**Important Note: I wrote this in December 2019, weeks before Star Wars Episode 9 premiered. Episode 8 was trending at the time and everyone wanted to share their opinions. A majority did so in an aggressive manner. It drove passionate feelings out of me, and I wanted to say something, so I wrote this and posted it on Facebook. But I felt strongly that I should share it elsewhere, whether people like it or not. Please enjoy!
So... Star Wars: The Last Jedi is "trending" again. Why we are still in stunted discussion of the past vs. the future, I do not fully understand yet. From what I've seen, the main trend is that people actually LOVE it still. And the trending response is that those people are still WRONG.
*sighs* Listen... There is a lot I wish to say in a passionate manner, however I don't want to add to the junkyard of useless repitition. Because in this world, opinions are near impossible to share, let alone validate. But that doesn't mean I'll stop trying to go against "the system's norm." I thought I could maintain a bystander status, but if you know me, you know I hate staying quiet. I'll leave my own emotions out of it and have logic remain. I will do my best to provide examples that support both sides of the coin.
1) Let's talk about Art.
This is the Google definition- Art: the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power; works produced by human creative skill and imagination.
And this is the Google definition of "movie"- Movie: a story or event recorded by a camera as a set of moving images and shown in a theater or on television; a motion picture.
So, I think we can peacefully agree that storytelling is the oldest art form and has evolved wonderfully through time. In my opinion-- I'm sorry, I brought my opinion in. I promise there is one more at most. --movies are works of art. Storytelling+imagery+pictures; falls under the definition of art. Makes sense right?
Now apply "art" to the movie quote that follows:
“Comedy is subjective, isn't that what they say? All of you, the system that knows so much: you decide what’s right or wrong the same way you decide what’s funny or not.”
Remember that as we move onto the next thing.
2) Now, let's talk about Taste.
There are three main definitions for the noun Taste- 1. the sensation of flavor perceived in the mouth and throat on contact with a substance. 2. a person's liking for particular flavors; tendency to like and dislike certain things. (The third definition I found interesting, because I have a feeling it wasn't always used this way.) 3. the ability to discern what is of good quality or of a high aesthetic standard; conformity or failure to conform with generally held views concerning what is offensive or acceptable.
I didn't think that whenever we talk about "taste" somehow "judgment, discrimination, culture, decorum, propriety" would be considered synonyms. (It just goes to show how the world has changed when it comes to sharing opinions/taste. But of course, this is according to Google. According to the Internet. Which is our favorite ocean to drown in. Including mine...)
But let's return to the first two definitions and go with our taste in food. Science and psychology provides examples of how we develop our own taste. My main basis is from this article- Tastes differ: How taste preferences develop (This was published Dec. 2011, so I'm sure this information has evolved since then. Also, the quotes are scattered throughout, so check out the article if you are interested.) Here are some snippets that explain why everyone's tastes are different.
"Very few of our taste preferences are biologically preset. Much rather they are linked with some sort of experience... Human breast milk contains numerous aroma compounds the mother takes in through her diet... The taste of breast milk may also impact on the later preferences of the newborn. American researchers, for example, showed that neonates whose mothers had consumed carrot juice during pregnancy and weaning, preferred a carrot-flavoured cereal during infancy when compared to a control group whose mothers had not consumed carrot juice..."
"Once a flavour or food is accepted, this can also influence the preference for and acceptance of new flavours or foods. This so-called flavour-flavour-learning means that new foods are more likely to be accepted when combined with known dishes rather than eaten on their own... If the sensory properties of a food are linked with negative sensations or reactions (nausea, vomiting during or after consumption), an aversion against this food develops that may remain for the rest of one’s life... Children often like foods they have eaten in pleasant situations and reject dishes linked to something negative."
Basically, everyone can have unique preferences in flavors and foods since everyone experiences life and growth differently. (It also validates my evaluation of why nearly everyone drinks coffee in support of the third definition of taste: "Coffee is a drink that is only liked upon repeated consumption. Often one approaches the bitter taste very carefully with the help of milk and sugar. Repeated exposure is usually required to actually enjoy coffee, and the development of such a taste preference has been coined “mere exposure effect”. This means that only foods or drinks are liked which one consumes on a regular basis and which therefore have become an acquired taste.")
3) Now, I'm sure you are all confused as to why I brought up a bunch of random definitions and quotes. And how they could possibly correlate with the predicament of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Well, it is a movie, falling under the category of a work of art. It can be interpretted uniquely across the globe. Put two people born from the same womb together and recieve two different perspectives. So, if it is art, is it absolute fact that it is good/bad? When art, like comedy, is subjective? The only fact attached to art is that there is not a determined wrong way to create.
Transition to taste: it is developed through life. We are all raised feeding off of the contrasting flavors of our environments. And while exploring new foods in life, we naturally compare them to our familiar and favorite flavors. So, does it make sense why we are insistent on comparing one film to another? Where one might feel familiar and safe while the other might feel new which can automatically mean dangerous? Does that translate as garbage when it can be someone else's treasure? I don't mean to sound accusatory; I understand, it is natural. I don't like mushrooms, but that doesn't mean my mom isn't allowed to.
We move onto the third definition of taste, which I have translated to mean "opinion." When I see people sharing their opinions, especially on this movie, "taste" is used as a disguised label. A label and demand to conform to a general consensus. Because it is "unacceptable" to like/hate The Last Jedi. And those who do/do not "have no taste."
I refuse to share my own feelings of this movie. Mostly in fear, because I am one that is prepared to alter myself in order to follow along with everyone else. But I am breaking that habit for my own sake. I don't think I want to participate in a world where I will be labeled because I experienced mushrooms and movies differently.
In other words, no one should have to alter their opinions in order to fit in. No matter which side you stand. There isn't a need to keep drinking coffee because everyone else is. (Unless of course human safety and rights are involved. Then we may need to discuss further.)
I digress from the main subject, so I am prepared to finish my essay.
Art is subjective. There is no right or wrong way of expressing ourselves. Every life is a Rorschach. Not everyone sees the same thing in the ink.
Taste is a development. Not just for food. For clothes, furniture, connection, and of course, movies. Often, we don't know why we like the things we like. But it makes us human. Comparison is natural but not preferred. And it should not be confined to a general consensus or by mere-exposure.
Therefore, it is okay to see things differently. Conflicting opinions are good to have. Otherwise, interesting/engaging conversations and connections would be nonexistent. But the best way to connect and accept humans, not just creative stories, is by recognizing the flaws... And loving anyway. The worst way is to treat contrast as an illness and your single point of view as fact.
When we fall to the latter, it's okay. It's natural for humans to not understand new things at first. And what we don't currently understand is scary. Let's learn together, shall we?
And finally... The Last Jedi is a MOVIE. Not World War III.
Thank you for reading. Hope you enjoyed. Have a good life. Please be kind! May the Force be with You! 🤘