Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Elitism or just poor taste?

I've started watching a movie suggested to me, and then I caught myself thinking, do we develop that smug arrogant look over other people, because we've genuinely have acquired a better understanding of our tastes and thus evolved ourselves through them or are we just faking it? I mean, hating blockbuster movies is okay in my book, they all seem to be the same to me, and practically they are, but certain friends of mine fail to see that. So does my taste and cinephile phase made me a better person or did it destroy a part of my everyday life and constructed my character as that of a to put it.. artistic douche? That one guy that prefers movies with a meaning or that are very artsy fartsy instead of watching Transformers 8.

I've come to notice the same behavior with several of my habits that involve art. Like music. Even though I feel like I've come to the point where I've embraced more of what was hidden to me, enjoying stuff I wouldn't have otherwise. Getting to experience more of a scene and space I thought never existed in the first place, and yet feeling dumb for missing it all this other time. But has that made me a better or a worse person? Or have my tastes narrowed when it comes to accessibility and popularity? Perhaps I'm hard to please now?

Are we being elitists or are is almost everyone with inferior tastes worth smiting?


  1. I started wondering this after catching myself being a little high and mighty doing writing stuff in college but after a bit I kinda started to see it more like food. Everyone likes a cheese burger, but not everyone has had really well cooked squid or whatever fancy gourmet dish you like. When people that have only had burgers and only really know burgers take a bite of sushi they think "this is a weird burger.. I don't like this burger at all. It doesn't have the salty savory I know as burger, what a bad burger." My point is when people only see one side of a medium, just one kind of storytelling, they aren't aware of that medium's potential. So when they see something so far from what they know in a medium it's a but much to expect them to be able to pinpoint much less acknowledge a work's qualities. Taste is a thing acquired only through exposure to many different things; works of quality, the farthest from it, and everything in-between with study and reflection help form a nuanced literacy of a medium. It's not their fault they've only had McD's when you've had a well made rare Kobe beef on pretzel bread with truffle fries (best 15 bucks I've spent on a burger). If they moved up the burger chains, getting better and better food each time, then started going to restaurants and ending up with fine dining; they'd be in a position to understand why you pass on a mcdouble or don't revel in its flavor, because you're remembering all the other things a burger can be and you've found what you prefer. Think of whenever happen upon another cinephile, you think of them as "film literate", an individual whose whose 'well read' in film. The excitement isn't (necessarily) from the fact that they like the same movies as you, it's that they've explored and investigated the medium to roughly the same level you have. Yes sometimes this does take the form of loving the same obscure bit of fiction you do, but the underlining cause is still there. When you love a medium and you realize and/or find it to be a thing that makes you think, you can't help but want to talk about it; not being able to communicate or have someone "get you" is frustrating. As long as you keep in mind that everyone enjoys and goes their own pace with mediums and don't hold any of that against them than I wouldn't say you're being elitist. You've simply experienced enough to know what you like, long as you don't let that control your opinion of others (too much) then you're fine. I mean if someone only knows Micheal Bay blockbuster and those tv constant-rerun action films... you're justified in thinking them for the most part film-illiterate, or taking whatever film they refer you too with a grain of salt. Just don't think it means they've never seen a good film or that whatever they enjoy isn't good. Any medium that's merged into the popular culture will inevitably by osmosis leave a level of sensibility on the 'reader'. They might not be able to pinpoint the technical or analytic bits on why a film worked or not, but they still experience the medium; and for the most part with quality, the proof is in the pudding. Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock, and Martian Scorsese are renown in film academia for the depth and brilliance in their work; but it's the average Jane and Joe that flocked to see their films and made them superstar Hollywood auteurs, not the academics. Personally I enjoy being "that guy" the one who either knows whatever film you're talking about or can refer you to a film you're going to be raving about next week. When people tell me about this awesome tunnel scene in Repo man, I chuckle tell them to check out Oldboy or either of the Raid films... and then after seeing Oldboy they come to tell me the film was super awkward because they saw it with a parent and it ruined their weekend.

  2. I think sushi tastes nice. And I am not terribly fond of cheeseburgers. As a result I think that Phastasmagoria is a game that has not aged well, but Legend of Kyrandia hand of Fate is. Each time I play it I smile and then have the desire to make a pixel-art-sy fangame of Ulysses 31.

  3. As you experience more movies, music, food, whatever else we consider art you are bound to also broaden you scope. As you witness different art in an ever growing scope you will also find more things you like and thus broaden your own scope. Soon you are no longer satisfied with the old narrow scope of things you once use to like; call it spoiled or call it elitism, call it whatever you like. The point is that you wish the same fate to you friend or generally everyone since you enjoy your new scope so much. However they don't see it, because you can only know what you miss when you've lost it. It might frustrate you that they don't see it and take enough with the scope they are in, it might even make you target the things in this scope: call it stupid, call it simple etc. But I guess the whole this is really that you feel bad for them that they don't enjoy as much as you do.

  4. To be honest, whatever the cause of it, I kind of wish I could turn this part of myself off. I'm starting to feel like Stan in that South Park episode where everything he sees starts looking like, eh...human excrement, and his friends all start hating his guts because he's no longer fun to do stuff with. Then, he starts hating his own guts because he can't enjoy anything anymore, and also because no one wants to be around him anymore because he's a smug, cynical jerk.

    I was watching the Lord of the Rings movies again for the first time in several years, and I actually found myself smirking at some of the dialogue. I also found myself thinking things like "I don't remember these movies being quite this corny" and "Wait a minute, why didn't they just fly the f---ing eagles to Mount Doom to begin with? They could have just done a quick flyby, tossed the ring into the crater, and been home before elevensies."

    Then, I'm like: wait a minute, am I actually smirking at the Lord of the Rings? What is wrong with me?!? It's the Lord of the frickin Rings, for crying out loud! That's like a Christian finding fault in the Bible; sure, there are large parts of it that don't make a whole lot of sense, even parts that are utterly self-contradictory, but your sense of piety is supposed to be enough to make you pretend you don't notice any of that.

    Short answer is, in general, Hollywood tends to be pretty full of, eh....human excrement. So are a lot of other areas of the entertainment industry I enjoy. Personally, I find myself beginning to miss the days when I was still bright-eyed and innocent enough not to realize it.


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