Friday, February 10, 2012

Show me complete objectivity and I'll show you...I don't know, something pretty awesome

Literary Blog Hop

It's time again for the Literary Blog Hop, hosted by The Blue Bookcase. And oh, hey . . . look at me participating again!

The question:

In the epilogue for Fargo Rock City, Chuck Klosterman writes:
"It's always been my theory that criticism is really just veiled autobiography; whenever someone writes about a piece of art, they're really just writing about themselves."
Do you agree?

Why, yes, I do agree. I see truth in this statement because I don't think individual opinion can ever be separated from the individual. In short, complete objectivity doesn't exist.

Objectivity isn't in this picture? It must have stepped out.
When I was just a bright-eyed student in journalism school, my opinion about having opinions was that you shouldn't. And for some reason, I thought being sans opinion was actually feasible. Journalists, more than others, are expected to suppress judgment. And we do all kinds of crazy things to appear objective. Some journalists, for example, choose not to register with a particular political party (thus sacrificing their right to vote in the primaries) because that information can be accessed by the public . . . which means it can be used to fuel an argument against them if they ever write a story that appears to favor one party over another.

Objectivity is certainly a necessary and worthy goal in all fields, not just journalism, but in my experience the reporters who most stubbornly claim objectivity tend to be the most likely to let their personal opinions sneak into print. If you want to take a shot at being objective, you have to confront and accept your personal views. They will inevitably color your view of things, but you'll be aware of how they are changing your perception and in a better position to control the outcome.

If the elusive nature of objectivity holds true in journalism, which is a science, I imagine it runs rampant in art criticism. I mean, art is meant to elicit emotion . . . and what's more subjective than that?


  1. I agree with you also.  I'm yet to find someone who thinks they are entirely objective when writing reviews.  :)

  2. Chuck Klosterman is the type of person who starts sentence with "It's always been my theory that" to introduce some shit he thought of five minutes ago.