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Acquired tastes

May 3, 2012

I think people should start using the concept of “acquired tastes” outside of food and drink. A lot of styles of music, writing, etc. are initially abrasive, but really good when you get used to them. When people fail to acknowledge that, they fall into either elitism/hipsterism (“I always liked X, because I have refined taste”) or conspiracy-theory populism (“no one really likes X, they just pretend to”). Either way, people are missing out on stuff they might enjoy.

Everyone finds their first taste of coffee or beer or whiskey to be kind of rough, but everyone knows that you can get used to these tastes and grow to enjoy them. No one goes around after that first sip declaring “no one really likes this! They’re just pretending to, to impress people!” Yet people say analogous things about books and music all the time.

‎(Clarification: When I say that elitism/hipsterism makes people miss out on stuff, I mean it makes *other* people miss out on stuff. Like, say the hipsters are going on about their new favorite band. “Dude, Mutilated Gnostic Rabbit is the shit!” So you try listening to a Mutilated Gnostic Rabbit song, and it sounds all distorted and screechy and terrible. And so you may think, “well, I guess these people and I just have really different taste.” But what the hipsters won’t tell you is that they, too, found MGR’s style abrasive at first, and they had to listen to it for a while before they started to notice its subtle artistry, etc. etc.)

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