Humans have a really annoying habit of dismissing that which they don't understand. I don't know if it's instinct or ego, but it's damn near universal. And it's really unfortunate, because it means they stop learning. Worse yet, they deride those who do learn and they stand in the way of intellectual advancement.
It's a strange and paradoxical thing. If you ask most folks to objectively and dispassionately evaluate their knowledge, they'll have no problem admitting there are folks in the world who know more than they do about most any subject. (The few who won't are to be shunned for one's own self-protection—their hubris is so great that they should always carry a lightning rod.)
I've never met anyone who was so smart they thought there was nothing more for them to learn. But there are people so dumb that they think so. I'm pretty sure none of them are reading this post. Honestly, is there anyone within eyeshot who thinks they know more than everyone else in the world about any subject (outside their sole, personal life, natch)? That's a rhetorical question.
By the same token, is there anyone here who really thinks that only art that has mass appeal for the "common man" is worthwhile, and all the rest is a fraud? I sincerely doubt it, too, unless someone really does think classical music, opera and ballet are con games. It's objectively provable that only a handful of a percentage of the population cares for any of these, and only some fraction of those actually understand them.
Okay, so let's take it as given that probably no one within the readership really thinks they know it all or truly believes that art is only for entertaining the masses. Can we consense on that?
Then why are any of you folks dismissing art you don't understand or don't appreciate as worthless?! Huh, riddle me that!
I've got my own answer. Deep within all of us is an Inner Yahoo. Some sort of proto-hominid vestige, a pink monkey syndrome. It's strange—better chase it off, for the good of the flock.
I'm not immune. I mentioned in a comment that by and large I don't like classical music. I think opera is simply silly. I don't get ballet at all; it goes completely past me to the point that explanations of it just sound like nonsense to me.
But that doesn't bring out my Inner Yahoo. You know what does?
Country & Western music.
My I.Y. thinks it's just dumb beyond belief, annoying as all hell, and a worthless waste of people's times, appreciated only by folks slightly more evolved than Neanderthals.
See, my I.Y.'s just as intolerant as yours. So what's the difference between thee and me? I know it's just my Inner Yahoo, and so I tell it to go to hell instead of trumpeting its ignorant prejudices to the world. Ol' I.Y.'s trying to make me look like a fool and I won't let it.
Well, I hereby liberate you all! Now you are aware of the demon within. Awareness is power; you don't have to let it out.
Featured Comment by Tom: "Too Long text, didn't read. Probably about something I allready know, anyway. :-)"
Featured Comment by John Frendreiss: "While I never knew its name before, I’ve been aware of my Inner Yahoo for quite some time. (It’s a distant cousin to my Inner Spoiled Rotten Brat, but that’s a whole other subject.) The worst thing about the Inner Yahoo is its ability to rise to the surface at the most inappropriate times, causing me to wreck perfectly good conversations by saying things that are amazingly idiotic. Usually, even I’m stunned. As the stupidity passes my lips, I know it's happening, but by then it’s too late. While the I.Y. slinks away back to its home (which I’m quite sure is near the middle of my body, in the back) I’m left standing in the uncomfortable silence, painfully aware of the furtive glances darting between those I’ve just offended. In that one mad moment, I have become: The Outer Yahoo. No matter how lucid and intelligent my repartee may have been up to that point, my forehead suddenly grows a few inches taller, bits of food materialize on my chin, and I develop a case of flatulence that’s positively deafening.
"Fortunately, experience has taught me to recognize the pending onset of the I.Y.’s influence and I quickly put my defenses into action. When I feel the I.Y. is about to have one of its shining moments, I simply close my mouth. I’m not always fast enough, but it’s getting away with less and less as each year passes.
"As a final thought, my I.Y. has asked me to point out that rap music is totally stupid."
Featured Comment by Sal Santamaura: "Not everyone is willing to suppress their Inner Yahoo. Buddy Rich shared Ctein's IY trigger. Reportedly, when being admitted to the hospital shortly before his death, Rich replied to a question about allergies by saying 'country music, ma'am, just country.' "
Featured Comment by Michael: "I have found remarkable value in C&W music. When I played it backward I got my truck back, my wife back, even my dog back."
Featured Comment by Lars Clausen: "Here's another angle: Maybe the art world has become (over I can't say how long) similar to the stock market, in that it feeds on its own predictions of what will become valuable. If people invest in art not because they like it, but because they think it will be worth more down the road than they pay for it now, it's no longer a question of understanding the art, but of understanding the art world. Total disconnect. Your feelings of whether a piece of art is 'good' may be right or wrong, but for pricing purposes they may well be irrelevant. The value of art is what somebody is willing to pay for it. Such a market (and I'm not saying that all art is treated that way) is something to stay away from unless you have extremely good salesman skills. Like day trading, it's a pyramid scheme that most people will lose money participating in. Notice that it is not required that the participants are aware of the scheming for such a scheme to be successfull. As long as enough people agree that a blurry photo of shit is worth a lot, it will be worth a lot. If they stop thinking it's worth a lot, the last buyer will be left with a blurry photo of shit that's worth...."