Originally Posted by DocHolliday
Appealingly egalitarian, but I don't buy it. Or maybe I do but find it useless. The guy in the oversized suit and square-toed shoes is entitled to his opinion but there's no reason for me to put any stock in it. For my purposes, his tastes are not of equal value to Vox's.
The best we can do is seek out those with similar tastes and purposes. Part of what has happened to this forum, and effectively destroyed Andy's, is the misguided notion that a style forum, lowercase, must value all opinions and tastes equally. But that's not possible. There has to be some common ground, some basis for comparative discussion, because otherwise anything goes. And what's the point in discussing that?
I know that's point 1, and you don't want to discuss it, but I think the same thinking informs point 2. Our tastes are informed by certain things, and all we can do is seek out those with similar frames of reference.
I would agree to what you say here. I do think there's such a thing as "good taste", and that some people have it and others don't. When Vox doesn't like something that I like, or vice versa, I will at least look again and see if my impression changes, just like if a good friend whose taste in movies I respect likes a movie that I disliked, I would consider watching it again to see if my opinion changes.
But I don't think the existence of "good" taste invalidates 2). It may even strengthen it. I'll allow that "the rules" are not followed by most SF members, and that in general more rule-following would be a good thing. But at the same time, you won't have style like Vox just by following Vox's rules, because you would not have his good taste to guide you.
I guess one way to express what I'm trying to say is, good taste is too complicated to be boiled down to a parsimonious set of rules. Given this, at some point, if you want to have great style, you have to give up on memorizing rules and just try to develop your aesthetic sense.