good taste is often in bad taste
May 25, 2013, 8:47 pm
Filed under: the sweet life | Tags: , ,

house-good-taste-contemporaryThis is Granta editor John Freeman offering a clear and challenging definition of taste.  I studied literature and design, both of which are disciplines heavily invested in taste as an idea and also no doubt as a commodity.  I came to see taste as the safe, prescribed, status quo solution.

Freeman thinks otherwise.  In his definition he says taste is loyal and unfaithful: so, contradictory and unpredictable.  It is not safe nor prescribed but an anti establishment stance.  He says:

Could my job have been done by a computer? I suspect someone at Google or Amazon would say yes – why don’t all creative writing students upload their files to a server and let a program look at their language and score its uniqueness? The reason we care about taste, however, is because it is a human trait. Good taste is erratic, irrational, passionate, wrong-headed, determined, loyal, unfaithful, grumpy and pleased with itself. Good taste is often in bad taste. It is foul-mouthed, marginal, irreverent, unpatriotic, and deeply inappropriate. You know it when you see it.

Then and now: Granta’s best young British novelists, John Freeman, The Guardian

Read the linked article Then and Now at the Guardian on four decades of British novelists.

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