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Aesthetic VS Context

Photo by flickr user, TheoJunior

Photo by flickr user, TheoJunior

You’re eating a dish for the first time.  It’s one of the best meals you’ve ever had.  In between each bite that you’re shoveling into your mouth, you praise the cook over and over.  ”Please stop.  You’re flattering me.  Also, chew with your mouth closed,” the cook says.  Anyway, you start to pace yourself and actually eat a little like a civilized person.  You start to inquire about what ingredients make up this fraction of heaven.  “Mushrooms?!” you exclaim, “I have never liked mushrooms.  I don’t want this anymore.  I don’t like it.” You wipe your mouth, and excuse yourself from the table.

What’s wrong with this scenario?  Well, it may be hyperbolized a bit, but we do this a lot with music, movies, literature, and other works of art.
I thought the movie was great until that one part at the end when this happened.  That doesn’t really jive with me.  I don’t agree with stuff like that.  So, yeah, the movie totally sucked.

OR

Ew.  Most of the people that like that are:

  • Pretentious
  • Hicks
  • Thugs
  • Emo
  • Boneheads
  • Geeks
  • Douchey

Therefore, I do not like it.  Yeah, we don’t ever say that, do we?  We might think it, though.  What appeals to our taste may not be solely up to the form, style, structure, and sensation of the work in general, but may have to go down a checklist of expectations, assumptions, and prejudices as part of our demands.  Is it right?  I don’t know.  All I’m suggesting is that, perhaps, being this way causes us to miss out on a lot.  We’re probably not as open-minded as we think we are.

I want to explore this discussion further.

Can you think of any examples?

Maybe you or someone you know has disliked something not on form or style, but based on context?

Principle, faith, ideals, past experiences, types of people involved, culture, the popularity of the subject, the ridicule they’d receive if they admitted to liking it, etc.



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5 Comments

  1. Cat Schwamm
    Posted Monday, April 27, 2009 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Well, I have qualms about all the people who say they hate chick flicks right off the bat. There are plenty of quality movies that probably fall into that category, and people shouldn't just rule them right out. Casablanca is a classic, but that's a chick flick. Same for The African Queen and How to Marry a Millionaire; those movies are INCREDIBLY HILARIOUS but many people won't watch them because of the branding. Even people who say they listen to “everything but country” (which used to be me), that's unfair categorizing of a whole genre. Granted, I still don't like any country songs, but I am open to the fact that music is amazing, therefore try lots of it.

    I know several guys who like movies like Love Actually, The Holiday, and How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, but they'd never admit it. I understand not wanting to look like a sissy, but I think a guy who can say that he likes a chick flick, then get ridiculed, then say “piss off, it's a good movie” is a dreamboat. Mmmm…

  2. bradleyjond
    Posted Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    I think this starts in when we are children. Even as children, people have different degrees of openness to things. Not wanting to try different foods or participate in certain activities are examples of this. As we grow older we collect life experiences that affect our assumptions. I think the more assumptions we collect, the less likely we are to experience.

  3. Posted Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    Chick flick is a weird term for a genre too. In a way, it's used negatively to dismiss a film as being too cheesy to be good. If a “chick flick” is good, people refer to it as some other “acceptable genre” (drama or comedy), or they'll say, “Yeah. It was a chick flick, but it was good. You know, for a chick flick.” Is that the equivalent of a male coworker giving you an open-palmed pat on the bottom and saying, “You know, you're pretty smart…for a girl.”?

  4. linderust
    Posted Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    I remember sitting eagerly in my butter-soaked movie theater seat, legs awkwardly pressed together to keep my popcorn-filled napkin from falling off my lap, listening to Johnny Depp sing his introductory lines in the beginning scene of Sweeney Todd. A few minutes pass by before I turn to my left for a sip of my 5 dollar Sprite, and observe in amazement as a line forms to exit the theater. That’s right, exit, not enter. I couldn’t believe it! These people obviously enjoy movies otherwise they wouldn’t be here, they probably enjoy dark, clever and twisted plots and imagery, and I’m sure they like Johnny Depp as an actor, so just because this is a musical they’re going to give up on it and immediately disregard in it's entirety?! I seriously watched at least a third of that audience walked out within the first 15 minutes of the movie. One of those people probably went to Olive Garden afterward and ordered a delicious pasta, only to find out after consuming almost all of it and congratulating the chef, that there were mushrooms in the sauce and he did not like mushrooms and left unsatisfied.

  5. linderust
    Posted Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    I remember sitting eagerly in my butter-soaked movie theater seat, legs awkwardly pressed together to keep my popcorn-filled napkin from falling off my lap, listening to Johnny Depp sing his introductory lines in the beginning scene of Sweeney Todd. A few minutes pass by before I turn to my left for a sip of my 5 dollar Sprite, and observe in amazement as a line forms to exit the theater. That’s right, exit, not enter. I couldn’t believe it! These people obviously enjoy movies otherwise they wouldn’t be here, they probably enjoy dark, clever and twisted plots and imagery, and I’m sure they like Johnny Depp as an actor, so just because this is a musical they’re going to give up on it and immediately disregard in it's entirety?! I seriously watched at least a third of that audience walked out within the first 15 minutes of the movie. One of those people probably went to Olive Garden afterward and ordered a delicious pasta, only to find out after consuming almost all of it and congratulating the chef, that there were mushrooms in the sauce and he did not like mushrooms and left unsatisfied.

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