Val finds his fun at satirizing the flaws of the political, religious, cultural, and medico-pharmaceutical paradigms.
Good taste doesn't exist. It's our taste. We have to be proud of it.
-- Franco Moschino
Anything Goes As Long As Experts Approve of It
My dominating right-brain hemisphere loves metaphors. So whenever I hear this phrase "developing the taste" for something, or its equivalent "learning to like it", this following picture comes to mind.
Namely, I see a couple of lovers in bed and both getting inspired from some book called "Love Making Manual" -- so that they would know what to do in a proper way.
However, that's exactly what's going on in this culture market of ours, as we are being educated how to refine our tastes. Those tastes which are simply good as they already are and clearly telling us the difference between a crap and a non-crap.
From poetry, to music, to art, to politics, to religion, to broccoli and the rest of stuff where our tastes are not good enough -- we get stampeded by an army of smart asses telling us what is the right way of seeing things.
Those experts have their crazy lingo, a terminology which can convincingly explain how something that looks like a Halloween costume passes for an insanely expensive "last scream of the wardrobe fashion".
And then somebody with a "refined taste" goes ahead and buys it.
That's how snobbism was born, with people sacrificing their natural taste going for someone's "educated, cultivated" taste. And that's how heavy metal, rap, and that hysterical screaming in notes became music; and cubism (scrambled pictures) became art, and rhymeless pieces of prose became poetry.
Stopping for a moment at poetry, that licentia poetica (poetic freedom) stretches to an extent of "anything goes" -- according to so many allegedly available types of poetry. You want to be a poet? Just write anything a little emotional and form it into stanzas, and voila! -- call yourself a poet, you got my blessing.
Maybe the theory of poetry will even let you write something like a weather forecast -- as long as you mention how you "feel" about it, and yes -- as long as you put it into some stanzas.
I love some piano and violin classical pieces by Chopin, Beethoven, Massenet, Albinoni, Mozart...but that doesn't mean I "have a taste for classical music". For, as far as I care, those long symphonies wouldn't have to exist at all.
Indeed, to me they are like creations of some drunk composers randomly clamping some notes together, with the grand orchestra just making obvious their having a problem with alcohol.
Then, there are those who studied music, and "cultivated their taste" according to the consensus about some parameters of musical finesses.
That's what expertise is bound to do to you -- tell you that your own taste doesn't count.
The kind of people who always go on about whether a thing is in good taste invariably have very bad taste.
-- Joe Orton
Not Necessarily Respecting a Taste, but Someone's Right to Have One
Well, I am writing my own stuff, call it articles, call it rhymes, and I never play an expert at anything -- it's all my own view. During some decades of a modest studious efforts, I even junked my own convictions as soon as something more convincing grabbed my attention.
And how I feel about those experts may also be evident by the fact that I hardly ever mention any biggies in the fields of my interests -- as if to make my writing more convincing.
Theory is full of crap trying to depersonalize our right to apply our own taste, whether intellectual, artistic, or dealing with the universal intelligence. So, if you happen to like those romantic paperback novels, I won't call your taste wrong -- just not mine. But nor will I "respect" your taste, I will respect your right to have one.
Respect is not a universal umbrella protecting us from others' tastes. Politeness doesn't mean respect for your taste, it's others' acknowledgment about your right to have one.
I read a lots of crap passing for poetry on this website. And it's equally so that some others are seeing a lots of crap in what I am writing -- according to their own taste.
And it's okay like this. Why be phony.
There is no expert among us to speak "objectively" about our poetic creations. Besides, as the old Latin proverb goes: "De gustibus non disputabant est" (Tastes are not to be discussed). Here and there we read some stuff about the "theory of poetry", but it's all some crap by those who think there is something to "know" about it.
It's one of my fun things to open the proverbial can of worms and expose all illusions that somehow pass under the radar of an honest self assessment. So, in effect I am saying: man, you are not a poet just because a bunch of other non-poets call you one. And nor are you a poet just because you are calling yourself one.
Poets are those world renowned ones, those mentioned in schoolbooks, those seen on the TV talk shows. But, every time I open that can of worms exposing that truth, they manage to convert it into my imaginary opening a clam and exposing a beautiful pearl.
Well, self-honesty is always a whisper when ambition speaks up.
But hey, we are all entitled to having dreams of our own choice.
Sometimes it's more important to be human than to have a good taste.
-- Bertolt Brecht
Tastes in Expertise
Talking about expertise and tastes -- we could easily stretch the theme into fields like medicine, where that "second opinion" is a well known phrase. Two equally educated physicians having their own taste of assessing someone's health issues.
And when it comes to shrinkology (sorry, I meant psychiatry), as long as there are those uppers and downers in the shrinks toolbox with drugs, his diagnosis is just as good as bartender's savvy guess.
Depressed? Here, take some uppers. Anxious? Here, take some downers, and take either of them with a good dose of trust, for the good placebo effect.
Don't know what the hell is bothering you? Fire your mother-in-law's expertise from your household. That may also take care of your chronic constipation.
Now, see you in two weeks, and on your way out don't forget to leave hundred bucks with my receptionist.
Then, political tastes are just as prominent, with no one "knowing" a shit about what's really going on. So here I read this title: "Both the US and Russia profiting from the Ukraine war".
Sounds impossible? How do we know? Maybe all along Joe and Vladimir are having some friendly chats over that hot line, discussing how to best please those bankers running the show on this planet to get some of that promised gold.
Well, don't forget -- this is my own taste of looking at politics, you keep your own.
It is my uneducated guess, that the real political truth is all tightly kept classified, and we only "know" whatever the media is told to tell us -- while they don't know it either. I think that the big money elite is calling shots in all aspects of politics, legislature, elections, and so on.
Our being informed boils down to having a political taste to cherry-pick whatever sounds true enough to us.
Our different tastes give us opportunities to disagree on the grounds of our own "expertise".
And that's what keeps the world turning. They say it's love -- but look, where would be love without a taste.
Have you ever seen -- or better yet -- how many times have you seen a totally mismatched couple? Maybe that's whence that saying "love is blind". It took taste, blind as may be, to put those two people together.
So who are we to tell them how silly they look together. But no, there is a whole bunch of self-appointed experts to teach people who are the best potential life-mates for them. Just read the horoscope, and after that you don't even need your taste anymore -- those experts will direct you to your proper Zodiac sign to marry.
So here I've come to the end of my story with badmouthing experts and giving some credit to our tastes.
As usual, I am not asking you to take any of it seriously -- simply because I am not an expert in this matter. You choose for yourself how much you want your taste to blend with the existing consensus about anything at all -- and how much you want to keep it intact and your own.
© 2022 Val Karas