Update 4: Meanwhile, at Huffington Post, where context goes to die, a key point in my blog post has been summarized as: ". . . cartoonist Scott Adams said he's under the impression Romney would be softer on marijuana than President Barack Obama." Is that how you would interpret my sentence "Romney is likely to continue the same drug policies as the Obama administration"? If not, you can't write for Huffington Post.I LOL at that.
Then he wrote a post about the reaction to the first one I linked, from which I took the title of my post about this. In context:
The fascinating thing here is that I believe the source of confusion is that people literally don't recognize objectivity when they see it. I got a lot of comments along the lines of "You say X is true and then in the same paragraph you say Y." What I actually said is "X is likely to be true, but here's an argument for Y." That's how objective people talk. They make a prediction and then explain why it might be wrong. That's the only way you know all sides have been considered. Partisans and non-thinkers say, "My prediction is 100% certain."I have encountered this phenomenon enough in my life to know exactly what he's talking about.
Example: I don't like Pink Floyd. I have never liked Pink Floyd. I can stand a couple of their songs ("Comfortably Numb", "Money") but in general I don't like their music.
I don't like their music because, as art, it's too effective for my taste. Pink Floyd's music is dark stuff and it's hard for me to listen to; I don't enjoy it--hence I don't like it.
But when I tell this to people--"Pink Floyd is good art but I don't like it"--frequently they don't understand me. "How can you say it sucks when you just said it's good?"
How? Because that's not at all what I'm saying. If it sucked I wouldn't be saying it's good.
Like, well, horror movies.
Generally speaking, I dislike horror movies. Not the ones that rely on gore or startling the viewer, but ones which genuinely horrify. You'd probably be surprised by what I mean by that.
I tend to avoid movies like Hellraiser and Nightmare on Elm Street. Having seen them years after their theatrical releases, though, I watch them and think, "What do people like about these shlock-fests?" I had the same reaction to Saw; it was almost totally non-horrifying. OMG, the guy has to cut his foot off to escape--didn't we see this in Mad Max a few decades ago?
I ended up liking John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness because the story was cerebrally frightening. (Even though it's been described with the phrase "whirling green anticlimax in the basement".) I hated The Hitcher because of the scene where Rutger Hauer draws-and-quarters C. Thomas Howell's girlfriend with a semi; that was horrifying. The Sixth Sense wasn't horror, strictly speaking, but that creeped me right the fuck out.
Halloween, Friday the 13th, etc--mind you I don't watch horror movies at all so I haven't become jaded by more recent efforts. Yet when I see these movies, I'm unimpressed.
Part of it comes from the fact that I'm largely (only "largely") unmoved by gore. Somewhere recently I saw, on-line, a picture of a foot with three gangrenous toes. It looked as if the gangrene had stopped at the ball of the foot and spread laterally. I looked at the image for several seconds, and thought, "The first three toes are goners. That fourth one...judging solely by the color I'd wager it's probably not savable. He ought to keep his pinky toe, though." Since the body of the foot seemed uninvolved, he'd probably lose just the toes and not too much of his foot.
But I wasn't grossed out by it. I was supposed to be, but wasn't. It's just a picture. (Now, if I had smelled it, that likely would have nauseated me. But that's a reflex, anyway.)
So these days, now, there are two reasons I don't like horror movies. When they work, I can't sleep without the lights on; when they don't work, they annoy me.
And they very seldom work.
I can't even derive entertainment from the shlock. I've seen some truly terrible movies, things that are gold mines of snark (Attack of the Teenage Vixens from Outer Space) and derision--I can't make fun of Hellraiser because it doesn't rise to that level of bad.
It's like comparing Plan Nine From Outer Space to Battle Beyond the Stars--one is so bad it's transcended "bad" and turned into a classic movie; the other is just...well, bad.
I recognize that taste is not universal, but I know the difference between good and poor art. Pink Floyd is good art; some schmuck speaking syncopated rhyme and ending every line with "motherfucker" is not.
And I don't like either one.