Can we really be objective when it comes to art? When we watch a film, listen to an album, stream a TV show, or go to an art gallery — we bring with us our pasts, our prejudices, likes and dislikes into the equation. And they will inform and affect how we react to the current item being experienced.
I came up with this topic, after I heard a discussion about Madonna’s appearance on the Grammys in 2015. The people on the podcast were asking “Did you like Madonna’s performance, because it is Madonna” or was it a good performance on it’s own? If you are a fan of her, you have a history with her… your favorite Madonna performances on music video or in her concerts. Would you have liked the performance by another artist?
Since I am a big entertainment fan, I ask myself questions like this all the time. It is hard when you go to a concert, to not compare the performance to the record, and to any previous times you have seen them perform. When you see a movie, you may compare the movie to a better one, or the actors to their previous movies. There have been plenty of times I thought the movie worked because of the actors. That if it was a bunch of nobodies in the film, it wouldn’t be as interesting as having actors you were more familiar with and invested in.
For live shows, they really can’t be compared to their records, especially with dance pop stuff. I would prefer to see the spectacle, with all the set changes, lights, dancers and costumes versus having every note sung perfectly and the singer just standing there. So for me, I can forgive some lip-synching if the performance is there. Adele you want to hear her hit every note, Madonna, well, she’s a great performer not a great singer.
And then think about all the entertainment award shows? It is sort of silly to pit one person against another… especially since art is so subjective, everyone has their own opinion about what makes something great or not. Maybe it would be fair, if you could have 5 different actors doing the exact same role, and then judging one against the other. But that is not going to happen. Same for having 5 different performers singing the same song — not going to happen.
What about Hollywood’s love of remakes or reboots? Is Ben Affleck a better Batman than Michael Keaton or Christian Bale? Is a sequel as good as the previous movie? I am sure you have your opinions, like we all do.
So to answer the Madonna question posed… yes, I enjoyed it because it was Madonna. But if it was Miley Cyrus doing the same performance, I think I would have liked it too. But if it was Selena Gomez, maybe not so much.
KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.