Not A Taste Test

A very interesting article on Christianity and good taste, which makes references to C. S. Lewis and G. K. Chesterton.


6 comments on “Not A Taste Test

  1. David A says:

    The response done D.M. Dutcher touches onto various interesting points.

    I agree that taste is more about morality too. The author of the other article, seems to forget about ocassion of sin, and scandal. And the effect of media in people (something I observed a lot in recent years, I could write a small book, If I organized these ideas more), but I guess he is protestant.

    Other thing I noticed, is something similar to certain attitudes present in the modern “art” scene. People is forced to like ugly paintings because they wan to be perceived as cultured, and embracing… how sad. Modern art is a sham. A scam, a fraud perpetrated on the Art world, at the expense of the isolation and exile of figurative art. It wasn’t an isolated case, I think. It was supported by certain ideologies and philosophies too. It wouldn’t be too far-fetched to see a gnostic connection too, after all, the dislike or hatred for the Creation (“the work of the Demiurge”) is present. Thankfully, there are still institutes that preserve and transmit the Figurative Art Tradition, and expose what “modern art” really is.

    Open mind, something that has the meaning of embracing things… a lack of judgment, or analysis. A concept that enjoys certain prestige. I find that attitude troubling. Speaking of what I have near me, probably, I’m more cultured that lots of the “open minded” people I know. But guess which ones are better perceived and benefit more from certain expectations.

    Now, on to something that permeates both articles. Christian cultural products.

    Is a phenomenon more present in protestantism, but in Catholicism is there too.

    Why some of these Christian products are sub-par? or like cheap knock-offs of secular pop culture?

    Decades and centuries ago, we (Catholics), were the producers of Art and Culture par excellence. What happened?

    I think is linked to the overall fall of the Christendom. Luther, Descartes, Rousseau. The French Revolution, XIX secularism, anticatholic societies and goverments, Antonio Gramsci, Wilhelm Reich, Herbert Marcuse. Some of the Media and Academia. These events, people, ideologies, concepts, have eroded what is left. And the crisis, obviously has been internal too. According to Mons. Athanasius Schneider we are at the fourth crisis of the Church.

    Now back to the productions, why these are bad?

    I think there are various things involved.

    Lack of artistic formation.
    Trying to copy things superficially.
    Trying to be overtly preachy in the majority of productions.

    (Secularists were more subtle, and that worked so well for them, just look how decadent is society now, and how media had influence on that. That doesn’t mean to not talk about Faith, but, I think there are better ways to convey a message)

    And Just plain laziness, I guess.

    What do you think?

    How we can make better “moral substitutes”?


    • A great comment! Concerning an open mind, I agree with what you have to say about the idea of an open mind having devolved into being so non-judgmental as to be empty headed. Prejudices are the mark of an educated mind: not every idea is equally valid. Be that as it may, correct open mindedness is still a virtue, though more important in certain fields than others. For example, the British might have won the Battle of Jutland had they outfitted their ships with a primitive targeting computer rather than scoffed at it; but, one can be safely close minded when one hears people challenging the dictum “it is never right to harm the righteous or the innocent.”

      Modern art has also never made sense to me. Bad artists have been able to hoodwink people who do not wish to appear uncultured for decades.

      I do think the main problems with Christian fiction is that too many are mass produced for certain genres (as D. M. Dutcher pointed out) and that they can be overly preachy. Concerning the former, nothing can be done. How can one stop a writer from producing writing which she feels will be lucrative? Concerning the latter, the important thing to remember is Dostoyevsky’s famous “Krasota spaset mir”–beauty will save the world. As Aristotle rightly says, happiness is the goal of human beings. Unlike Aristotle, however, modern man thinks certain moral conventions are inimical to happiness. So, they fly from moral sermons whether they be religious or philosophical.

      What Christian writers must do is show people that happiness, joy, and beauty are found in morality and religion. But, moderns fear Christianity more than anything else–even C. S. Lewis claims to have been the most reluctant convert in England and T. S. Eliot paints the modern attitude very well when he states “fear death by water,” i.e. Baptism. So, Christian authors and artists must draw people into the net of the Church by showing them how beautiful and joyful morality is and how inimical to happiness vice of all kinds is. They need to be impressed gradually with the fact that God is the friend and facilitator of their happiness and not opposed to it.

      To do that, it is also necessary for an artist or refine his art in such a way as “to be all things to all men so that a few at least might be saved.” One needs to borrow certain conventions and methods of secular literature, but infuse them with a Catholic worldview. And it can be done. Bp. Jean-Pierre Camus, the spiritual son of St. Francis de Sales, wrote best sellers of knightly romances by doing just that with the goal of showing what a real romance was like compared to the immoral trash being produced at the time.


  2. David A says:


    Sorry for taking so long to get around answering this comment.

    A correct open mindedness, would be examining things, but not necessarily assimilating or accepting them. Discernment.

    Yes, I’m reading abook about modern art by a Catholic author, there, he mentions a confession by Picasso, more or less saying that, and comparing himself and the current state of art to the old masters.

    I agree about the importance of beauty. After watching some episodes of Tari Tari, I thought about the potential of similar but better works into getting to people’s hearts and helping them discard the tgings they have been consuming for years… a replacement, something uplifting, instead of products catering to their unhealthy obsessions.

    Good point.

    Thanks for the example. That is what I’m talking about too.


    • You’re welcome! Don’t worry about responding to all my replies. As the host of this site, it’s my job to respond to all of yours! 🙂 Thank you for that additional information about Tari Tari. I might have to watch that in the near future.


      • David A says:

        You’re welcome!

        Save the bathing scene in ep 3, and the partial undressing in ep 7, is mostly fanservice devoid. (Unless you count the beach scenes, but nothing like strange poses and the typical stuff seen in beach scenes from other anime).

        This is one of the endings:

        One of my favorite ending songs, and the montage of images has some nice ones, depicting various hobbies and activities.


      • That’s not bad. Good music always does much to increase the merit of show.


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