Good Taste

What is it?

All too often I hear people say “You have good taste in music,” or “They don’t have very good taste.”  I’m pretty sure they really mean “I like the same music you do,” or “Their opinions are different from mine.”

Can we really make a statement that essentially defines someone’s standing or acceptance in society simply because they have similar interests as ourselves?  Is it right to assume that we are the authority in defining what is good, acceptable, and proper in the realm of opinion?

I know I’m over analyzing this simple phrase a bit, but things like this bug me.  Mostly because of the distorted perceptions that result from hearing comments similar to those mentioned above.  When people hear statements praising their taste, they can be beguiled into thinking that what they like is popular or “correct.”

But there is no correct or incorrect taste.  There are only tastes which do not agree with each other.

In addition, popularity should not affect how much we like something.  I say this hypocritically as I let popularity affect my tastes, but I still strive for the ideal.  An example of how society affects me: often I find I enjoy music less if other people like it first.  I gain a sense of pride from discovering a song before someone else does.  I also feel that my unique tastes differentiate me from the crowd.  I don’t really care that few others like the same music I do except for the fact that it makes it difficult to get requests played at parties.

Unfortunately, popularity seems to influence people a lot more than it should.  Because of peer pressure and need for acceptance, people abandon their true tastes and pretend to enjoy something because the crowd does.  Either that or everyone else but me really does like the same things and I’m oblivious.  Regardless of the truth, however, people should not be afraid to resist conforming or hiding what they like.  The uniqueness in human taste perpetuates variety in the way we design our world – cars, houses, buildings, appliances, music, movies, sports, clothes, electronics, and more come in countless shapes, colors, sizes, weights, and more because people are different.  How much better would it be to have even more variety and choice because people are not afraid to express what they truly enjoy?

Everyone has good taste in their own eyes.  That’s good.  But, if we tried to sustain one taste as supreme, defining the rest as inferior, the world would be a very boring place indeed.


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