Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

I do not believe that we manifest our own reality. The older I get, the less control I feel anyone has over anything, including the quality of one’s work. Outright fatalism tempts me, though I don’t succumb. In the realm of the arts, the realization that we can have deeply memorable experiences with bad works—and dull experiences with well-made ones—can lead us to a free-floating aesthetic relativism, analogous in some ways to apolitical liberalism of the West Wing variety. Everyone has preferences, but the important thing to remember is that we’re all just people. De gustibus non est disputandum. The more sophisticated version of this argument is the common belief that “good taste” reduces to the desire to accrue cultural capital—a claim that removes taste from the black box that relativism puts it in but does so by reducing it to a wispy epiphenomenon at best.

But given the ubiquity of aesthetic experiences—sublime, ridiculous, weird, disgusting—and the fact that they are shared often enough to stand, in some sense, external to the self, this relativistic stance becomes hard to sustain. Nobody sticks to relativism, in aesthetics as in politics, for very long. We reach for the normative languages of “good” and “bad” art, of “genius” and “talent,” as we reach for the language of “good” and “evil,” because the experiences we label with such language are ubiquitous and often shared. (No sooner had some theorists declared the term genius off-limits than a generation realized that we needed a word for whatever Kate Bush is.) And we distrust these same normative languages because we (rightly) fear participating in an unjust hegemony, or because we (wrongly) conflate subjective with private, indeterminate with unreal.

ugh i love his writing!

—p.85 How To Be Cultured (I): Bad Movies (75) by Phil Christman 1 year, 3 months ago