Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Normative and Descriptive: Update

I don't put myself high above others. Now, by personal experience, I mean I'm a musician. By knowledge, I mean I'm a musician who knows how music works. I know quite a bit of music theory to tell you the simplicity of the song, but I wouldn't be able to put it in lament terms. Also, you can listen to her, but to act as if she's some kind of musical genius is idiotic. [She] isn't creative. [This song] is hardly even intelligent or charming.
That's a direct quote from a (judging from tone) very reasonable person writing about Lady Gaga.

But being reasonable and knowing the obvious--that tastes are subjective--doesn't stop this person from, at least appearing, to make statements about what music is objectively good. The progressive use of the terms "simplicity," "creative," "intelligent," and "charming" show a drift some adjectives that could reasonably have an objective meaning (if you put a song on paper in some encoding scheme, some would be easy to compress due to repetition etc. thus simple) to code words for good and bad (people are charming, songs aren't).

Maybe he or she did intend all those adjectives to be seen as objective descriptions. Maybe he likes Lady Gaga, but thinks she lacks charm, intelligence and creativity. But I wouldn't put money on it. Those things, like beauty, are largely in the eye of the beholder.

1 comment:

  1. Whoa...I'm getting some huge, HUUUGE, deja vu whilst reading this sucker. It makes me want to go watch No Country for Old Men so I can remind myself what good art is all about...what the JAAAAZZZ is all about!!!