• thedeadidea
    98
    It is all relative... we should just forget novels altogether after all they are all texts... Highe School Education should have equal testing for SAT levels of Shakespeare and To Kill a Mockingbird as they do Bob The Builder and Dora the Explorer.

    Reinforcing the narrative and myth of 'age' appropriate material is the beginning of ageism ignorance. we should move beyond that in its entirety.

    It isn't even an opinion the complete lack of standards in aesthetics is one thing, to apply that to education is just disgusting. If one wants to dispute aesthetic predilections of literature more power to you but if one wants to suggest literacy rates or all texts assess the same level of literacy and interpretation you are insane.....

    The idea of replacing film with reading is just shit and missing the entire point of education... That is to also develop a toolbox of cognitive ability.... Including but not limited to READING ABILITY
  • ZhouBoTong
    445
    a) the same piece of art claimed to be painted by a white conservative male or a Hispanic lesbian which has more value? If you want to claim both would have equal opportunity to get their art hung in a gallery you are out of your mind....thedeadidea

    Well until very recently odds would have been WAY higher for a white male (like 100 to 1). Today I would say it is slightly in favor of the hispanic lesbian (more like 3 to 2 than 100 to 1). Either way, those are examples of the type of subjective assessments of art that I have a problem with.

    b) a conversation in contrasting the significance of Starry Night by Van Gough, The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso and Tracy Imin's unmade bed.... Go on have a chop don't just go to the catch 22 Renaissance writers, poets and other mainstream cultural icons paint your own artist canon with the same brush.... Have a real go... then after you get done defending the bed half-heartedly contrast the value of Tracy Imin's art to the kind of aesthetic commentary one might draw from Artist's Shit by Piero Manzoni....thedeadidea

    This is a bit jumbled, but I get the sense you are saying that I need to be as critical of Michael Bay as I am of Shakespeare? If that is what you are saying, then no worries, that is exactly what I am doing. In fact I am arguing that art critics and elites DO NOT apply the same standards to the 2. I am exactly applying the same standard to Shakespeare as I am to Michael Bay.

    c) If one is a philistine for treating some art as shit and others as not but all are equal then consider the biography of a man like Auguste Rodin whose classical style in France elicited criticism and scorn in his day but still triumphed....thedeadidea

    Wait, isn't eventual recognition of his triumph support for my position that we should not just listen to the established authorities?

    d) If you don't like Shakespeare that is up to you but his stories were written 400 years ago... You will have to forgive the writer if they did not weather as well as some English majors hyperbole would have you believe.... But given his pre-industrial revolution pre democracy writing one might have to be a little more forgiving...thedeadidea

    My point is that the stories do not hold up, not that they did not have some value in the past. I would even admit that, to some people alive today, Shakespeare may be very beneficial or rewarding. I just don't think he will resonate with a very large audience anymore (I would even go as far as to suggest that part of the reason for Shakespeare's enduring success would be the lack of competition until recently).

    e) The reason why you wouldn't see Shakespeare in a lot of schools today is that he is probably one of the best and most humanistic centers of CULTURE the C word that some artsy wishy-washy Lefty Safe Space Occupying Morons don't want anymore...thedeadidea

    Wait, I am complaining that there is way too much Shakespeare (and as you have just joined, I am using Shakespeare as a placeholder for all art that is well respected but rarely actually enjoyed).

    I just don't understand why kids need to read the same book.... Surely we could have an electronic database of books and let them pick in 2019.... Insisting on references (reference generators), cut and paste quotations and a digital copy so teachers could cut and paste a reference in doubt into said data base and quickly know whether it is there or not..

    Considering its all arbitrary anyway a kid might as well read and write a report on the book of their children rather than read the same book and share opinions nobody cares about or learn to form those opinions. At least they might actually get some joy out of their English class
    thedeadidea

    This sounds like stuff I would agree with and yet...

    It isn't even an opinion the complete lack of standards in aesthetics is one thing, to apply that to education is just disgusting. If one wants to dispute aesthetic predilections of literature more power to you but if one wants to suggest literacy rates or all texts assess the same level of literacy and interpretation you are insane.....thedeadidea

    Well less insane than attempting to use Shakespeare to teach literacy. Also, I am not necessarily advocating for a complete lack of standards. Just pointing out that the current "standards" are almost entirely arbitrary and subjective.

    The idea of replacing film with reading is just shit and missing the entire point of education... That is to also develop a toolbox of cognitive ability.... Including but not limited to READING ABILITYthedeadidea

    Huh? So if currently around 90% of learning in English classes takes place through reading, and I think that should be reduced to 70 or 80% with movies (or other options) replacing some of the reading; how have we hindered students' reading ability?
  • thedeadidea
    98
    The fact you equivocate aesthetics and education that is the principle of arts criticism and pedagogy as the same thing means you are exactly the type of person I have no wish to agree with.... Because you somewhere lost the democratization of content to an infinite subjective everything is permissible form of education...

    Meanwhile in the real world I need to understand certain facts...

    like Bob the Builder and To kill a Mockingbird have very different reading levels and the latter is a reading level I want high school students to experience....

    It is not okay for the board of education to let people read anything universally... Try think of some controversial titles and imagine if parents would phone in or not....

    More so the problem with unlimited and infinite aesthetics sameness is it applies to values too...
    If I get a book on how to bake muffins.... that is the value too... contrasted to To Kill a Mockingbird... are you so vacuously relativistic that you want to argue the sameness of educational importance ?

    I doubt it... I mean maybe you would double down on the bullshit... but as an educator I have a real world and normative interpretation of reality to consider outside of the context of your own hypothetical musings.

    'Postmodernism' or whatever synonym you want to use for relativisim ad-infinitum pedaling twits is full of shit and although I am for democratization of school content where possible some key underlying themes need to be insisted upon for a syllabus of any kind.... The fact you don't get my clear sarcastic ridicule just goes to further highlight one of my current hypothesis that is Postmodern theories and literature generates autism and autistic interpretation.
  • ZhouBoTong
    445
    I'm just pointing out that it's not the same for everyone or in each scenario. It's not the case that one thing or the other catalyzes more imagination for everyone.Terrapin Station

    Hey Terrapin. Just making sure you don't feel ignored in this thread. I think we are in general agreement (perhaps not exact, but much closer than those I am responding to). I just don't have anything to say when people are in agreement with me, haha. Certainly let me know if you feel I have missed anything.
  • ZhouBoTong
    445
    First, a side question; when I was in school, history was my subject. I liked it, and did well on tests. However, even in high school, I was aware that I was one of only 3 people in any history class that actually liked history. Are you aware that similarly, most of us did not like English class? In the same way that most do not like Math?

    In movies the imagery is given to you. In literature, the imagery is constructed by you via imagination.javra

    Well how much practice do we need at this skill (visualizing words in our minds as the ideas they represent)? I would consider that skill to just be part of "literacy". And I don't know many people who lament their lack of ability to visualize imagery. I am not saying this skill should NOT be taught. Just that it is taught. And if we taught it 10% less, I don't see a problem (I get you are arguing we should teach it more - but at the expense of what?).

    For example, in Fahrenheit 451javra

    I addressed this in the previous post. The summary is that my problem with this example is that what you learned could have been taught in a more succinct and direct manner, assuming an interested audience.

    Having both read Dune and seen the movie (I enjoyed both), this same disparity applies to the novel Dune to far greater extents. In the novel, erudite observations of politics abound, as do insights into human psychology. One soundbite-friendly observation that comes to mind, paraphrased, is that the typical adult human would rather die than find himself holding beliefs antithetical to those beliefs he’s assimilated into himself as an adult. The movie greatly skims the theoretical aspects of the book in favor of action that is visually depicted—thereby depriving the story of its more pleasant experiences, this while reading the novel.javra

    I like all of this. But if the goal was to learn, "that the typical adult human would rather die than find himself holding beliefs antithetical to those beliefs he’s assimilated into himself as an adult", couldn't we have taught that in less than the 20 hours required to read the book (40 if we assume they are actually taking the time to understand these complicated ideas you are mentioning). Notice that if we knew that EVERYONE (or close to it) would enjoy the story, then it is worth the extra time to engage the students. But if only 20% of the class is going to like any given story, it seems more just a waste of time, not to mention filling their brain with unimportant facts that elbow out all the useful ones. (this paragraph has too harsh a tone - take everything said as my reasoning for teaching 10-20% less formal literature, not eliminating it entirely).

    If we equate plot to story, the story remains roughly the same in a novel and a movie. But just as plot-depicting cliff notes cannot convey the aesthetic experiences of living through the story—regardless of whether it’s a movie or a novel—so too will a good movie not do a good novel justice, for the movie at best abridges far too much of the novel’s contents: those of perspectives, of background, of psychology, of worldviews, etc. And again, by comparison, a good movie will not flex the mental muscles of imagination (so to speak) anywhere near as much as will a good novel.javra

    So the main reason I LIKE novels more than movies is that they are longer. If it is a world you enjoy (by world - I mean the fictional environment that the story takes place in) then likely 2 or 3 hours is not enough. However, there are very few movies (even the great ones) that end leaving me wondering about background or character details. And for me personally, I would struggle to separate my enjoyment of one over the other (book vs movie). I would say that if teachers approached movies similar to books, there would be plenty of opportunity to flex mental muscle. Notice a concept like symbolism could be taught just as easily in either format. Why not introduce it in the format students are most comfortable with, and interested in, then they can use their new found skills and knowledge when they are given a more complex and less familiar work, like the novels you have mentioned?

    Now, though unfortunately too often derided among rational types, imagination is of pivotal importance in everything from finding satisfactory solutions to problems (of all types and breadths) to the progress of the empirical sciences (from arriving at new paradigms which explain all outliers of data, like the Theory of Relativity and the Theory of Evolution, to the formulation of worthwhile hypotheses and adequate tests for these).javra

    I think we would have to have a whole discussion on "what is imagination" for this to go anywhere. I have found it interesting that my "creativity" directly correlates with how much knowledge I have. I am not trying to deride creativity, just point out that if creativity refers to "wholly original" then I wonder if it exists, if it means "a slight or significant change to an already existing idea" then you can see how more knowledge = more creativity; and yet that does not seem to fit the meaning of creativity. I understand "creativity" as more of an emotional expression than something that is logical and concrete (the connotation far outweighs the denotation). I would also point out, that WHATEVER creativity is, it is NOT equally attainable for all. Just like intelligence, or athleticism, we are all born with certain potentials and limitations. Can I teach someone to play soccer? Of course. Can I teach someone to play soccer like Lionel Messi? Of course not.

    And, quite arguably, among the best ways of improving this cognitive faculty among all individuals is via the reading of literature.javra

    I don't think you will be able to convince me that people learn more creativity from literature than movies. Maybe you are talking a specific type of creativity? Notice visualizing imagery is a very different type of creativity than creating an interesting story or developing a new theory of physics. I could develop my ability to create stories by watching movies. If I want to develop my creativity in physics, I will have to learn some math (the best mathematician will not necessarily be the most creative physicist {ie Einstein}, but without a fairly solid math base, good luck creating some important new theory.

    I am getting closer to caught up!
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k
    Hey Terrapin. Just making sure you don't feel ignored in this thread. I think we are in general agreement (perhaps not exact, but much closer than those I am responding to). I just don't have anything to say when people are in agreement with me, haha. Certainly let me know if you feel I have missed anything.ZhouBoTong

    Sure, no problem. It's a topic I'm very interested in, but so far in this thread I primarily keep hoping that people will relax from typing so much, haha. I like to interact with folks so that it reads like a transcript of a casual in-person conversation we might have . . . which makes me picture people obliviously going into interminable lecture mode with all of these long posts.
  • ZhouBoTong
    445
    Sure, no problem. It's a topic I'm very interested in, but so far in this thread I primarily keep hoping that people will relax from typing so much, haha. I like to interact with folks so that it reads like a transcript of a casual in-person conversation we might have . . . which makes me picture people obliviously going into interminable lecture mode with all of these long posts.Terrapin Station

    I get what you are saying and have been trying to think of a way to accomplish that. But I think part of the problem for people like Javra and I is that I can go a long time between responses. Therefore I try to include a lot and respond to every point a person has made. I do wonder though, if every post between us is so long, will we ever be able to recognize any progress? I think for me personally, I need to learn to respond to the spirit of people's arguments rather than nitpicking every word (but I can't help it). I will work on it...this is still longer than most of your posts, haha.
  • javra
    827
    (to those who decry long posts, feel free to not read this)

    [...] Because I don't see how your definition created universality.[...]ZhouBoTong

    There’s a lot that I haven’t yet replied to. Even if I don’t get around to all of it, I thank you for the candid replies. It in the meantime struck me that we might not ever resolve our differences due to reasons that are far more foundational philosophically: those pertaining to our underlying views concerning human universals. I’ll do my best to illustrate this possible disparity via one analogy:

    The aesthetic experience is not the only human-relative experience that conforms to the three descriptions we’ve so far roughly agreed upon in relation to aesthetics. In want of addressing the issue somewhat more impartially, I’ll here reference the experience of being in love. Being in love is a) an emotive experience, b) is a narrow subset of attraction-toward, and c) becomes intertwined with one’s own being such that others’ derisions of that person one is in love with is in many ways sensed as a derision of one’s own being.

    In further rough parallel to the experience of aesthetics: While some can sincerely fall in love multiple times in the course of a lifetime, others never do experience this state of being. Some find this emotion to be very transient; others can be affected by this emotion for the remainder of their lives. Those givens, such as personality traits, with which one person falls in love with will very often not be those which some other person falls in love with. Relative to individuals that can experience it, this state of being can be of greater intensities and of lesser intensities. Also, there are no currently known empirical means of establishing the specifics of what this experience is like for the average human psyche.

    Chances are you’d fall in love with people with whom I’d not fall in love with, and vice versa—this though we’d both experience the same emotive state of being we term “being in love”. Chances are no two people can experience the exact same psychological states of being when being in love—just like no two people can likely ever experience the exact same visual impressions of the same physical object (for no two people share the same spatiotemporal point of view in relation to a commonly experienced physical object). Chances are that being in love with some person qualitatively fluctuates over time. Etc.

    Now, if due to the aforementioned you are one to argue that, therefore, what we English speakers commonly term the experience of “being in love” cannot be validly upheld to hold a universal referent relative to our human species—a universal referent relative to which greater or better, and lesser or worse, instantiations of this universal can occur in individuals—I find that we then sharply disagree on the far more basic issue of human ontology at large. This, specifically, in relation to universal properties of human psychology (As an example: such as the human capacity to experience the color red; while some colorblind people may not be so able, this, to me, does not then dispel the human universality of the experience of red as a color). If this disagreement is there, than no amount of discussion on aesthetics per se can resolve our differences, for these differences are then rooted in our differing perspectives in relation to ontology of mind—again, particularly, in relation to the nature of human psychological universals.

    If it is the case that we disagree on this rudimentary issue pertaining to the human mind, I’ll then respectfully bow out of this discussion - primarily because the discussion would enter a completely different ballpark.
  • ZhouBoTong
    445
    There’s a lot that I haven’t yet replied to. Even if I don’t get around to all of it, I thank you for the candid replies. It in the meantime struck me that we might not ever resolve our differences due to reasons that are far more foundational philosophically: those pertaining to our underlying views concerning human universals. I’ll do my best to illustrate this possible disparity via one analogy:javra

    I appreciate what you are trying to do here. I was just thinking after my last post that we might just go back and forth on details for eternity :smile:

    In that spirit, after reading your post a couple of times, and deleting my own unhelpful ramblings, I think I can get to the heart of the matter a bit quicker.

    Now, if due to the aforementioned you are one to argue that, therefore, what we English speakers commonly term the experience of “being in love” cannot be validly upheld to hold a universal referent relative to our human species—a universal referent relative to which greater or better, and lesser or worse, instantiations of this universal can occur in individualsjavra

    So I would say the "experience of being in love" is quite comparable to "the experience of enjoying a work of art". But how does this make Shakespeare universally better than Transformers? I feel like I missed something major, because as I read your description of love and how we are unlikely to fall in love with the same person, I immediately thought, "exactly. just as we are unlikely to like the same work of art to the same degree".

    a universal referent relative to which greater or better, and lesser or worse, instantiations of this universal can occur in individualsjavra

    Wait, I got lost here. How can love be better or worse? If a husband beats his wife, is that worse love than a husband not beating his wife, or is beating NOT an act of love...even if the perpetrator thinks it is? Is love better if you remember every valentine's day? Notice I have ZERO idea how love could be "better" or "worse"? Human expressions of love could be viewed as better or worse by the recipient, but that seems very different (Do I love my mom more if I remember Mother's Day? No. But Mom sure seems to think so).

    Basically, how can I take the universal truth that "most (all?) people enjoy some art" and somehow then conclude that Shakespeare creates "better" art than Michael Bay?

    As an example: such as the human capacity to experience the color red; while some colorblind people may not be so able, this, to me, does not then dispel the human universality of the experience of red as a colorjavra

    I hope this example can help. I think it is easy to establish the universality of red (to a fairly strong degree). Put the colors ROY G. BIV on a piece of paper and ask people to point to red, as you said absent colorblindness, we will approach 100% agreement. Now obviously if I have people choose from 50 colors ranging from light pink to dark maroon, then we will see it is not EXACTLY universal, but pretty close. Why do we believe people when they point at red, but not believe them when they say they like Transformers more than Hamlet? And if art appreciation involves more than "what people like", then we need to specifically define that and provide justification (and I admit you have been trying provide justification for why Shakespeare or other high art is generally better than the "lower" arts; but I have not seen the definition that brings your justification into context).

    If it is the case that we disagree on this rudimentary issue pertaining to the human mind, I’ll then respectfully bow out of this discussion - primarily because the discussion would enter a completely different ballpark.javra

    Haha, sorry. I can't even make it that easy. I think I partially agreed, but still had plenty of disagreement. I felt like I started saying new stuff, but by the end it probably is just the same tired argument I have been making (with maybe a new example or two).

    As I won't even agree to disagree, haha, you are likely right that we have gone as far as we can with this. I am happy to read and respond to more, but ENTIRELY understand a desire to bow out. Thanks for giving me a few specifics to think about.
  • javra
    827


    So, just got done typing away another long reply. But then I realized that it's all skirting around underlying issues regarding universals—rather than directly addressing the specific comparison you have in mind. Yea, despite my continued interest in the topic, I think we may have well gone as far as we can.

    So, I’m now replying, basically, to let you know that I’ve enjoyed talking to you.

    As I won't even agree to disagree, haha, you are likely right that we have gone as far as we can with this. I am happy to read and respond to more, but ENTIRELY understand a desire to bow out.ZhouBoTong

    Thanks for this. Cheers.
  • TheMadFool
    3.8k
    If art hasn't been defined I don't see how there can be any such thing as an art expert. If there are no experts on art then there is no objective standard. If there are no objective standards then anything goes.
  • ZhouBoTong
    445
    So, I’m now replying, basically, to let you know that I’ve enjoyed talking to you.javra

    Cool. Same for me. If I think of some mind blowing idea that will completely transform your view (haha, yeah right), I will let you know...feel free to do the same :smile:
  • ZhouBoTong
    445
    If art hasn't been defined I don't see how there can be any such thing as an art expert. If there are no experts on art then there is no objective standard. If there are no objective standards then anything goes.TheMadFool

    I have been using the dictionary definition of art (the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power), but I can't see how "experts" could be created based on that definition either. So I think we are in agreement. But I have thought I was in agreement with others who were actually being sarcastic or making a different point, so feel free to clarify if I have missed something.
  • I like sushi
    1.3k
    Why can’t you see how some people can be experts? That is like saying I don’t see how someone can be better at something than another person. That doesn’t make much sense.

    If you meant that art is more subjective that other activities, then I guess it is some cases. People may argue over who the best footballer is and some people’s views will be more more informed than others due to their understanding of the sport ... same goes for art. In football some people with no idea about the game will make judgements about who is a ‘better’ player and be completely wrong - because they don’t fully understand the game and take some particular technique or skill as indicative of being a ‘better’ football player.

    Do you really find it difficult to imagine that some have more expertise than others in regards to judging works of aft just as some judge the best football player? If so, how and why?
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k
    Why can’t you see how some people can be experts?I like sushi

    You can't be more or less an expert in a field where there aren't facts to get right or wrong. So one can't be more of an expert than another when it comes to values, better/worse, etc. qua values.

    One can be more of an expert than another when it comes to the meta aspects of value fields--ethics, aesthetics, for example, and one can be more of an expert than another in the factual considerations that we consider when valuing things, but none of those things are value themselves.

    With values themselves, there's nothing to get right or wrong, in terms of correctly or incorrectly matching facts. So it's not possible to be more or less an expert in that.
  • I like sushi
    1.3k
    Counter my argument then. Show me how possessing knowledge of an area makes no difference to the value of the judgements made.

    Show me that someone who’s never seen or played a game of football has as much expertise as someone who’s been playing professionally all their lives at the highest level and who has been successful in management too.
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k
    Show me how possessing knowledge of an area makes no difference to the value of the judgements made.I like sushi

    The value of the judgments made is subjective/it's something that each individual determines for him/herself based on highly variable criteria. So I wouldn't say that it makes no difference. It's that the difference it makes, if any, is potentially different for each individual.

    This is just the point I'm making. There are no value facts to get right or wrong. Hence why we can't be more or less of an expert on value.

    Show me that someone who’s never seen or played a game of football has as much expertise as someone who’s been playing professionally all their lives at the highest level and who has been successful in management too.I like sushi

    They have just as much expertise with respect to value judgments, since no expertise is possible for value judgments.

    Obviously the one person knows a lot more about the facts involved with playing football. It's just that those facts include no values.
  • I like sushi
    1.3k
    That sounds like a meaningless and disjointed argument. Are you suggesting that the value of football players to a club is completely arbitrary? I assume not.

    Your ability to choose better players for a team is an ability to understand the value of the players. I don’t see how you can dance around this fact and pretend it doesn’t exist?

    I am not suggesting value judgement id infallible, but I would argue against anyone claiming value is purely a subjective matter - that doesn’t make any sense to me.
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k
    That sounds like a meaningless and disjointed argument. Are you suggesting that the value of football players to a club is completely arbitrary?I like sushi

    No. I'm not saying it's arbitrary (presumably you mean that in the sense of "random.") I'm saying that the value of football players to a club is not an extramental fact. It's a matter of how much the individuals who are doing the valuing actually value someone, for the reasons they value them. They can't get that right or wrong, because there's nothing to get right or wrong. But that doesn't matter, of course. What they care about are what they value and why they value it as individuals.

    Your ability to choose better players for a team is an ability to understand the value of the players.I like sushi

    What it is in the first place to be a "better player" is for individuals to value certain things over others, and the "better thing" has more of the stuff an individual values. Different individuals value different things (as is very obvious if you talk to many people). It's not arbitrary, but there are no facts to get right or wrong re values qua values, either.

    People certainly choose players they feel are better, and some other people will agree with them, especially when it comes to something like players chosen for a team. That doesn't imply that there are any facts they're getting right or that they can be more or less experts on when it comes to values.

    I am not suggesting value judgement id infallible, but I would argue against anyone claiming value is purely a subjective matter - that doesn’t make any sense to me.I like sushi

    If value is objective in some way, show the evidence for it.
  • I like sushi
    1.3k
    Er ... ? I already have. Guess we’re talking cross purposes.
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k


    Evidence for it would have to be evidence of valuations occurring independently of any person, any person's judgment, proclamation, etc.
  • I like sushi
    1.3k
    Still no idea what your point is? Relativism?
  • ZhouBoTong
    445
    Why can’t you see how some people can be experts?I like sushi

    People can be experts at lots of things. What would it mean to be an art expert? When we use the word "expert" for me that suggests that their OPINION matters. If expert just means, knowing a bunch about a subject, then google is more of an "expert" than any human at ANY subject.

    So why does the opinion of very knowledgeable people in the field of art not count as expertise? Because of definitions:

    Art: the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

    Soccer: a game played by two teams of eleven players with a round ball that may not be touched with the hands or arms during play except by the goalkeepers. The object of the game is to score goals by kicking or heading the ball into the opponents' goal.

    These definitions suggest to me that art is far more subjective than soccer.

    Notice there is an "object" to the game of soccer. Therefor, it seems clear that a more knowledgeable person would be better at telling me how to win a soccer game. What is the object of art? Something along the lines of "to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power"? How is anyone going to tell me what I think is beautiful or emotionally moving?

    Take movie critics. They are worthless until I have read several reviews by any given critic. If they have significantly different tastes than I, then it doesn't help me in any way.

    So there can be informed people that offer up their opinions on art, and because they are interested in the same things as I, I might pay attention. But what makes them experts? Notice an expert in soccer makes a lot of money to help teams win games. Art experts teach at colleges (sounds like their expertise is not widely valued). Unless we want to count the Michael Bays and Quentin Tarantinos of the world as the experts, but most of the art "experts" I know of consider Bay's movies to be very "low brow".

    Did that help at all? Or is an art "expert" the still the same to you as an "expert" soccer coach? If you were trying to win a soccer game would you hire an expert? If you were trying to enjoy a movie, would you hire an expert?
  • I like sushi
    1.3k


    These definitions suggest to me that art is far more subjective than soccer.

    Of course. I was contrasting to make the point that art isn’t entirely a matter of subjectivity.

    Take a bunch of kids to a Michelin star restaurant and a McDonalds. I wouldn’t be surprised if they preferred the later. The same goes for Transformers movies, and even Bay himself admits he makes films for teenagers ... nothing wrong with that. The point is if compared to Sing in the Rain or Alien it falls seriously short in the opinions of anyone with broader tastes.

    People disagree over who the best football player of all time is, and many understand the difficulty of comparing eras as the sport has evolved - there is a general consensus though.

    In works of art there are distinct objective markers relating to proportion and universal geometry - all visually art necessarily plays off of this base.

    Very simply put would you ask a five year old to sit down and offer a review of Casablanca and Transformers or a person whose daily life involves watching movies and analysing filmography and studying the history of film? If you’re a five year old you’d listen to a five year old.

    One of the greatest directors to have ever lived is Akira Kurosawa. Even he will have his critics too because critics often have agendas and they wish to make a name for themselves. It makes sense to find a critic you mostly agree with and then watch films they recommend.

    But what makes them experts?

    Knowledge, and application of said knowledge. I am sure I could listen to a few piano recitals and find them all to be practically indistinguishable ... but what do I know? I don’t play the piano and I don’t spend vast amounts of time listening to piano concertos (live or recorded).
  • Brett
    768
    This conversation has largely circled around comparisons of Shakespeare’s play with film, and the film used as an example was ‘Transformers’. So it became about film versus the written word: which was the most successful, which was favoured the most. The argument based on popularity clearly falls on the side of film. The idea that students would prefer ‘Transformers’ over ‘Macbeth’ in the classroom, for whatever reason, is fairly obvious.
    Zhoubotong maintains that ‘Tranformers’ carries as much moral content as ‘Macbeth’, so why should ‘Macbeth’ be regarded as superior. He argues that it’s through the persistence of the elites that it still holds this position, even though its not viewed that way by most of the population.He’s probably right.It’s possible that without the elites Shakespeare may have become relatively unknown.
    And why shouldn’t ‘Transformers’ be used as an educational tool over Shakespeare, given that students, generally, will just shut down on Shakespeare, with the result that they come away with nothing but a dislike for Shakespeare?
    So Zhoubotong goes for film first as a learning tool over the written word, or at least regards it as an equal.(I’m think that’s his position).
    But, the idea of books and the written word have one quality film does not have, and that’s in the area of literacy. Whether a film is developed from an existing novel or from an original script there has to be a written work before the film:the script comes first.
    Writing, literacy, an understanding of grammar, etc. cannot be learned from watching a film, it comes about from both reading and writing.
    So while Shakespeare may no longer be considered of value, the written word itself still is.
    Something determines the superiority of one piece of writing over another. Something about the movie script convinces millions to be invested, something about it inspires the director and actors to take it on (and it’s not always money).
    From those written words all the ideas, images, symbols and meaning are converted into film.
    That script for ‘Transformers’ is the source from what the film became.(Let’s not forget that ‘Macbeth’ is the script for a play).
    There must be some quality in the writing behind all that.Call it art if you like, and also concede it reaches a certain standard, a particular quality that might be rare or distinguished in scriptwriting, which is what the writer was consciously working towards.
    I know a movie script is a tool, but looking at things in terms of the same form, writing, then ‘Macbeth’ contains a lot more than the script for ‘Transformers’, the poetry for a start.
    This is a bit if a ramble and I don’t want to make it too long.If I haven’t started to make my point then I probably don’t have one.
  • I like sushi
    1.3k
    Rubbish. Apparently I don’t need nuance as you seem to regard nuance as “elitist”

    He argues that it’s through the persistence of the elites that it still holds this position, even though its not viewed that way by most of the population.He’s probably right.It’s possible that without the elites Shakespeare may have become relatively unknown.
    And why shouldn’t ‘Transformers’ be used as an educational tool over Shakespeare, given that students, generally, will just shut down on Shakespeare, with the result that they come away with nothing but a dislike for Shakespeare?

    An argument from pure ignorance. Enough said ... no need for nuance from me or I’ll sound too snooty and/or be labeled snooty because I understand the difference between prose and soulless dialogue.
  • Brett
    768
    An argument from pure ignorance.I like sushi

    Do you mean my post or Zhoubotong’s?
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k


    The point is that in order to be an expert at x, it has to be possible to get claims about x right or wrong.

    So, for example, you can't be an expert on Elvis Presley if you don't know that he was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, if you don't know that he was in a film called Clambake, if you don't know that he did a duet with Kitty White on a song, "Crawfish," for another film, King Creole, and if you don't know that DJ Fontana was the drummer on over 450 Elvis recordings, including "Hound Dog", while Ron(nie) Tutt was often his drummer in Elvis' later years. It's not that knowing those things is sufficient to be an Elvis expert, but knowing them is required to be an Elvis expert. They're basic facts about Elvis that one can be correct or incorrect about.

    However, one can not be an expert on value judgments about Elvis. Saying that Elvis' version of "Hound Dog" artistically surpasses Big Mama Thornton's version, or saying that "Hound Dog" is a better song than "Old MacDonald" (which Elvis does a version of on the Double Trouble soundtrack), saying that the Beatles were superior artists to Elvis because they wrote their own music, saying that Elvis was a superior artist to the Shaggs despite the fact that the Shaggs wrote their own music, and so on, are not things that one can get correct or incorrect. There's no option for expertise on such matters, because there are no facts to know or be ignorant of when it comes to making value judgments. Knowing that Elvis didn't write his own music (aside from handful of "courtesy" songwriting credits) while the Beatles did is subject to expertise--you can get that correct or incorrect, but claiming that it's artistically better to write one's own material is not subject to expertise, because there is no fact in that regard to get right or wrong.
  • I like sushi
    1.3k
    That is simply wrong. You’ve not explained anything regarding an understanding of musical composition, a trained ear, a broad appreciation and exposure to various music forms, let alone the tone and timbre of someone’s voice (which can be in and out of key).

    The simple fact is some people are better equipped than others to judge music; in this sense they have more EXPERTISE.

    I guess if you believe there are no experts anywhere then you may have a position (sorry, non-position!) cease the absurdity please.
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k


    First, if you read what I just wrote, I obviously believe there can be experts in general.

    It's just that you can't be an expert on value judgments, because there's nothing to be correct or incorrect about.

    You bring up "singing in key" for example (which as an expert on music theory/composition myself--it's one of two fields I have degrees in and it's the field in which I earn a living--I can tell you is a different idea than intonation, or being "on pitch"). An expert understands what is meant by "in key" or "in tune"/"on pitch" (even though there's plenty of ambiguity in those notions; we still can describe what is conventionally referred to by those terms), and we can hear when something is "in key" or "in tune"/"on pitch", but what no one can be an expert on is whether it's better to sing "in key" or "in tune"/"on pitch" or not. That's because there's no fact (re what's better) to be correct or incorrect about in that regard. You can get correct or not that "Most people prefer singing that's 'in key' or 'in tune'/'on pitch'," but you can't get correct that it's better to do what most people prefer, because there's no fact in that regard.

    The same thing goes for composition in general re keys, chords, progressions, melodies, counterpoint, large-scale structures (say a 12-bar blues versus sonata form or whatever), and so on. You can be an expert when it comes to identifying such things, identifying relationships between them, and so on, but you can't be an expert when it comes to claims that any content is better than any other content.
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