Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What Makes It Good?

As artists, we ask ourselves a lot of questions when we create. Is it good, will anyone else like it, is it worthy?

And the frustrating thing is everyone has a different answer. You may like one thing that I think is a piece of crap.

And while we've all had the 'beauty in the eye of the beholder' conversation, I think there's something in acknowledging that something can be good even if we do not feel it is.

This is a convoluted kind of blog post so bear with me.

For instance there are quite a few people who would agree with me that Twilight is not good. Some will site their reasoning that the writing is droll and lacks creativity or that the plot is ridiculous or the main character has the emotional depth of a teaspoon...

Personally, I would argue that the reason it is not good is it paints a toxic relationship in an appealing light and tells the reader this kind of behavior is not only okay--but desired. There are enough people--men and women alike--in emotionally and mentally abusive relationships that they do not need another piece of media coaxing them into believing its normal. So, to me, these are not good.

Yet there are friends of mine who enjoy them and when I asked they explained that after a hard day, they were fun fluff to curl up with. And when talking with them they acknowledged that sure, it had its plethora of problems, it was a nice way to unwind. These books were easy. And in that respect, there was a little good in them, whether I could see it or not. So I no longer argue with them about it.

Because there's no point.

I was raised on a lot of British style comedies and dramas, one of my friends was raised on pure laugh-track sitcoms.

He doesn't watch my shows because he feels they're boring. I don't watch his because I feel the humor is crass and relies on shock value.

Whether either of us are right the point is we both draw enjoyment from our respective shows. It doesn't make me a snob or him simple--we just like different things. And that's okay. It doesn't say one of our tastes is good or bad, it says they're different.

And I think the thing to truly take away from this idea is: What are you getting out of it?

What really may make something good is what the audience derives from it. Does it entertain? Does it teach us something about ourselves? Does it make us uncomfortable--and is there merit or something to be gained from being uncomfortable in that moment?

I realized half-way through writing this I'm not sure if I'm talking about the media we consume or the media we create but I guess there's little difference.

When you create something--ask what you're sending out into the world and why. And when you absorb something else, ask what it has to offer. Even the simplest of things--the silly things, the things that will never win great prizes for breaking boundaries--if they have entertained us, then there is good. Even if you personally can't see it.

1 comment:

  1. I have plenty of adult friends who I don't argue Twilight with. What worries me is the teenagers I teach who read it, who don't know yet what to expect from a healthy relationship and may build their views based on a dangerous example. But I love some pretty terrible movies, so I will never argue that it's bad just based on taste.