am responding quickly for the night. I will definitely put more time into this in coming days.
  • ZhouBoTong
    181
    Some opinions matter more than others because they're supported better.Baden

    If we are talking about something serious (bad word choice, but I might count science, morality, or politics as things that require an INFORMED opinion, art does not), I am fine with that. But it is not right (to me) to say that art that teaches us something is good, but art that only entertains is bad.

    Personally (yes just my opinion) I prefer to learn from dry and direct sources (and maybe the occasional post from @Bitter Crank). Art is for entertainment.

    Arg, gotta get going. I may be absent a day or two, but please continue to smash my position and I will attempt to defend it then :smile:
  • Brett
    434
    Art is for entertainment.ZhouBoTong

    Not to the artist. Entertainment is for entertainers.
  • I like sushi
    617
    It only makes you elite if you think you have better tastes in art or literature than I do. — ZhouBoTong

    No it doesn’t. If you think Transformers is a film to be regarded as a good, or very good, work of art then your judgement isn’t that great I’m afraid - that is not to say it doesn’t look at all good in freeze frames. The thing is a good film draws on more qualitities than the surface appearance.

    Art appreciation is a very touchy subject for some. At the end of the day no one can take away the pleasure you may get from any given experience though so I wouldn’t worry about it too much. I don’t understand why people rave about Picasso, but I don’t assume that everyone else who says he’s a genius is an art snob. Maybe one day I’ll get it, and maybe not. Either way I agree with the judgement of other artists and I can appeciate what Picasso was trying to do - just doesn’t work for me at the moment and I’m not massively invested in critiquing art.

    Just to add, I don’t see what the fuss surrounding the Mona Lisa is all about either. I looked at it, shrugged, and moved quickly onward. Monet’s stuff held my attention for much, much longer!

    Some people will act in a pretentious manner about art though. There is something to it all though. Fro example if you take some abstract art (like Kadinsky) and turn it upside down, on average people don’t find it anywhere near as appealing (everyday folk, not art critics). This shows us that they are able to tap into something that others recognise. I personally think the subjectivity of art is to do with each persons emotional disposition. Depending on your character and experiences your more likely to find artwork X more engaging than artwork Y because either X taps into emotions ou wish to explore whilst Y taps into emotions don’t wish to explore ... this is not to say “positive” or “negative” emotions as this woudl depend on where ou are in our life and the kind of questions that matter to you.

    Anyway, blah blah blah, you get the idea! :)
  • ZhouBoTong
    181
    Personally I think Seinfeld is more important than Plato for students now.old

    If you can say that, I am with you :smile:

    And to your "sophisticated" point, that makes sense. But we must refer to the one judging the art as sophisticated or not (and even then we should be careful). We can not (should not) say Shakespeare's work is sophisticated and Jerry Seinfeld's is not.
  • ZhouBoTong
    181
    This shows us that they are able to tap into something that others recognise. I personally think the subjectivity of art is to do with each persons emotional disposition. Depending on your character and experiences your more likely to find artwork X more engaging than artwork Y because either X taps into emotions ou wish to explore whilst Y taps into emotions don’t wish to explore ... this is not to say “positive” or “negative” emotions as this woudl depend on where ou are in our life and the kind of questions that matter to you.I like sushi

    This sounds good, but I assume if someone likes artwork x, and x is transformers, then they are morons and nothing you said above applies?

    That is obviously half-joking, but only half :grin:
  • Brett
    434
    Personally I think Seinfeld is more important than Plato for students now.old

    Except your students will most likely fail their philosophy exams.
  • Brett
    434
    I personally think the subjectivity of art is to do with each persons emotional disposition. Depending on your character and experiences your more likely to find artwork X more engaging than artwork Y because either X taps into emotions ou wish to exploreI like sushi

    It might be a mistake to think that ‘emotions’ is what art is about.
  • I like sushi
    617
    It might be a mistake to think they’re not? If you have point show it ;)
  • Brett
    434

    I’m not sure, though I lean towards being sure, that artists are producing work targeted at your emotions. If it was the case that they were, then they would only be able to target a very small audience, being the ones who respond to that particular emotion. People might respond emotionally to a piece of art, but that may not have been the artists intent. That emotional response; sudden tears, is more to do with the observers emotional state at the time. It’s hard to imagine any artist preparing work with the intention of causing an emotional response. The artist’s only concern is their relationship with the work, which is gone when it’s finished. Your life is of no interest to them.
  • I like sushi
    617
    I never said anything like that. Meaning I never once mentioned any “intent” from the artist. I did mention the subjectivity of the art.
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