So I was wrong about being done with the Puppies posts, because I just had the surprising pleasure of watching Brad Torgersen, self-avowed conservative, go Full Post-Modern. Pics included to show I’m not making this up.
“Gents, thing is, there is *no* objective standard. None. Pretense to the contrary, is just that: pretense.
Again, no objective standard. Just taste. If people with taste similar to yours can vote in sufficient numbers, then your taste prevails. If those with a different taste can vote in sufficient numbers, your taste does not prevail.”
“Storytelling has no standards.
The story either resonates with many, or it resonates with few.”
(in response to “Any writer should be able to judge a work’s quality based on professional criteria. Even if it’s not to your taste, you should have the ability to tell if it was well written or not. This is a vital skill for us. How do you get through critiques without it? How did you learn your trade without it?“)
“Folks, really, taste is not objective. There is no objective standard at work here. Just the competition of tastes.”
(in response to “Taste is subjective. Professional quality is objective. I will certainly agree that there are degrees of quality, but to say that ‘there are no standards’ is nonsense.“)
“Actually, no, “professional quality” is not objective either. … There are no boxes to check. No owner’s manual. There is only resonance. And resonance cannot be qualified nor quantified.”
(in response to “Why be a writer if you don’t think it’s a craft worth mastering? If you don’t think that a story can be honed and made better? People can argue about art and which story is “better” than another in the artistic sense all they like (and argue in good faith, I think), but the craft of writing is without question something that we can assess, and find wanting.“)
“Quality is in the eye of the beholder … in the end, there is nothing objective about it. … Nobody gets away from it. Because there is no objective measurement. Just audience and reader satisfaction.”
(in response to “So Brad, your writing isn’t any better now than it was when you were writing for years and years and selling nothing?“)
“you’d have to ask my readers. I freely admit to having no grasp of my own quality, now vs. when I broke into print in 2010 … Am I “better” than in 1992? Well, sales are sales…”
Now, I don’t want to say Brad doesn’t have any point at all, certainly much of art appreciation is subjective. But to see him go full “There are no standards, there is only resonance!” is delightful.
In retrospect, I guess it was kinda inevitable.
I expect that for Sad Puppies 4, Brad will give us an address to which we can send anything we had published in the previous year, and he will then pick five works at random to go on the slate, since everything is equally good and it’s all just subjective taste. We’ll re-name the Hugos “The Rando’s” and enjoy it as the biggest piece of Post Modern Performance Art of this decade. It’ll be like we’re all in the 90s again! :)