Can Art Be Objectively Bad? | Jack Saint

Can Art Be Objectively Bad? | Jack Saint

The first generation or so produced work of genuine merit. Monet, Renoir and Degas still maintained elements of disciplined design and execution, but with each new generation, standards declined until there were no standards. All that was left was personal expression. The great art historian Jacob Rosenberg wrote that quality and art is not merely a matter of personal opinion, but to a high degree, objectively traceable. There has been a debate slowly building over the last few years on sites like YouTube, and across social media. Now, this is not a new debate. In fact, it’s probably been around about as long as people have been talking about art. But it’s only now particularly that it’s gotten suddenly rapidly fired up again. It’s a debate which pertains mainly to the idea of how we look at and process media. Through human interest and the algorithmic gods, art and media criticism has quickly become one of the most popular forms of online entertainment. With the power of the Internet, we get more perspectives than ever, and much of the elitism about who gets to be an authority on these subjects has gone right out the window. [COMMENTATOR] “Face it: this game sucks, It’s boring and it’s stupid.” Yet with this comes a lot of questions that people don’t necessarily know the answer to. Case in point: How can I objectively judge a work of art? Or, more specifically: Can I judge art to be objectively good or bad? Now, this might seem like an obvious question with an obvious answer. But let’s consider it, for just a little bit. Before we further delve into this topic, here’s a bit of housekeeping. To help support the channel, Skillshare has generously offered to sponsor us for this video, which is pretty convenient as the services they offer are fairly relevant to what I’m discussing here today. Skillshare is an online learning tool with more than 25,000 available classes all run by industry professionals in the realms of art, writing, design, and more, specifically made to help introduce people to topics they might not otherwise be familiar with. Whether you’re trying to expand your knowledge for a career or just out of curiosity. On my own end, Emily Gold has a great class on how to get into the habit of creative writing, If you’re interested in stretching your own artistic muscles and seeing what you like to create. If you’d like to join more than 7 million Creators learning from Skillshare for less than ten bucks a month, check out the link below to sign up. The first 500 people to click it get a 2 month free trial to the service. Isn’t that wonderful? Ok, that’s out of the way. Let’s get back to it. First, let’s really go the extra mile with this one, and define our terms. Reminder that what we’re looking at here specifically is art criticism, and it’s with that in mind that I’m giving my definitions. Judge, when talking about art, generally means for a subject to observe, and then to form a conclusion around a given object. A person opens a video, looks at two portraits, and then judges which they prefer. Much like you’re doing now. Objectivity, specifically rooted in the object, would mean that we are dealing with facts, without consideration for things like individual perception or personal feelings. An example would be that if we focus on portrait A, we can say that objectively, it was painted in 1965. Comparisons can also be used objectively. If we look at portraits A and B together, we could say that portrait A uses a greater variety of color than portrait B. If, however, I pointed at A and said this portrait uses more color and is therefore more visually interesting, this would not be objective. Again, objectivity does not account for individual perception. Subjectivity, specifically rooted in these subjects, would mean that we are factoring in things like individual perception or personal feelings. This is generally where we agree our opinions fall. When I asked you earlier to judge which portrait you preferred, that was employing subjectivity. You are being guided now by personal preference. A crucial misunderstanding here Is that when you do this, you are throwing objectivity out the window. In fact most subjective viewpoints are made using objective aspects of the work. you may have preferred portrait A, because it used more color than portrait B, what we’ve agreed upon earlier, as an objective part of the work. If things have been feeling a bit slow so far, don’t worry. To get to the point where we can think about the fun stuff, the games and TV shows and movies, we’re gonna work our way up. So here’s two new pieces to look at, they’re a bit more exciting. (Music) See, look at that. (Music stops) One of them is even moving. Now what can we say objectively about these two images? Well, as I say, one’s moving and one’s still. Okay good. we’ve established genre. Beyond that, Hmm, it’s tricky. Can I say that object A is objectively a windmill? I’m not so sure. So to me it looks more like a flower. It makes more sense that a windmill would move in this way than a flower, but that’d still be an assumption made based on perspective. It’s simply a good justification for that perspective. It sounds like what we’re getting into is subjectivity I see a flower. You see a windmill. It’s our individual perception that’s decided this. You might be thinking: How do we resolve this? What if we asked the artist? Now, the role of the artist’s intent in how we look at art has probably been one of the most tense debates in art criticism for the last few hundred years. If you’re familiar with the death of the author, you know how this goes. If not, brief outline: The argument goes that, while it seems rational to fall back to the author to know objectively what a piece of art is or what it means, this ignores the practical realities of how art is ordinarily perceived. Art is, by its nature, Authored but not every symbol or graphic has its most popular meaning gained from that author. Many political symbols, most famously the Nazi swastika, are co-opted in such a way that they now represent something far beyond their initial interpretation. Whether the Tibetans or Taoists approve or not, if you tattoo a swastika on your face, It’s likely to be interpreted a certain way. Similarly, image B, known as the keep on truckin’ sign, when… (train rumbles) When Robert Crumb drew this piece, he wasn’t thinking it would come to be representative of the hippie subculture of the USA. And yet, that’s what happened. What was a simple goofy graphic, came to mean so much more in this time and place If Crumb told us, Nah, it’s just supposed to be a silly picture, that would otherwise invalidate any reinterpretation on the part of the viewer. That’s not really feasible, which is why generally nowadays the death of the author is kind of assumed. Not to say people still don’t argue it. In fact, many arts “objectivists” will still invoke the author when asking how we can objectively measure the quality of a piece. Taking the author’s intention as one point of measurement , and the execution as another. Though, this does ignore how our judgment of the execution could itself be biased, and that this essentially gives the author full permission to announce their work as objectively perfect. As long as they say it was meant to be exactly how you described it to be. But I can hear you thinking, well, when we’re arguing whether you can objectively judge art, we’re not just talking about like paintings and drawings and things like that. What about stuff with more clear structure, like a story? Let’s give it a go. (Music) So here’s a bit of bite-sized literary interpretation for you. To briefly read it out, Clive is afraid of rocks. A man tries to murder Clive. Clive hits him in the face with a rock. The man dies. Clive dies. Let’s observe this piece objectively. Well, objectively, it’s the story of a man called Clive who is apparently scared of rocks. But then when he’s threatened, kills the attacker with a rock. And then dies. Now, let’s objectively judge it. Well, for one thing, it’s narratively just a mess. They explain specifically that Clive is afraid of rocks, but then he suddenly overcomes that fear without explaining why, before or after. And then Clive, our main character, just dies and it’s like we get no resolution at all. So there you go. My objective judgment based on what’s objectively in the text. All right, so what you probably just realized there, is that when you really boil it down, I did not just give an objective judgement of the text. In fact, I actually Fabricated a set of factors that I personally cared about, put that onto the text, and then judged it based on those. I was the one who decided it mattered that they didn’t explicitly explain why Clive overcame his fear, and I was the one who decided it mattered that the main character here did not have, to me, an emotionally satisfying arc. This is a common issue for those in the objective school of arts criticism. Often, you will make what is not really anything like an objective criticism, but because you haven’t analyzed your biases, it feels like you’re just speaking logically. Often books like Campbell’s The Hero of A Thousand Faces or Vogel’s The Hero’s Journey get cited here, explaining the general character types and structure of most stories, and then from that, you can use that to measure the success of the text. The thing is, Campbell and Vogel are not here dictating what does or does not make a story. What they’re explaining, at best, is how popular stories are generally structured. Descriptive not prescriptive. But closely following a traditional narrative structure is not the same as telling an objectively good story. If it was, “generic” wouldn’t be often considered a negative thing. You may still believe that popular opinions or conforming to audience expectations are a solid source of objective measurement. But that isn’t objectivity, that’s just popular opinion. You are the one deciding that this is a positive quality. When you invoke traditional narrative structures, you’re not really arguing the text objectively failed because of that. You’re arguing that you think it failed to be the expectations of the average viewer or reader. Most people want a story about a hero who goes through change in a way that feels understandable, because they want to feel connected to them, and therefore emotionally invested. But just as with our original objective assessments, these are also composed of many different assumptions going into viewing the work. These assumptions make up a perspective. And so what we have are many, many different Subjective viewpoints. They may make a very strong argument for their subjective viewpoints, one based on objective facts, but that viewpoint is still ultimately Subjective. Now if I acknowledge, I’m only speaking subjectively, I can make many different arguments for why this story about Clive is phenomenal. When I thought about the idea of him being frightened by rocks, and then just thoughtlessly using one against an attacker, It kind of made me think of like an analogy someone in a gun control debate would use, like oh, yeah, everyone’s afraid of deadly force until they’re the one in trouble, and all bets are off. Or, you know someone might use that for a nuclear weapons analogy too, it could be a classic saying: “Everyone’s scared of rocks until it’s time to hit someone with a rock.” I don’t know if it’s a particularly strong argument, that’s something we need to discuss, but it’s a reading I can draw out of it. Clive dies. Well objectively I can only read what’s on the page: he died. But what if we took that as a metaphor for the old Clive dying like a spiritual rebirth? That’s a component of the Hero’s Journey, even. So if traditional structure is something you care about, with this interpretation, we actually just made the story a lot more coherent for you. But, maybe I’m just doing the writer’s work for them. Trying to patch the holes they left in their story. Maybe it should have been, “Clive dies, but only metaphorically.” There. Isn’t that just a… objectively better piece of writing? You are tearing me apart Lisa! Sorry about that, I realized that I’d only been talking about like, paintings and made-up stories you probably don’t care about, so here’s something I’m sure you’re deeply invested in. The Room, for those not aware, is a 2003 film that tells the story of Johnny: a hard-working banker living the time of his life until he discovers his fiance and best friend have been secretly seeing each other, behind his back. With dialogue that feels like it was written by an alien, puzzling editing choices were seemingly no rhyme or reason, and performances like these: It’s not true. It’s bullshit. I did not hit her. I did naaaht. Oh hi Mark. It’s widely considered the worst movie of all time. Or at least up there. This, in spite of the fact that it also has maybe the most dedicated Cinematic fan base outside of Star Wars. In fact possibly more than any other film, with The Room, you will hear the statement, “I personally love it, but it’s an objectively bad film.” So, with all we’ve talked about so far You’re ready for me to give you the hot take that The Room is not an objectively bad film. Yeah. Yeah, that’s what I’m telling you. This is usually the most uncomfortable point anyone who still holds on to the idea of objective criticism comes to. What if we get a film that’s really clearly not well made, but now we can only say it’s bad in our opinion? A variation of this is putting the Mona Lisa next to a doodle by a five-year-old. If one of these is not objectively better than the other, if The Room is not objectively bad, what’s even the point of trying to make quality films? Why should I care about having consistent characters or coherent editing? Good anatomy or sense of perspective? I can just throw it all together. And if you have a problem with it, well, That’s just your opinion. There can be no more arguments about arts because we’re all just a load of Subjective blobs bumping up against each other. Now. You may be more of a concrete thinker, you may be more of an abstract thinker, and it’s understandable that if you do like to have this more clear, measurable structure by which to judge media, the idea of there not being an objectively correct answer about how art succeeds or fails, its meaning or its execution, that can be frustrating for a lot of people. “…hear my opinion, which is why I am not expressing an opinion, I am stating a FACT.” That’s part of why we have review aggregate sites like Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes, and why YouTube is a space filled with people working out the deep underlying symbolism of a text for you. You ever heard someone tell you, ‘you like the film, that’s nice, but it’s objectively bad.” And then cite review scores? Ever had someone say ‘oh if you want to find out what this film is ACTUALLY about, watch this YouTube Theory video and find out.’ My point here is that I get why it can be so comforting to feel like you have some reference or some figure that you can point to and say “Here’s the objectively correct answer,” to this piece of media. It’s like self-help. We want the illusion that there is a single objective right answer, but it’s just that: an illusion. In the case of The Room, if we discard authorial intent, it’s to the audience to decide what the film really is. Is it a drama that failed tremendously or a comedy that succeeded in unprecedented ways? These filmmaking qualities, the acting, the writing, the editing, even contribute to or contradict a standard you individually must set. And, well, if we adhere to authorial intent, I guess that question gets a lot easier. Because writer director Tommy Wiseau has stated repeatedly, that the film was always intended as an absurdist black comedy, and if we wanted to measure out how well it succeeded in that goal, well… “You’re just a chicken cheep cheep cheep!” On all sides of the argument, there have been those putting forward the idea that you are, one way or another, consuming media wrong. Either those who find there to be no value in evaluating purely objective elements of a text, or those who ultimately think it’s the only thing that matters. I think if you want to analyze a piece of media and pick out all the logical inconsistencies, if that’s what’s important to you, that’s perfectly valid. I think if you just want to categorically summarize as many objective aspects of a text as you can, just so we’re on the same page discussing it, that is also extremely valid. If not for people like that, we wouldn’t have Wikipedia. But today I want to dispel the notion that when we’re talking about objectivity and subjectivity in the case of art criticism, one is the correct answer, and one is simply feelings. The Room may have objective elements that can be pointed out: a technique, or lack thereof. Something we can identify and evaluate as fairly non-standard cinema. And we can look at those things. But to from there, judge the text as a whole, we come from a perspective affected by culture, geography, our personal experiences. Outsider Art is an entire movement based around perspectives separate from specific mainstream ideas. And even conforming to that mainstream, a good performance in one region may be over acting in another. The portrayal of a marginalized group may be effective to the majority of people, but not to those within the actual marginalized group. And we can’t just ignore all of that, as exceptions that make the rule. To enforce the notion of objective measurement of good or bad material, is at best, further limiting the potential of art to accommodate for a variety of tastes by discouraging all but one direction. At worst, It’s a form of cultural imperialism, demanding a wide variety of groups coming from any number of backgrounds to all follow the same metrics of quality. Quality, as it stands, that largely seems to be defined by men with pleasant voices, telling us what does or doesn’t matter. There can be standards, but at the end of the day, they are your standards. Whether shaped by the tastes of the people around you, or sometimes totally contradicting them. You know, I chose to use my headset for this video because I couldn’t get my lavalier mic thing to stop sounding like this: “fine art” and that’s not me saying clear audio is objectively better than a clean visual where I’m not wearing this big clunky thing. That’s just me working on what I think myself and my audience would prefer. What matters is up to you. This is not about eliminating discussion. There could be endless talk about why material affected you a certain way, why you found a technique effective or ineffective. To argue when you disagree about how to tell a story. To say there is right and wrong in art and it’s only a matter of finding out what right is, now and for all time, That is the end of discussion. We may be able to measure objective aspects of a text, the number of chapters, the number of colors, the number of different shots. But so far nobody has figured out how to measure the inherent quality of those objective aspects. And that’s a good thing. Representing a freedom to create art without the belief that deviating from a norm inherently reduces the quality of your work. Not to insist there is no meaning, but so that no one can insist that meaning for you. So no. There’s no such thing as objectively bad art. At least, that’s my perspective. “Thank you very much.” Hey there folks, hope you all got something out of that video. As I admit, I’m only one person, and the purpose of this video is only to give an argument for my own perspective. Whether you agree or disagree, I’d love to see comments on this topic down below. Once again, I’d like to thank Skillshare for helping make this episode possible. I really do recommend checking them out using the link down below. If you like my work, You can also consider chipping in over on my Patreon or Coffee for one-time donations. This channel is only made possible by the support of my viewers. Speaking of which, today I’d like to thank Al Swigart, Alba, Alex Wennberg, Angharad Thomas, Anna Akrasia, Astral Vagabond, bira’yurr, BleepBarf, Cat Arthur, Cort, Cowrara, Dom, donoteat, Dyl, Ellie Green, Emily Amelia Nace, goodwithastain, Hank Underhill, Holymittens, Janet Hawver, jordan hoxsie, Kevin H., Kristen Roers, leporibae, Liz Castro, Matt Mansfield, matthew pollock, Mia Nakano, Michael Q Warnock, Miguel Medina, Nichtschwert, Niki Wells, Noah Devlin, Pavel A, Peter Coffin, Simrit S Johal, SleepySlug, Stephanie Bullard, Unnamed Muffin, Vidvisionify LPs, and Vrisha Jhiriress. I’m sorry to announce that with the number of people now on the Patreon train, It’s getting a bit too much to list everyone on these outro screens. So from this video forward, a listed name mention is only gonna be for the $15 patrons and up. Patrons like Cain Johnson, E.V. Roske, Jimmy Dinh and Le Tyr. Of course no matter how much you give, I can’t thank all of you enough for the sheer level of support You’ve provided my channel over the last few months. I hope I can continue to offer content you find genuinely interesting and thought-provoking. Other than that, thanks so much for watching. Have a great week. Love you all and stay safe.

100 Replies to “Can Art Be Objectively Bad? | Jack Saint”

  1. Thanks once again to Skillshare for sponsoring us on this one! OFFER CODE gets you two free months of the service, and signing up helps the channel!

    I hope you all enjoy this video, I know it's one of my dryer works but I really wanted something relatively straightforward out there to discuss what I think is a topic that's crucially misunderstood in a lot of conversations about media criticism. Whether you agree or disagree, I can't wait to see your thoughts. And of course, if you like the video please feel free to back us on Patreon or throw up a buck or two on Ko-Fi. Love you all, and stay safe.



  2. I thought your hood was just long hair for the longest portion of the video.

    Edit: O damn it IS long hair! Weird, only was able to finally know at the end when he shook his hair.

  3. I've never understood the "If there is no objective basis for art quality, art quality is meaningless" argument. Then again, I never understood how a lack of objective moral standards would make every action acceptable, and a lot of people seem to believe that's true.
    The way I see it, even if something only exists in your head, it still exists. Our world is built on governments and currencies with no objective power or value, which nevertheless have immense power and value. Why should art or morality be rendered powerless just because they are subjective? Are they not also the same kind of social construct?

  4. A great video and the gateway to all sorts of interesting analysis, such as the implications of capital in the conversation of 'Good' and 'Bad' art or maybe even "Can Art Be Objectively Art?" as an extreme stretch.

  5. lol i observe death of the author on a case-by-case basis… if the story is ongoing and i want additional information from the creators to enhance my experience, then i accept new information from the creator(s). if the creator is jk rowling and she's an annoying liberal centrist then like… i don't care about what she wants to add to harry potter. basically if the creator is an asshole but i like the work then i accept the work as is, but if the creator is good people then i'll listen to their new info.

  6. Sharknado is a good movie! This is the hill I will die on (rather than a useful hill about something that matter). But seriously, it's obviously no Citizen Kane, but if you want a dumb action movie where a tornado gets filled with sharks, Sharknado is a really entertaining watch. And what's more, it's not trying to be anything more than a dumb action movie where a tornado gets filled with sharks, it's not as if it was put up for an Oscar or anything.

  7. I'd never considered the Mona Lisa argument before. I've analysed a lot of modernist/postmodern art and I've never considered that the main question, the question #0 postmodernism ask is "If everything is subjective then why do I even need to learn how to do it well?" and the answer is "I shouldn't". It's why a lot of it can just seem so like a jumbled mess and a lot of the texts now seem to have this extra meta message hidden within the words themselves

  8. That video at the intro was the first prager U video I ever watched. I remember thinking at the time what sort of university would hire that guy to speak for them. Man I had a lot to learn back them.

    And I'm glad prager U was there to teach me ; )

  9. if death of the author is assumed, then what the fuck is the point to be an artist? If you think your interpretation is so damn valid then YOU go make your own damn art. :l

  10. I believe that as long as an art piece gets people talking or elicits some kind of emotion from anyone, it has done its job. It does not matter how good or shitty art is as long as someone can gleam some meaning out of it and then explain why and how they feel that way.

  11. I think we can all agree that Sarah Z's video (one of the examples of criticism done in this video) on Lily Orchard is an objectively bad criticism because she purposely leaves out important information and context to suit her false narrative that Lily is just a deranged lunatic with a hatecrush on Rebecca Sugar. (Okay, Lily DOES hate Rebecca Sugar as a person, but that's because of all the Nazi apologism and not out of some personal vendetta)

  12. Great video. It's a topic that I've been thinking about a lot over the years.

    I care a lot about music, and it never ceases to baffle me how many people will insist that art is a subjective matter on one hand and insist on a division between "good taste" and "bad taste" on the other hand. It just doesn't make any sense to me.

  13. I truly think that art can only be subjective, and that all discussion about art can only be subjective. Objectivity relates to "objects". A thing that just is. Like a piece of lint in your pocket that you probably don't even know is there. Objectively… it exists. Any other value statement about it is going to be subjective. Value, by it's very nature, is subjective.
    But the oversight I think too many make is assuming that objective is superior to subjective. I think they are equal. Subjectivity is a quality I strongly associate with being sapient, having thoughts and feelings and ideas, etc. We can aspire to objectivity, but I think it's almost impossible unless you can completely lose your sense of self… which probably only occurs to some oddly specific sort of brain injury/trauma.
    And in fact, I believe that "good" or "bad" are intrinsically subjective terms. You may use some objective elements to support your conclusion, but the conclusion you reach IS SUBJECTIVE.
    What I think "critics" are trying to accomplish when attempting to be objective (and failing, of course, which only proves they are sapient creatures) is to appeal to a mass subjective approval. If you can say that something is objectively bad or good, then that must mean ALL people will agree with you. And while they many may agree, that is not objectivity, just mass agreement of subjectivity. The "objective" thing you are describing comes down to a personal value judgement. Perhaps they are afraid to honestly ask people to agree with them and instead want to somehow force agreement. There's nothing wrong with your value judgements being subjective, I think it's odd that we seem to have widely agreed that subjectivity is inherently bad when it's just the only way we can judge things, even when we start out focused on objective elements. And I think being okay with knowing that your perspective on something is just one of many and that people will disagree with you for equally valid/invalid reasons as your own is something you just have to come to as a human. You can waste energy trying to convince people that they have to share the same opinion as you… or you can get over yourself and put your time and energy to better things.

  14. i think there is such a thing as a bad film, if not bad art
    cause films have a very specific purpose – to entertain and to tell a story. if it completely fails to tell the story it set out to tell and it's not fun to watch, it's bad. but that's my opinion i guess. objectivity is hard.

  15. The Room is a drama movie. Tommy only said it was a comedy after it had become popular for how laughably bad it was. Tommy even mentioned that he was really upset by how people were laughing at his movie but then came around its fourth or fifth screening. This can be seen in The Disaster Movie, which is a reinactment made depicting how The Room was created. The only difference in The Disaster Movie is that Tommy came around after the very first screening, but this was obviously just changed to fit the flow of the movie. Anyway, my point is that I would not take Tommy’s word that it is a comedy and that The Room really is just a bad movie that is widely loved.

  16. I just want to thank the creator. I deal with anxiety nearly round-the-clock, and while I'm too lazy to meditate or do yoga, I'm always looking for interesting media that isn't too conducive for my anxiety (too harsh, fast, cynical, depressing, condescending or any number of other factors). I found basically everything about this video wonderful, and so calming that it washed away my anxiety for a while.

  17. All this nonsense about "objective" criticism is what happens when left-brain dominant people attempt to critique art.

  18. Alright, Jack Saint: I'm still waiting for your deep critique video on Alice Through the Looking Glass by Tim Burton & Disney, the live-action catasrophy. I watched your first Alice video: Mistakes Were Made & have been waiting for you to make a follow-up video ever since. Please prioritize this for sometime this year. If you do, I might subscribe.

  19. So, I believe there's a case to be made about harm and art with regards to 'bad' art, potentially in an objective-ish sense.
    Matt Dillahunty made a case a couple years back for a kind of objective morality – and I have to first acknowledge that this doesn't work if one Zeno's paradoxes reaching 'bad' from a neutral starting point, and it also doesn't work from the 'universe genie' perspective which artificially tries to push discussion of very human issues into only discussing non-human perspectives.
    So if we actually take humans as a consideration, which let's please do, then just as in morality this standard concerning harm could apply art, and we'd have a measure for 'objectively bad art'.

    (TW: presumed cruelty to animals –There was that dog made famous in the art world for the rumor of being starved, apparently the humane society of Nicaragua looked into it and reported that the dog had escaped- however, had it been true, there is an argument that could be made that it was objectively bad art. Likewise other 'art' made by the artist hurting people; it's obviously still a topic even with this that would have nuance, but I thought just in case you read this it's something to add to your thoughts.)

  20. Prager University’s video on art is nothing more than a glorified YouTube rant.

    Your video feels more like a college lecture.

    Something’s wrong here…

  21. This video is frustrating to me and it is hard to express why I think that. It feels like a pulling apart string cheese for the sake of pulling it apart. But it also feels like under this lens of thought it feels like it makes criticism, analysis, criticism of criticism, and the language of film less important or worthless. But the same thing could be said of saying there are objectively bad movies. I feel pure subjectivity and objectivity in being applied to film criticism discourages it. Pure objectivity discourages discussion because you can be wrong. But pure subjectivity makes nothing matter there would be no reason to discuss anything because well everyone is right and thinking on anything you think means nothing because your opinion is correct no matter what. At that point, it is just a bunch of people blowing hot air with no purpose.
    And I think as in all things that purely subscribing to the most extreme viewpoints of something is a bad idea, and does a disservice to the thing your viewing. Also, these viewpoints in their most extreme I feel can't truly exist because they are a purely theoretical framework that might be interesting to think about but isn't practical to apply in a real-world setting. I feel ultimately that there is some level of objectivity, but there is also a level of subjectivity. I don't know how much for either, but I do know that there is some equilibrium.

  22. Spoiler: Yes.
    Technique, skill,talent all play a big role in determining the quality of art.
    whether or not it is expressive or it makes you feel anything is irrelevant to the question "is it good?"
    Now for the question "do YOU like it?" yes, that is subjective.

  23. I'm seriously getting tired of this but, on the clive's story "clive dies" is not dissatisfying to YOU because it wasnt "emotionally satisfying" Fuck that noise.
    It doesn't even do anything you're just citing facts one after the other. This is not subjective. Stop this fucking crap already.

  24. Considering this is just another anecdote for Mauler, TLJ detractors and as another disguised way to shush anyone from saying Last Jedi is a bad movie, AT LEAST IN MY OPINION.

    I’m going to lay down the real issue at play here.

    Related to the Clive Rock example, the debate surrounding the quality of Last Jedi is ultimately a case where two people are arguing over pineapple pizza (TLJ) to which the one who keeps insisting the pizza has pineapple on it (TLJ fan) is actually putting the pineapples on the pizza themselves when the pizza is already cooked and ready to eat. While the one who keeps saying the pizza has no pineapple (TLJ detractor) knowing that the pizza was already cooked, ready to eat and had no pineapple beforehand.

    With your Clive story Jack, you very much did the writer’s work for them in applying your perceived head canon of what the text is saying and that is an issue. Given that you did this, you then proceed to say the story is phenomenal even though you added in the details yourself with no real concrete evidence that those details actually relate to the text.

    Given your general criteria is that the Clive story is terrible, I’ll proceed to fix the story. Before Clive proceeds to grab the rock to kill the man, there would be this line: “Clive saw no way out.” Then after Clive dies: “Clive woke up again.”

    Now, I don’t know exactly what type of story structure this is or what exactly it’s goals are but that was my attempt instead of your “subjectively” horrible: “But only metaphorically.”

    Similar to Force Awakens, Last Jedi ultimately asks the audience to turn their brain off but keep it on for a few minutes when important sentences are thrown about and then proceed to switch off the moment an inconsistency or illogical thing happens.

    Last Jedi was not a “subjectively” good film nit picked by others to make it seem like a “subjectively” bad film.

    Last Jedi was an “objectively” inconsistent film that generally confused audiences due to its “objectively” cluttered structure. The confused audiences then proceeded to try and make sense of the film by themselves with hardly any concrete ground to stand on.

    This caused a usual wave of misconception that’s not “objectively” true:

    “Last Jedi is a different kind of Star Wars film.”

    “Last Jedi is a risky Star Wars film.”

    “Luke evolved as a character from past stories.”

    “Rey evolved as a character.”

    “Holds was not inconsistent and she had reasons to not trust Poe or tell anyone about her plan.”

    These misconceptions are not objective, they are inferences, head canon inferences based on what they THINK is in the piece even though AT FACE VALUE, there is NOTHING there that “objectively” proves their inferences are correct.

    Well, okay a divided reaction is no big deal, everyone has their opinions and perspectives on films.

    It gets problematic when you have a grand collection of people like Patrick H Wilhelms who keep insisting on that Last Jedi is a misunderstood “objective” masterpiece and that anyone who disagrees is just “watching movies wrong” or is “just being a toxic fanboy troll.”

    This is stupid, there is no discussion being made here, it’s just constant petty whining of “Stop disliking a movie I like!”

    Videos like yours Jack, while I can appreciate the intent just only advocate that what is good is just an “illusion” and that criticism is just an annoying nuisance that shouldn’t be looked into too much when discussing art no matter how big the nuisance.

    I do think you can agree with this notion, FROM MY PERSPECTIVE Mauler and his audience just want people in the media industry to try harder, not be static with themselves to where it’s okay to be lazy, not ignore criticism, not live in an ego bubble, and not solely rely on subjective head canon inferences as a definitive mark of what is good and bad.

  25. i came to that realization about what he said about intention vs execution analyzing trash movies, evil dead is a trash movie, it is so bad it is good, and that was because the style was intentional, they were parodying horror movies, while at the same time creating many of the future obligatory features, the remake is bad , they tried to make a good movie, but weren't capable of it because hey removed what was unique in the original

  26. Clive was told as a young man that somehow a rock would be part of his death, and he developed a severe phobia. When the time came, his will to live (which fueled his phobia) compelled him to use the only weapon available to him against his attacker: a rock. He then died from either the attacker's wounds to him or a heart attack from touching a rock for the first time since being told his fortune.

  27. I think what made me start to think like this is all the overwrought anger over The Last Jedi. The way that they asserted it was objectively bad for clearly subjective reasons has been bothering me for some time now. And now I notice it in everything else lol

  28. What do you think about wham city comedy, you into that kinda stuff? I love this house has people in it.

  29. I would argue that it is unnecessary to judge art as “good” or “bad”. The artist is inspired to create art and thus does so, even if no other person ever lays eyes on it, it is still art. Casting judgement on whether it is good art or bad art serves no purpose in regards to the work itself. Only when art is commodified, when it becomes a product, is it required to have value. Just like any other product, it’s value is determined by it’s appeal to consumers. Thus, there is no good or bad art, only good or bad products.
    Whatever adjective you use to describe a work of art is wholly irrelevant to its purpose, of simply being an expression of the artist. How that expression is received is out of the artists control. It’s perceived value, significance, benefit to society, or lack thereof is entirely subjective. There can be no objective interpretation of a work of art, merely collective subjective perspective.

  30. The art only truly exists inside the viewers mind. And thus the role of critique and analysis is either to guide viewers with mindsets that might enjoy the art towards it, or to even alter the viewers mindset to experience the same physical art in an entirely new way – effectively writing to the art-experience just as much as the orginal author.

    Ultimately enjoying art is neither natural nor learned, it can not be done in a wrong or right way. Trying to build a more nuanced mindset is not about getting better at art; it's about gaining new experiences and hopefully seeing more things as enjoyable as you gain new perspectives. It's about being happier.

    Some people choose to instead hold on only to what they find dear, and only engage with new perspectives to strike them down, to reinforce their own ideals. Wait scrap that. I quess we all do that to some degree.

    And if not in art, then in other ideological aspects of our lives, truly comes a time when a stand – subjective or objective – must be taken. So it's natural that we can't all just gather different perspectives and hop between them in a manner that brings us the greatest happiness. Sometimes we have to start treating some ideas as true, and casting others out as false.

    We can't go see all the indie movies, thus some of them, the ones we never bother to even consider, are in a way "not good" in our actions. And from this, some of the movies we see will feel like a huge waste of time and resources. So while not objective, it's about as subjective as gravity – we take it as given and live our lives based on the idea, and considering alternative perspectives would be madness and render us unable to live.

    So in some sense subjective things are pretty damn objective when it comes to personal experiense, and some personal experienses are very widely agreed on. So is the distinction between objective and subjective even relevant in that context? Or would for example the amount of perspectives we entertain and the range of them be a better indicator

  31. Yes, I'd say it can.
    Art is a language, one that is articulated through craftsmanship. I might say, "The lighting in this film feels off," but a lighting expert will know exactly where the techniques failed. If there's no discernible justification for the choice, it's a poor articulation of the artist's vision.

    While it's possible the artist is ahead of his time and that his language and justifications are simply beyond us…I think we can reasonably assume Tommy Wiseau is a just a bad filmmaker.

  32. All objectivity is subjective if you look at it with pointless depth. It misses the point of the terms, and value of 'using words' to describe anything. But I totally agree with your assertion that quality has a relation to the context of the viewer, rather than being some sort of 'universal truth'; that is the crux of it.

    The real context of critics is 1: to inform an audience that holds the same standards as them, or 2: to inform the artist what they can improve on. (Or 3: making noises and getting paid …but I don't include that.) This is important, because this is part of what sets the goalposts of a criticism… without goalposts everything is subjective, but with goalposts anything can be objective (to the purpose of those goalposts).

    Consider Rotten Tomatoes general audience score of a movie or show… it tells us a general consensus on the audience's view of a movie's quality. Their individual perspectives are subjective, but that does not mean the data itself is also subjective – that depends on the context being looked at. 'Does it appeal to the audience it's intended for?' – definitely a very objective number for that topic. 'Does this number prove how one guy is wrong for liking a movie?' – No, that's using it subjectively. A proper criticism can not overlook the context it is making it's point inside of, or else those points lose meaning.

    Can art be objectively bad? As a blanket statement: absolutely not. As a hypothesis that assumes (or later explains) certain context: definitely.

  33. Art cannot be objectively bad, but it can be objectively unpopular. Or, in other words, it can be subjectively bad to a statistically significant sampling. Either way, it's not objective badness.

  34. So is being a critic, which relies on the principal that not all appreciations are equal, not a valid job? Cynical as I am, I have to disagree.

  35. I know that MauLer is not the subject of this video. But I want to point that objectivity has become a kind of shield. So if I disagree with (MauLer) opinion, he will say thtat his opinion is objective.

    I think that objectivity is important. Is important to make objective observations about art to make an opinion, but the opinion is always subjective. Is important to avoid the biases or, at least, aknowledge them.

    But when I hear MauLer, I don't really buy his approach to objectivity. He focus only in the internal consistency of a movie, and sure, internal consistency is a important thing. But I prefer a history that explores a theme than a consistent movie that have zero impact.

    For example I love the movie "La Grande Belleza" from Paolo Sorrentino. I love the idea of a vaccum in life, is like the absurd of Albert Camus. I also love the Photography of Rome, is a very beautiful movie.

    [spoiler alert]
    At the end of the movie has a scene in which a nun shows the protagonist a terrace full of pink flamingos. If someone point that scene an said that is a plot hole because breaks the assumtion that the movie is set in the real world (because it suggest that the nun has magic poers), I really don't care.

  36. You know I'm happy to live in a situation where I can worry about if art can be objectively good. Like I could be guarding my cows because if the bandits steal them my family wont survive the winter

  37. I think your usage of that little flower/windmill thingee is brilliant. Since it is a two frame animation, there are certain nuances in perception to consider, such as: do you interpret it as "spinning" or "flipping"? In what direction is it moving?

  38. It would be awesome if you could caption your videos so that deaf and HOH people can access them. I love your content but craptions don't cover what you say!

  39. Couldn’t have said it better myself. When I became a big music fan, my earlier taste were to some degree obliterated. So I was left with this question of “what even is the standard now”. What this taught me was to hear a song with non standard techniques and ask myself “is this the song’s fault or does this say something about me”. It’s impossible to view art with complete objectivity or complete subjectivity and either way it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that had I not embraced critical analysis, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I wouldn’t love the things I now love. I’d have a much narrower taste. I’m sure there’s a lot of people like this. That’s what I’ve always liked about discussions of art

  40. I really like Clive's story
    He over came his fear of rocks in a time of need
    However, upon doing so, his fear of rocks was justified as it killed him
    Or perhaps the knife killed him

    Yep, subjective. As it is vague, it can't necessarily be held on the same level of a very specific story
    If it explained that he overcame his fear simply in panic, and died because of the properties of said rock which he feared, I believe that would actually degrade the piece
    However, that is subjective.
    I personally prefer to figure the meaning myself, rather than being told
    It's more of a poem than prose due to how vague it is, and I enjoy poems while others don't.

    I believe all films attempt to achieve a specific thing, which ever film has
    Is it possible to call a painting objectively bad if it lacks an image entirely?

    The Room, I presume, lacks components which every film has.
    The heros journey is not a list of these components, though, I'm not sure if this list.
    Perhaps there's a certain number of these components which a film needs in order to be "objectively good" which all bad films fail to meet.
    Certain people desire different components, and this is where the subjective tastes come in, making it difficult to claim a film is good or not.

    With Clive's story, others may desire the explanation component as to why things happen, however I do not desire it
    I desire more symbolism, and actually believe "hamfisting" explanations are detrimental.

    However I believe there are very common desired components, so common one could call it "objective" especially if everybody desires it.
    Does anybody actually prefer a child's drawing over the Mona Lisa? (Withdrawing an emotional investment, which most people do prefer emotional investments as well)
    I say it's a mix between objective and subjective, because of highly common desired components, and how (most people) have the desire for the emotional component, which only effects specific people.

  41. I'm sorry but you disregard to objectivity is highly questionable and falts. Relaying on subjectivity is utter Madness. You must love plato or Immanuel Kant then.

  42. Art is deeply rooted in philosophy which in itself is hard to define. Thus, there is no "true" right or wrong. Only what is the truth to the consumer.

  43. Has this guy still not actually watched a single MauLer video? It’s remarkable how much he misrepresents him every time.

  44. I really want to introduce everyone to the word "normative."

    There are norms and standards of media, just as there are norms and standards of sociable behavior. When you meet someone, you shake hands. When and important character dies, you play sad music. Norms.

    The discussion about objective vs subjective interpretations of art is a false dichotomy. While I agree that those trying to establish an objective science of media criticism are wrong, I also think that putting all critique in the realm of the subjective is wrong too, and can't really explain how media criticism works in practice. If all media criticism did was explain how an individual had the reaction they did, if it were entirely focused on the personal experiences and interpretations of that person, then it wouldn't be very interesting. On the contrary, it's by examining the text in the context of norms and standards that we make meaning out of it.

    To continue my earlier analogy, when you have a rule of etiquette that says you're supposed to wear black to a funeral, and someone comes in a blue sequin cami, you can be like "they're being disrespectful." Now, subjectively you may not be bothered by it, perhaps if you don't care about the person who died, but you can still talk about the act in context of the established norms. Similarly, you can talk about media in terms of how it conforms to or defies media norms. How you personally relate to those norms and how well you think the thing in question conforms to them, or doesn't, informs how you subjectively relate to them. It's a framework for making meaning out of the thing.

    Media criticism isn't principally an objective enterprise, nor is it a subjective one, though good criticism will include discussions of both. Criticism is normative. It talks about how the thing relates to norms, and argues about what meaning can be drawn from those sorts of facts. Including stuff like "the graphics are bad," and "the story is touching." This isn't strictly subjective in practice, which makes sense of how you can say things like "the graphics are good, but I hate the way it looks."

  45. Did I read too much into the Clive story? Did I consider it a metaphor for the passage of time and rebirth in relation to death, and a marvelous token of simple writing's ability to invoke personal introspection? Did I legitimately try to look up what poetry book I assumed it was taken from? Yes. Is that stupid? In my own subjective opinion, yes.

  46. Yeah, sure, review aggregator sites don't exist to help consumers decide if they're likely to enjoy a piece; no no no, it's all ideological about reassuring us that films have an objective good or bad. Sure.

  47. “What’s even the point of making quality films? Who cares about consistent characters or quality editing?”

    Hollywood and triple-A game industries: Heavy breathing

  48. I guess one way you can judge an art as objectively good or bad is by the effect it has on society. So for a example you could claim that "the protocols of the elders of zion" is objectively bad as it helped lay the path to the holocaust and that comic where superman beats up the KKK is objectively good because it left to less people joining the KKK and no doubt doing awful things.

    Issues with this is that it using a different definition of good and bad then what people expected. The other is the effects won't be known for years and likely very small and anything they lead to might have happened anyway.

    Also the 5 year old painting is objectively better in my subjective opinion because it has an alien in that thus pushes the boundaries of art more then another rehash of the old "rich person sitting" trope.

  49. I think maybe "universally bad" would be a more useful term? While art can't be objectively bad following the conclusion of this video, a lot of works are still pretty universally considered bad. It would give us the practicality of the term without misphrasing ourselves on the matter.

  50. Jack do you think that Brexiteer claims, fake news and Trump’s alternative facts represent the intrusion into politics of differance and antifoundationalism. Your argument about the essentially subjective nature of art is fairly similar to the Alt-Right’s rejection of facts and reality. I’m not labelling you as Alt-Right by the way, just observing this odd intersection of their ideas and postmodern ideas which they reject.

  51. People naturally feel an emotional and mental connection to art and tend to interpret the medium while extracting some personal meaning. And while all art can be intriguing we know that there are those who go into producing art with intent and some are just assembling shapes and colors with nothing to say in the least and focus entirely on the aesthetics. Art with intent holds a mystery to unravel and can be subjectively and objectively interpreted while art without intent can only be subjectively interpreted. In that, I think us humans, as pattern seekers tend to gravitate to art with intent and when none exist, we add intent when none is required. David Lynch is one of my favorite directors, but his movies with a dissectible intent are far more captivating than those where he kept in multiple cut scenes that had no relationship to the themes of the movie but he was feeling zen at the moment and thought the universe was delivering him a gift. Is there a difference between purely random and artistic intent? I believe so. If not, you could easily compile a series of random sentences, images and video clips then label it art. And eventually, someone may actually believe it.

  52. I personaly sort of translete phrase "objective critisism of art" as "subjective analysis based on facts about said piece of art and reasonable statemans conclude from them".

  53. 3:53 well the problem there is more than what you are saying by itself is not objective.

     what does visually interesting mean? ..are w say that by contrast the more colorful is more distracting because they color communicate more stuff to the viewers senses ? contrast completely against the image against the back ground you chose? .. there is objective visual communication going on here.

  54. The biggest flaw in art and media criticism, in my opinion, is the lack of differentiation between art as a craft and art as expression/statement. Art does show the artist's technique, which can be objectively judged in terms of current technical standards for that medium and genre. This is why criticism is a business, with professionals and amateurs alike. Critics must have knowledge of existing standards in order to make comprehensive judgements on a work. However, art is also an emotional experience. Artists are trained to elicit a response, and any given art piece may be deeply impactful despite technical flaws (it is important to note as well that people will always derive different emotions from a work and derive different preferences based on those emotions, which is where subjectivity comes in). There is a line between technical skill and, as it were, emotional skill, that is often left undistinguished by critics. It's why a film with poorly executed cuts and halting line deliveries can still be seen as "poignant" or "heartbreaking" and given a place in film canon, no matter how much that frustrates other filmmakers.

  55. Ooh, and let’s not forget the flipside:

    “I have some criticisms of that movie.”
    “But lots of people went to see it! That’s just your opinion! Are you saying your subjective opinion matters more than millions of people’s?!?!’

  56. Am I the only one who laughed my ass off at the chart at the beginning? Love that well-defined y-dimension of S T A N D A R D S. Reminds me of "the chart."

  57. I think that in respective mediums, there can be a wrong way to do it as every medium has some type of goal. Movies and comics work through visuals and music is through sound. You can lay out a case for why a particular piece of art in a particular medium fails at certain goals that art tries to achieve

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