Groupthink or Connoisseurs' Consensus?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Manton, Nov 20, 2008.

  1. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    The recent trainwreck on AAAC got me thinking.

    "Groupthink" is often criticized here, and more often cited elsewhere as evidence of our derangement.

    It is true, at least partially, that some things get a lot of love here while others are almost universally derided. But is that "groupthink" necessarily?

    Since I have been enjoying cooking analogies lately, I will continue with one. Gather 10 or 100 foodies in a room. Chances are 90% or more of them -- probably close to all of them -- are going to love foie gras. Is that "groupthink"? Or is there something inherent in the subject matter that leads a refined palate in that direction?

    As soon as one uses a phrase like "refined palate" one is out on a limb. What is "refined"? Who decides? Who excludes? Who is excluded? Where is the line?

    It is not easy to answer those questions. But it is conversely too easy to say "'Refined' has no meaning, it is all in the eye (or palate) of the beholder."

    Are there sartorial conventions/ratios/proportions/colors/patterns/shapes/textures/combinations, etc. that are somehow inherently more pleasing than others? Do the most sartorially inclined tend to gravitate toward those things? This is not to say that tastes at the top must be identical, or that the best dressed will inevitably all look alike. That is a silly strawman -- one I expect to see repeated, probably in this thread and certainly elsewhere.

    It is to ask, is there a common vocabulary that is hierarchical in nature? The same way that a bunch of restaurant critics might disagree as to their absolute favorite, and disagree violently as to the merits of this or that restaurant -- but tell them to produce a list of the 100 best, and rank them, and chances are those lists are going to look a lot alike.
     


  2. RJmanbearpig

    RJmanbearpig Senior member

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    The recent trainwreck on AAAC got me thinking.

    "Groupthink" is often criticized here, and more often cited elsewhere as evidence of our derangement.

    It is true, at least partially, that some things get a lot of love here while others are almost universally derided. But is that "groupthink" necessarily?

    Since I have been enjoying cooking analogies lately, I will continue with one. Gather 10 or 100 foodies in a room. Chances are 90% or more of them -- probably close to all of them -- are going to love foie gras. Is that "groupthink"? Or is there something inherent in the subject matter that leads a refined palate in that direction?

    As soon as one uses a phrase like "refined palate" one is out on a limb. What is "refined"? Who decides? Who excludes? Who is excluded? Where is the line?

    It is not easy to answer those questions. But it is conversely too easy to say "'Refined' has no meaning, it is all in the eye (or palate) of the beholder."

    Are there sartorial conventions/ratios/proportions/colors/patterns/shapes/textures/combinations, etc. that are somehow inherently more pleasing than others? Do the most sartorially inclined tend to gravitate toward those things? This is not to say that tastes at the top must be identical, or that the best dressed will inevitably all look alike. That is a silly strawman -- one I expect to see repeated, probably in this thread and certainly elsewhere.

    It is to ask, is there a common vocabulary that is hierarchical in nature? The same way that a bunch of restaurant critics might disagree as to their absolute favorite, and disagree violently as to the merits of this or that restaurant -- but tell them to produce a list of the 100 best, and rank them, and chances are those lists are going to look a lot alike.

    Groupthink would be if some foodie version of Manton said, "Foie gras and spalla foiegrasica are the best things in the world," and the other foodies adopted that viewpoint without personal experience or critical thinking.

    But most normal people couldn't tell the difference between foie gras and cat food. 95% of most men wouldn't touch foie gras. I for one eat cat food from JC Penney and anyone who denies it's just as good as foie gras is a snob.
     


  3. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt The Liberator Dubiously Honored

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    I had foie gras and catfood the other night. Cats eat tuna, right?
     


  4. RJmanbearpig

    RJmanbearpig Senior member

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    I had foie gras and catfood the other night. Cats eat tuna, right?

    The late RJ cat enjoyed tuna almost as much as lobster.
     


  5. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    The same way that a bunch of restaurant critics might disagree as to their absolute favorite, and disagree violently as to the merits of this or that restaurant -- but tell them to produce a list of the 100 best, and rank them, and chances are those lists are going to look a lot alike.

    Is this the kind of list where Le Bernadin often appears near the top?


    - B
     


  6. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt The Liberator Dubiously Honored

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    The late RJ cat enjoyed tuna almost as much as lobster.
    Did you chop it in a high end burr grinder for him?
     


  7. dopey

    dopey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    What I posted there:
    It is not a direct response to your post, but explains why there is more at work than just groupthink.
     


  8. grimslade

    grimslade Senior member

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    I am not going to weigh in on this.
     


  9. Spirit of 69

    Spirit of 69 Senior member

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    The recent trainwreck on AAAC got me thinking.


    Well I've missed that. I'm a semi-regular there so what thread(s) should I read for the implosion?[​IMG]
     


  10. Wes Bourne

    Wes Bourne Senior member

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    I think it's a bit of both, hopefully more of the latter than the former.
     


  11. NH_Clark

    NH_Clark Senior member

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    but aren't we susceptible to a "herding" phenomenon whereby like-minded are the predominant pack congregating and thus more apt to have consensus on ideas/topics/thoughts? Isn't that why most of us have "flocked" here at SF or AAAC? Not wanting to be "odd men out" we are more inclined to naturally seek that meeting space and/or forum that comforts us in our similarities? "Group think" is a natural derivative of this occurance.
     


  12. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    Can the snarky jerks whose IQs exceed 80 (you know who you are) please try to say something substantive?
     


  13. haganah

    haganah Senior member

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    I think for some people it's a weird man crush issue. If a couple of posters on here post, everyone loves what they wear. It's a bit like the Sartorialist - the people in the pictures can do no wrong. And then the folks with the man crushes start to emulate them, travel to the stores in foreign lands that their crush shops at.

    Perhaps after a while it becomes group think. It all starts with a weird man crush.

    I still don't get people on here talking about how they want black label suits and then they haven't even tried it on...that's purely group think.
     


  14. zjpj83

    zjpj83 Senior member

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    Groupthink would be if some foodie version of Manton said, "Foie gras and spalla foiegrasica are the best things in the world," and the other foodies adopted that viewpoint without personal experience or critical thinking.

    But most normal people couldn't tell the difference between foie gras and cat food. 95% of most men wouldn't touch foie gras. I for one eat cat food from JC Penney and anyone who denies it's just as good as foie gras is a snob.


    I disagree that you have to have personal experience with something in order to be an enthusiast and have a great deal of knowledge thereof. Many car historians, for instance, who know more than anyone about the history of classic 1960s Ferraris, don't actually own one. I can know that a canvased jacket is nicer than a fused jacket without having to own a canvased jacket.
     


  15. dopey

    dopey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I think for some people it's a weird man crush issue. If a couple of posters on here post, everyone loves what they wear. It's a bit like the Sartorialist - the people in the pictures can do no wrong. And then the folks with the man crushes start to emulate them, travel to the stores in foreign lands that their crush shops at. Perhaps after a while it becomes group think. It all starts with a weird man crush. I still don't get people on here talking about how they want black label suits and then they haven't even tried it on...that's purely group think.
    The proper term, coined here I believe, is: "effect" As in: I is a cause. You, M, are an effect. If I had to guess, I would say grimslade deserves the credit.
     


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