An Argument Against “Good”

It’s not an argument against our ability to know what we like, to know what we individually consider to be good.  It’s an argument against the arrogant supposition that good is an absolute, that there is a universal standard that, if met, makes once thing “art” and another thing “crap, that what you call good is what the rest of us should call good, and that good music is called such based only upon what is heard and the skill needed to create it. 

When we judge music, whether we’re a professional critic or a mother in a mini-van listening to the radio, we’re not judging it good or bad based only on what we hear.  No, the label “good music” and, with it, the entire notion of “art”, is subjective and easily contaminated by what we see, smell, feel and think.  Good isn’t just in the ear of the beholder.

Don’t believe me?  Well, if you think you can spot great art, superior music, master musicianship because, hey, you know what good is – if that’s you, then you must read a recent news story in the Washington Post. It lays the smackdown on your self.

The Washington Post put Joshua Bell, a world renowned violinist (And a look-alike for Blossom’s older brother), in a DC Metro station to play for change as morning commuters passed by.  Would anyone stop to listen to a man so obviously “good?” There’s even video.  The best proof I’ve seen so far that “good” and “art” are concepts too subjective to even approach being absolutes.