People may have their own unique perspectives on what aspects of culture are good and what aspects are, to put it delicately: crap. There are plenty of culturally
People may have their own unique perspectives on what aspects of culture are good and what aspects are, to put it delicately: crap. There are plenty of culturally agreed-upon qualities that can make things like art, film, tv, music, architecture, fashion or entertainment aesthetically ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Being able to correctly identify the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ remains one of the most important underlying skills in navigating the vast terrain of cultural products. Despite postmodernism’s valiant attempts to deconstruct historical notions of good taste, at best we have only seen different standards emerge about what constitutes good cultural products. In the 21st century, ‘ironic enjoyment’ opens space for people to consume ‘bad’ cultural products while keeping their self-concepts or reputation for good taste intact. There may be reversals compared to earlier notions of good taste – transgression or irony may be valued; slick production or emotional sincerity may be devalued – but as filmmaker John Waters put it, “To understand bad taste one must have very good taste.”
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