28 October 2009

Best of centuri0n: send out the weiner dogs

by Frank Turk

[This one is bound to make somebody mad. Glad I could help -- from the day after Christmas, 2006]

I just realized it was Wednesday, which is unofficially my day for occupying this space, and I realized I hadn't been preparing for it. I have been so engrossed by my Belkin TuneBase over the last two days, I'll be honest: I forgot about blogging. You can't imagine how entraced you can get listening to every frequency on the FM dial trying to find one with the appropriate level of stationlessness in order to broadcast a puny little peep from your iPod so you can listen to John Piper, Third Day and James White's rather hardscrabble free MP3s.

Anyway, as I found that 88.9 FM is the best for my little device, I was listening to Dr. Piper describe Christians as "task oriented" folk who frankly have let the arts slip through our fingers. There are a lot of reasons for that -- each could probably make a very keen blog post in and of itself -- but let me suggest one which Dr. Piper did not say in particular.

As a people, we Christians have adopted one of the worst attributes of the anabaptist tradition, and that is a rather sincere disdain for things which are true and beautiful. Here's what I mean by that: we have set up a false dichotomy between "true" and "beautiful" so that anything which is "true" must be plain or otherwise homely, and everything which is "beautiful" must be the work of the devil because it appeals to our eyes and ears. And we have also let the world dictate to us what is "beautiful" so that we don't even know it when we see it anymore.

So what we wind up with, for example, is the ocean of vacuous "worship" music in Christian bookstores which is neither true nor beautiful; we wind up with Christian "art" which is hardly suited for comic books let alone the walls of our homes; we wind up with t-shirts being the high fashion statement of our subculture; we wind up with literature-ignorant and theology-vacant "poetry" that neither moves emotionally or inspires intellectually.

And with these things, we want to have a culture war with New York, Los Angeles and Hollywood. Good grief, people: we might as well be sending weiner dogs out to defend us against an army of machette-weilding Haitian voodoo zombies. At least the weiner dogs would be able to smell the dead meat and run away from it, and we could follow them.

So what to do? I mean, isn't the right answer to study the culture and then try to co-opt its methods because obviously those methods are working on those people who we say we want to reach? It's that the missional thing to do -- especially in the arts?

Does that sound like a TeamPyro post to you?

Let me suggest something instead which I think many people probably have heard but no one has bothered to apply to this problem: all great art demonstrates the tension between love and death. That's not a Biblical proverb per se, but it is, in fact, true. All great poetry is about the tension between love and death -- even if it's not the love of another person or the death of a particular person. And one of the great failings of modern culture is its shallow vision of love (which is explicitly and almost exclusively sexual and sensual) and its obsession with death (either by avoidance in worshipping youth, or its glamorization of suicide).

Listen: if there's anything on Earth (or in the Heavens) which we Christians ought to know something about, it's Love and Death. In fact, we should be the ones who are exclaiming the fact of Love in Death. We shouldn't be establishing a suicide cult but extolling the fantastic fact that Christ died for our sins because God Loved, and Christ was resurrected in order that death would be destroyed.

There's more art to be made in that one sentence than all the movies Hollywod has ever turned out, and more than either NYC or LA could turn out in music and TV in 10,000 years. Why? Because there is Truth and Beauty in that statement, and it doesn't force us to make false moral choices or reduce our expressions to some gloomy, dismal, atonal text.

The great topic of art belongs to us. The great purpose of art is not, as someone once said, to frame a lie which seems pleasant, but to frame truth by analogy -- and the greatest truth-by-analogy of all time is the Bible.

So as we close out the season of meditation on that the incarnation of Christ means (or ought to mean) to us, the Christians, let us also think about how we tell others about this great gift. It's not enough to get it right in theory: we must also get it right in practice, which is to say, in the full-contact sport of real life.

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
and the one who gets understanding,
for the gain from her is better than gain from silver
and her profit better than gold.
She is more precious than jewels,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.
Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
and all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;
those who hold her fast are called blessed.
Let us find her, and let us tell everyone how precious and rich she is indeed.









50 comments:

Zaphon said...

If I painted a picture of Jesus (debates about iconography/clasty notwithstanding) that portrayed him as a "Palestinian" Jewish man, with dark features, maybe a hawkish nose, and a burly beard,not as good looking as Jim Caviezel, nothing like the European milktoast Jesus we normally see, but more like the Biblical image in Isaiah 53 where he has no comeliness, would that attract the world? Would we like to see our Jesus portrayed as a common Jewish man or more like the long haired model that is often portrayed?

I think that the bad art is around for the same basic reason bad preaching is: man-centered, entertainment driven, world-accomodating philosophy of art and Gospel.

Reformed and Renewed said...

Personally, Christmas creeps up on me, because work crowds out the holidays and before you realzie you hav not bought presents for anybody and the day is upon you. But I like Christmas, I know some say it has pagan origins, but its like you say, its about love...and geting along with famly, however weird they are. Or am the only one with a stange family? Anyway, family is I think the great sanctifier of those they think they have it made. It reminds you that there people who know how to push all your buttons. Good post!

JRD said...

Good art to me is when it displays reality and truth. The Bible meets this in all ways (esp. the KJV language of the Psalms...no, I'm not a KJVO ). Could this be why the Bible was mandatory reading for potential lawyers and other pseudo intellectuals? BTW. the "weiner dog" is a dachshund (meaning badger hound) and was bred to hunt badgers in their holes which takes tenacity and unbelievable courage and strength as the badger is one mean hombre.

Michael said...

What, Philips, Craig, and Dean aren't good enough for you? Come on. What about all that art/music/ and poetry the emergents have brought in lately?

In all seriousness, Amen Brother.

sem said...

That's why I read here. I've finally found my people. I feel like one of the grouchy old men in the balcony on the Muppet Show every time I enter the local Christian book store. It's mostly crap. Sorry, but it really is. The "art" all looks like Home Interiors, the music is schlocky and the books, don't get me started. Whenever I need anything good, it has to be special ordered. Seriously, all the McLaren and Bell you can handle but they have to special order Francis Schaeffer?! It just gets so discouraging because after awhile you feel like you're just being negative.

Fusion! said...

Francis Scheaffer points out in his little book "Art and the Bible" that "for beauty's sake" is a phrase found in the Bible. SOme tings were made (in the Tabernacle and the Temple) just because it was aesthetically pleasing. It is an idea whose time has come again. and one we must acquaint ourselves with. His wifes book "Hidden Art' would be a good read on ways to make that a possibility in our homes and churches.

Bike Bubba said...

It's "wiener dogs," not ""Weiner dogs." :^)

Other than that, I don't have a whole lot to say, other than that I struggle with the reality of art as well.

sem said...

@Fusion

Great! Another book I'll have to special order.

stratagem said...

There is a lot to chew on here. I was particularly struck by the observations about the anabaptistic traditional mortification of anything desireable, and how that's been foisted upon the church is very astute. I was thinking about this subject just the other day and wondering why it is so much easier for me to be artistically creative with everything but the Christian message. My conclusion was finally that it is just hard to re-package the same message over and over again a zillion times. Especially when it's not that simple a message. I believe that might be why we have such poor art and literature in the Christian realm (besides the fact that there are a number of musicicans and artists who gravitate to the Christian realm if they can't make it in the secular realm).I think Frank did a good job of identifying part of the problem, here, although I don't think he told us what the solution is either, which is the really heavy lifting. I'm not being critical about that, as I also have no idea what the solution is.

Kyle Mann said...

"Christian" music truly is horrible, for the most part. My pet peeve is the pop songs written from God's perspective, wherein the things "God" says aren't remotely true or biblical, and often elevate man rather than God.

sem said...

Strategem

I was thinking about the things that are produced and called Christian art. It seems like it's less really talented person gets saved and then dedicates talent to God, and more Christian decides that he wants to write a book, make music, etc., and does so, to the glory of God, of course. Somehow the dedicating it do God part makes it unnecessary for said person to have any aptitude or talent, and also shields them from criticism. Because, hey, that's not very Chritian-like to tell someone that they would be better off shaving the goatee and working in an office somewhere.

I don't think the whole enterprise is any different than the rest of the world in that, if people buy it, they keep making it. If people stop buying it....

Thoughts?

Eric said...

I find this quote (upon which the remainder of the post if based) to be questionable: "all great art demonstrates the tension between love and death." That is quite a statement, and kind of slippery and profound. How would one prove that to be true or false? Is a beautiful melody really only good art in that it demonstrates the tension between love and death? How exactly does a beautiful melody do that? How about a nice painting of a pair of ducks on a slough? Is all good art really that profound, or can some things be good or beautiful simply because they are pleasing to the senses, and not because they demonstrate the tension between love and death?

I don't disagree that much "Christian art" is lacking and that Christian artists do have the most compelling story to tell, or that good art may often demonstrate the tension between love and death. I do find that sweeping statement to be an overstatement at best, or at least simplistic.

Stefan said...

Frank:

We certainly do wallow in a subculture of schlocky, second-rate derivative art: it's systemic. But in practical terms, how do we turn this around?

By paying more careful attention to the selection of hymns and songs, and getting away from shallow, "me"-centered worship songs?

By designing posters, websites, etc. in a way that doesn't say, "We're trying so hard to be hip and relevant"? (N.B.: Even reformed churches produce this kind of visual media.)

By fostering the gifts of those in our churches who truly have artistic aptitude (be it in music, visual arts, or writing)?

And for the arts other than music, how do we deploy the artists' creations? Through decorating the walls of the church? Through evangelistic materials that reflect an artistic sensibility? By having a poetry reading?

Paul D said...

The great purpose of art is…to frame truth by analogy -- and the greatest truth-by-analogy of all time is the Bible.

I think this is right on – but it seems to me that the unregenerate would not see beauty in this – they would deny this beauty just as they deny the truth. It would really just make them angry. I don’t think this is a bad thing, just an observation.

I also wonder about this bias. I readily admit that it could be an unfounded bias, by it seems that broad stroke “artsy” Christians tend to come from a very different perspective theologically than the broad stroke “egghead” Christians…

stratagem said...

Sem
Yes for the most part, I'd say you are right. There are some really really talented and God-gifted Christian musicians (for instance), but many of them are in the Christian realm because it is more accepting of mediocrity.

I also resonate with what Kyle Mann said here, about songs that purport to speak for God. These remind me of heretical books like "Conversations with God" or "The Shack." The books are recognized by Christians as being off-base, but somehow once heresy is set to music it becomes immune to critique. I can't stand to listen to K-love for this reason alone.

stratagem said...

Because, hey, that's not very Chritian-like to tell someone that they would be better off shaving the goatee and working in an office somewhere.

I really laughed out loud on that line, by the way. Artfully done!

Kyle Mann said...

@stratagem

"Just a face in the city
Just a tear on a crowded street
But you are one in a million
And you belong to Me"

I feel so special, being one in a million and all...

John said...

"Good grief, people: we might as well be sending weiner dogs out to defend us against an army of machette-weilding Haitian voodoo zombies."

Oh, man, I just sprayed coffee all over my screen again. Thanks, Turk.

Why is my WV "gulti"?

David said...

Stratagem,

You hit something when you said:
My conclusion was finally that it is just hard to re-package the same message over and over again a zillion times.

It is not a message for us to re-package. It is a message that is to re-package us.

Paula said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paula said...

Schnitzel objects! That's no wiener dog!

stratagem said...

It is not a message for us to re-package.

I disagree - and if you actually believe that, you have just identified one more reasons why some Christians have abandoned communicating through the arts.

It is a message that is to re-package us.

I agree.

Michael said...

FORGET THE WIENER DOGS!

Lets combine the zombies with the dogs...

GO HERE!

http://www.wired963.com/blog/afternoons/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/SamUgliestDogLulu.jpg

David said...

Now you've done it! Spoiling my precious couplet, indeed!

I leave the first half as stated. Everything in our culture comes down to packaging. The chocolate syrup in my fridge proclaims itself as "a fat-free food." Not that this brand of syrup ever in its storied existence had little globules of fat in it, but now, because "fat-free" sells, it's proclaimed on the package. Which tells us that there's exactly nothing different about it than there ever has been.

Music is not a package. It is an art. If it is treated as a package, it is to be disposed of as the message is unpacked. You'll get a better deal on the message in the bulk section where you don't have to pay for all the plastic and cardboard.

But music and painting and sculpture and poetry and story-telling are art forms. Modernism (and its rotten fruit, post-modernism) has cheapened them into simple packages for propaganda and self-expression. But there is a more, ahem, organic connection between art and its message.

'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.'
(Matthew 11:17 ESV)

Our culture thinks that it doesn't matter if we dance to the dirge and mourn to the flute.

stratagem said...

David
Art and music are only packages, whether they are cheaply-made ones, or dear. If they were anything other than a package, a conduit, then the art form would shape or re-shape the message, correct? Then you'd be saying "but the Gospel message shouldn't be changed." So, what do you want art to be - a package that presents the message, or the message itself?

If you'd like to play semantics with the differences between "art" and "packaging," then let me re-phrase what I said in a way that may be more palatable to you:

"It's hard to re-translate the same message over and over again, a zillion different ways."

Which I suppose is also why the Emerg*** people are so big into using art, since they are under no constraints about not changing the message, and are therefore free to pursue more avenues than the orthodoxy-bound are.

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

Stratagem,

So dance to the dirge, then.

And yes, Emerg**s want to use art. But very few of them have the wherewithal to create it.

In that day Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, like the days of one king. At the end of seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the prostitute: "Take a harp; go about the city, O forgotten prostitute! Make sweet melody; sing many songs, that you may be remembered."
(Isaiah 23:15-16 ESV)

That song wasn't a package, but it contained a message.

St.Lee said...

Frank, I couldn't disagree more. Unless a wiener dog is unlike any of the dogs I am familiar with, they would immediately roll in the dead meat.

The rest of your post I agree with.

stratagem said...

David
I don't see how any of your cited Scriptures actually support the distinction between art and "packaging" as you've defined them. So I simply don't accept your "agree with my opinion on this subject, or you're dancing to the world's tune" premise.
Maybe you are saying that if it's art you like, it's art, and if it's art you don't like, it's packaging? I can't tell.
Can you answer the question of whether the music is the Gospel message itself, or only a conduit for the message? You haven't been clear on that although you seem to be making a case for the former.

David said...

I'm saying that art is and rightly should be intimately connected and in agreement with its message, in the same way that a preacher should bear the fruit of righteousness as he preaches.

Just as you can have a grossly immoral adulterous man preaching sexual purity, you can put "Amazing Grace" to the tune of "Gilligan's Island."

But this has become exactly what our culture expects, because that's what we have given it so often.

I've said nothing about what music I like. And I said nothing about "dancing to the world's tune."

I'm saying that in God's economy (according to His word), form has a connection to content, and trying to divorce the two makes Christians look like they're doing the Macarena at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

David said...

And to answer your last question, music is definitely a conduit. But adding the word "only" in there does something to it that God doesn't do.

Because the Psalms are "only" poetry.

The Lord's Supper is "only" a symbol.

The parables are "only" stories.

The book of Lamentations is "only" a chiasm.

The ark was "only" a boat.

I'll stop now.

stratagem said...

David -

If you are saying what you just expressed in your next to last message above, then obviously I misunderstood what you were saying.

In your very last message though I think you have made a weak argument, because you are citing poetry, stories, etc that are in a unique category (God's Word) which cannot be emulated by any artist today. So in reaction to that, I would probably say, "give me an example of art outside of God's Word that isn't 'only' poetry or a song or a story." I think that will be a lot harder.
I agree with what you've said about using the world's style of entertainment to message the Gospel, which actually cheapens it. Which once again, is why I can't stand to listen to K-love, and why I hate singing K-love pop songs in church. Some of the lyrics are just downright senseless in a Christian message sense.

Yet even this last point is highly subjective, kind of like Frank's assertion that "all great art demonstrates a tension between love and death." ?? I obviously can't dispute what he's saying as an opinion, especially since he qualifies it with the word "great." In other words, if the Mona Lisa doesn't deal with love and death (as far as I know, it doesn't), then Frank either doesn't consider it to be art, or to be great. I might or might not, but he doesn't. Cool with me.

~Mark said...

Hopefully not too far from the post, some friends of mine have asked me to yell as loudly as possible whenever I can that the major Christian stores are incredibly hard on them to makes sales, and sales are the only goal.

In fact, some stores discipline workers who fail to sell enough, and my friend recounted that everyday is filled with people saying something akin to "would you please shut up and ring up my order?" because they are ordered by management to sell, sell, sell.

That's why the pop-schlock that appeals to the masses is what we see in those stores.

Real art, real music, true beauty, stand out because they will always be in the minority.

David said...

Strat,

Ok, so "Paradise Lost" is only a poem, and Bach's B-minor Mass is a nice album. If that's your opinion, there's no problem seeing the reason that Christians have lost their mooring in the arts.

If you look at the history of art, it's pretty clear that reductionism didn't help art out very much, and deconstruction has only made it worse.

But in the passage I quoted above, Isaiah takes a song about a harlot (which probably doesn't qualify as verbal plenary inspiration) and invests it (by means of verbal plenary inspiration) with a prophetic message for God's people. God has a higher view of the song than, well, it's only a song.

And I'm not saying that we should try to pretend our songs are inspired. That, we should probably stop doing. NOW. Most exspecially with our praise and worship songs.

But we should kneel at the cross, and then write, paint, sculpt and sing about the things that our redeemed eyes see.

And God may just use stuff like that.

CR said...

I'm not sure where you're going with this post, Frank, and quite suprised at some of the statements you've made. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding. What do you mean by "The great topic of art belongs to us?

Who is the "us" here? The church or Christians or what. What other aspects of the culture "belong to us?" Politics, literature, philosophy? I ask this because I believe you would vehemently disagree that politics (part of the culture) belongs to us.

Also, I would say that when it comes to worshipping (you mentioned about the vacuous worship music that is neither true or beautiful) in spirit and truth, what's important is not that it is "beautiful" but what's important is that it be true.

We've often heard people say, "what a beautiful sermon that was" or "wasn't the worship music beautiful." Well, that's all fine and well, but what's important is that it be true. That's why I can enjoy traditional or contemporary worship music as long as it is true - i.e. God-honoring.

Art, music, philosophy, politics, science and other cultural activities are very important issues but they do not "belong to us" I don't believe. The world should teach these things. They are important things and certainly the church can and should influence culture. We saw a great example in the Great Awakening where secular historians said had not been for the Great Awakening we would have shared the same fate as France in their revolution.

The American church does not influence the culture that much anymore because she is weak and has no vigor. If she would teach the gospel and the whole counsel of God, the effects to the culture would be dramatic.

stratagem said...

David - you contradict yourself once again:

Ok, so "Paradise Lost" is only a poem, and Bach's B-minor Mass is a nice album. If that's your opinion, there's no problem seeing the reason that Christians have lost their mooring in the arts.

And I'm not saying that we should try to pretend our songs are inspired. That, we should probably stop doing. NOW. Most especially with our praise and worship songs.

Let's see if I've got this straight: We should stop pretending that artistic works are inspired. BUT, Paradise Lost and the B minor Mass are inspired or at least, way more than just art(presumably because you have deemed them to be thus?) Yeah, OK David.

I get the clear impression that if people don't see what you consider to be great art as great art, then they're art-deficient and can be dismissed.

I've met plenty of Christian people who would think you're kooky if you don't think U2 is way more than just good music - and way better than Bach; don't you realize that? And to put it bluntly, you can't prove them wrong, as beauty is in the eye of the beolder. So get off the high horse.

David said...

Looked under myself. No horse.

I can't get through Paradise Lost. I've tried three times. The B-minor Mass has more to it than my wee brain can ever grasp.

On my iTunes playlist right now? Stevie Wonder.

How many praise and worship cd's have I recorded? Three.

And you keep putting words in my comment box that aren't there.

David said...

In no way are our works of art inspired, and neither were Bach's, nor Milton's, nor Bono's. Just to make that exceptionally clear.

But if we've come to the place where we can't say that Paradise Lost is aesthetically better than The Shack, because beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then that says where Christians are as a culture. Because, I mean, both books have theological issues, you know, but I just happen to like page turners better, you know?

stratagem said...

David

You have this pattern going of making statements, and then contradicting them with further statements. Then, saying that I'm putting words in your mouth. This latest time, in categorically declaring Paradise Lost to be better than The Shack (a book I personally detest), you've gone and done it again.

You couldn't (for instance) categorically say that the B minor mass is in fact better than U2. I happen to like Bach a lot, and don't happen to like U2 a lot, but that doesn't make it a fact that Bach is better than Bono - that belief would be in the realm of opinion. You don't seem to understand the concept that you, like the rest of us, are just another guy with an opinion of what is great or mediocre.

Several times now you have laid out examples of what you consider to be good art and bad art, then suggested that if the Christian world doesn't agree with your ranking of those, they must be art-deficient philistines, and no wonder we're in the shape we're in. Which is nonsense.

If you had simply said that you prefer one thing over another, that would be one thing, but you keep sniffing about people who might not agree with your tastes on what is great art (or not). I don't know if you realize it, but you're giving me (and maybe others?) the impression that you feel you are in a better position to judge art than the rest of us are. Why you might think that is anyone's guess.

Solameanie said...

Art or music is only good if I think so. I am the final arbiter of such things.

Don't you all know that?

David said...

Thanks, Solameanie. I was just about to say that.

Because that's what Stratagem is saying.

All beauty falls within the realm of taste, and therefore is completely subjective. There is no possible objective aesthetic for art.

Got a verse for that?

David said...

Frank, honest opinion. Am I being a troll with this?

Stefan said...

David:

Charles Wesley and Isaac Watts are not able to share their opinions with us (they're singing greater hymns now), but since you're a worship pastor, your opinions count for something.

...In my totally subjective opinion.

Verification word: quill. Très artistique!

Stefan said...

...But that said, I'm not taking sides between you and Stratagem. This is a good argument (in the best sense of the word) that the two of you are having.

We may not be able to easily define it, but there are arguably objective standards for beauty in the arts. Music has harmonics; visual art has composition; architecture has proportion; poetry has meter; prose has alliteration and metaphor.

That said, I grew up with artistic snobbery in my blood (multi-generational families of artists and musicians on both sides [and me, a computer scientist!?]), and had to get over that to learn to appreciate the best that popular culture has to offer (be it from Madison Avenue, Nashville, or Hollywood, Memphis or New Orleans).

The best talents working in popular culture have the knack for combining an artistic sensibility with diligent workmanship and the ability to communicate a simple message effectively. What we need in Christian art is a better balance of all three, without focus on one or another element at the expense of the others.

Stefan said...

And to remind us of the best that Christian art can be, I give you this: Rembrandt's Sacrifice of Abraham.

Stefan said...

Or my favourite: Belshazzar's Feast.

Hey, the writing's on the wall.

Okay, last comment of the night.

sem said...

Stefan

Those were the works I kept thinking of as well, but I didn't want to get in the middle of the David/Strat throwdown. The old masters' Biblical paintings still have me in awe. I live in Sarasota, home of the Ringling Art Museum, which contains some of the most magnificent Biblical works. I guess not every generation has been confused about this whole Faith/Art thing.

stratagem said...

David

You said (note: David is using sarcasm here):

All beauty falls within the realm of taste, and therefore is completely subjective. There is no possible objective aesthetic for art.

Well actually, that's true. If it weren't, there would not be a wide range of different art forms out there, would there David? Got a verse that proves me wrong on this?

For a Christian, the only objective yardstick between good and bad art is whether it glorifies God or not and rebels against his clear commands. I think we can say pornography is not art, and if it were, it is bad art, from a Christian perspective. Other things that you've cited are not clear at all.

We are supposed to be impressed that you are a musician - I get that message you are sending. However, you have chosen a field that is totally subjective in terms of what is pleasing, and what is not. Your opinions are only opinions outside of the church you are worship leader for. Deal with it. If you can't deal with it, you should have not chosen a field that is so subjective.

You are not being a troll, you are being condescending toward others who have different tastes - possibly because you view yourself as an expert.

David said...

Holy cow.

Sorry, Stratagem. I have not communicated my point well at all.

My point in stating that I am a worship leader is that I am a man of unclean lips among a people of unclean lips who wants to be cleansed.


I have tried to highlight some of the greatest masterworks of Christian history to compare to contemporary trash like "The Shack" in order to make an unassailable point, which, unfortunately, is getting assailed.

Because it's all about "taste".

I love and am a product of this age and this culture. I listen to all kinds of music and appreciate many styles. I have not disparaged any -style- of music in any of my posts or said that they are bad art.

But so I can finally boil down my point for you without bringing up Bach or Milton or Coldplay or Tiny Tim:

Good art conveys its subject with means that are well-executed and appropriate to the subject.

Bad art conveys its subject with means that are poorly executed or inappropriate to the subject.

stratagem said...

David
Thank you. I have no bone to pick with that. I don't know art, but I know what I like.
Strat