Saturday, April 22, 2017

Popular versus Quality

I've known many people who have given voice to idea that Popularity equals Quality.  It is true that we all have individual tastes, and those tastes affect our ability to objective.  But that doesn't mean it is true that popular bands are the best, nor the fact that to like something means it must be great.

When a person expresses the fact that the quality of a creative item or event has nothing to do with quality it becomes a war cry to some who refuse to accept the opinion of others, even experts.   It could be true to suggest that while popularity is not a function of quality, the perceived charisma of a person influences how others perceive them.  I was watching the Olympics Figure Skating, and one of the skaters did average, but she was gorgeous.  She received about 25% more of the grading score than I think she deserved.  Another woman did better on the ice, but she was not a nice looking woman.  And she scored a great deal less well for doing a better routine than the previous skater. 

A commentator on the radio spoke about he had listened to all the singers for American Idol, since he is blind, found certain performers to be just ok, and others to be great.  But his views didn't match up with other commentators.  He couldn't be moved by the charisma of looks, therefore the popularity of beauty.  His picks for who would win were not bad, but he said if we all listened instead of looked, in adoration, we might have a great deal many more great artists, and fewer "stars".   Scientists of the human brain have said that humans are hard wired to think beauty equals being smarter, being a leader, being special.

Quality can be unpopular.  Popularity can still be without worth.

Objective quality has to have a standard, and certain arts are without a means to be properly judged. The reliance upon subjectivity is an obstacle to knowing quality beyond the popular.

Therefore the truth is, it takes a higher level of thought to find what is best.

Mickey Spillane:  "Those big-shot writers … could never dig the fact that there are more salted peanuts consumed than caviar."

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