Saturday, March 12, 2011

Music and Film "Expertise"

I feel like my generation is plagued with an overabundance of “artists” or “critics” that unjustly hold their own opinion in the highest regard. This isn’t to say that their opinions don’t matter—on the contrary, art is subjective, and your own personal reactions to it are more important than anything else anyone could ever think or say. What I’m talking about are the people that try to assert that their analysis of a particular song or movie is correct, and no other interpretation could be worthwhile. What’s worse is these people usually try to flaunt their alleged expertise to make them seem more intelligent.

Perhaps I should refer to my post on Hispters, as this is a common Hipster trend. These people often believe that their experience and their tastes are more developed and therefore more worthy than yours—but regardless of whether they sincerely believe this or not, they feel it is their duty to make sure you know exactly how much expertise they claim to have. They’ll often intentionally make references to obscure bands or unpopular movies in an effort to establish their credibility, and try to hold it against you if you haven’t experienced them. They may also try to bring in some arbitrary means of qualification—for instance, one of these types may take a single music-related academic course and gain the confidence of a postgraduate Music Major. Or they may have dabbled in cinematography and now fancy themselves a directorial superstar.

Odds are they don’t really know any more than you do. Even if they read up on complicated terminology on Wikipedia or try to mimic what they read in a professional review, they still won’t be able to implement them properly. Don’t let these people be arrogant; their pretentious opinions and insubstantially complex language doesn’t mean a goddamn thing. Their opinions are just that, opinions, and they’re every bit as entitled to them as you are to yours. Don’t forget that.

This is another sign of our cultural, and perhaps generational, adherence to blind arrogance. These people often select what songs and films they like artificially, choosing whichever array will make them seem the most knowledgeable or the most distinguished. But don’t be fooled, most of this is a ruse. Even if someone does appear to be developed, odds are high that they’ve worked hard to establish that image for the image’s sake alone. You, the natural listener/viewer, have a less polluted and stronger sense for art the way it was meant to be seen—unfettered by outside bullshit.

Oh and just for the record, I am aware I generally fit into this category.


  1. I agree with you, that's why you have to have your own tastes unbiased.

  2. As my mother always said, "An ounce of pretension is worth a pound of manure." It's a shame people put so much effort into something so fake ad petty. Oh well.