Okay, I confess, I don’t care for country music. I’m ducking in my seat, even as I type this! Every once in a while I let it slip out, and suffer a barrage of questions from those around me: “What…how can you not like country music?” “Don’t you like this artist, or that artist, or how about this song, or surely you like that song” they ask. “No, not really,” I reply.
As much as I’d like to inflate my own sense of self-importance, I know my opinion really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter any more than it matters that I prefer butter pecan ice cream to chocolate ice cream. Chocolate lovers may argue that point with me, but that doesn’t matter either. They are not going to prove to me that chocolate is the better choice, because my palate prefers butter pecan, thank you very much.
Much like ice cream choices, preference for the arts is subjective. For many of us, that fact is what makes art simultaneously obscure and seductive. It’s what I love about art; there are no boundaries, there are no rights, no wrongs, only pathways to expression. It is what separates art from concrete subjects like mathematics, with its precision and clear-cut choices.
Subjectivity is also why art lends itself awkwardly to contests, and why one artist will lose one contest but might just win the next contest with the very same artistic performance. Because, what one judge sees as artistic genius, another may see as missing the mark, and that makes all the difference. Art is not an Olympic sport, and winners cannot be determined by measurement and instant replay. For every talented artist out there, there are those who observe their art and think they are simply awful at what they do….and that’s subjectivity in action. This is the very reason that I find arguing over which is the best genre of music, or who is the most talented actor, or the most gifted dancer, a waste of valuable time.
Honestly folks, we all know that country music (and chocolate ice cream) will be just fine without me. I applaud it for those of you whom it speaks to, it just doesn’t speak to me. I honor and respect its existence for those of you that it works for, it just doesn’t work for me, and that’s my subjectivity speaking. And you know what? The last time I checked, the world was still spinning.