Taste is incomprehensible

Other than the recent stub, I haven’t really been writing much: I have had to deal with more pressing matters, such as the choice that would dictate all my future endeavors. Writing was among the least of my priorities, if you catch my drift.

I have lately been reading, however, and within the past two weeks (barring my failure with BarthesS/Z), I’ve finished reading Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy and a textbook on neuroanatomy. While more insights could be obtained from Jude the Obscure with most people (and it would also probably be more relevant to them) I rediscovered something in my choice of reading Neuroanatomy instead of other literary texts: in a statement, taste is simply incomprehensible. While I would like to have blown my horn and say that I did it in preparation for medical school (hyuk hyuk), the truth was that I purchased it and read it primarily because the cover appealed to me (it was purple). As most people say, don’t judge books by their cover. There is some truth, however, in that despite my utter lack of understanding with the content as I read the book, it has prepared me for the grueling task of reading a few hours everyday, something I would have to be very familiar with when medical school comes, and something that is currently alien to me (I haven’t exactly been an excellent student in university). For all the reading that I’ve done I could honestly say that I only understood about 10% of the book; and that may even be a gross overstatement. Despite that, at least I could also honestly say that it has somewhat contributed to me honing my patience and perseverance in reading more academic texts.

I think the same can be said with regard to my tastes in anime. I do think that Honey and Clover, Cowboy Bebop and Ocean Waves are great anime, and a lot of people would agree, but I also appreciate and like ToLoveRu, something that erudite and elevated individuals would dismiss as rubbish. I sometimes prognosticate wrongly, like what I did with Toradora (by comparing it to Honey and Clover). I can even bear finishing series like Gin-iro no Olynssis, and I think I’m among the few people who did. It’s ultimately puerile and stupid, not to mention hypocritical trying to comprehend the tastes of others; yet I admit I am sometimes that. Biases just inherently exist within us, I guess, and Roland Barthes explained (in the twenty pages I’ve attempted to understand in S/Z) why subjectivity and objectivity don’t really exist for the most part in reading, or in the appreciation of media: the I who reads (or watches, or listens) is himself a compendium of texts (or music, or video, or movies, or anime). How he perceives a text is grounded in the texts that he has encountered before. Furthermore, reading (or any appreciation of media), isn’t actually a parasitic act. We also write something as we read it. This is why no two texts are appreciated by the same way with different persons. My reading of the neuroanatomy text was merely to complete what I’ve started and simply was due to an irrational impulse; to an aspiring neuroanatomist, however, the text may be a godsend. The difference in appreciation is among what ultimately makes us human.

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8 Responses to “Taste is incomprehensible”

  1. Asperger's Anime Blogger Says:

    Taste is subjective, but why then are there facts?

    Nobody but me really understands my love of Osamu Tezuka manga and anime where I live, but then again nobody understands why Dragon Ball: Origins is far more justified in being controversial than Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars.

    And nobody likes Hyakko quite like me… and my brother will never understand why I love anime because he hates it…

  2. Ryan A Says:

    the cover appealed to me

    Interestingly, this is something I don’t see often. A fundamental attraction (fantastic), even if it may have been a bad judging of book-to-cover. Seriously tough reading if you ask me, since most of the stuff I read aren’t literary but mathematic/scientific proofs/papers, which are for the most part, finite in meaning.

    Subjectivity is innate, I agree. How he perceives a text is grounded in the texts that he has encountered before. But isn’t this what we strive to avoid? As difficult as it may be, does starting with a blank slate towards a work yield a different experience? hmmm, or a variance in subjectivity? Not sure if you’ve seen anything on the new season, but a certain series was getting major compare/contrast to a previous series, but I (along with TheBigN) found it rather silly because it was c/c needing forcing to fit the container… given it’s not as offending with media….

    Now fitting persons in light of another… sadly, the power of loss and emotion is difficult to contain.

    It is interesting to ponder ^_^ Thanks for the writeup. Cheers Mike!

    @J, perhaps your brother hates it because you love it? It happens… not just with media.

  3. Sorrow-kun Says:

    Taste is an incredible complex matter, but is it incomprehensible? I don’t think so, the word “incomprehensible” implies that it’s impermeable to even the most intense thinking.

    I’m not really in the right frame of mind to draw up a comprehensive argument on taste at this minute, but I do think that, whether or not true “objectivity” exists (and I daresay it probably doesn’t, since it implies a separation of the human and human nature), it is an ideal worth aspiring to, as far as a judgemental set of criteria is concerned. Because, if we judge things purely on the subjective, then it’s easy enough to come to the conclusion that something like Mushishi is just as worthwhile as something like To Love-Ru if you happened to find them equally enjoyable, even though Mushishi contains observable qualities that transcend simply enjoyment. That kind of thinking makes me nervous.

  4. zerojjay Says:

    you’re going to graduate?

    this explains so much things like why you like toradora… BECAUSE UR OLD

  5. C.C. Says:

    Just gonna leave a short comment since I need to be getting to bed:

    I’m really glad someone sees it the same way I do, it is rather frustrating at times when people don’t consider the natural differences between two opinions. I’d say more but I must catch some sleep, I may possibly comment again later if I get the chance!

    @ zeroj; mike isn’t old wtf.

  6. Michael Says:


    Facts are something undebatable. Actually, the best way of proving any points is through facts: whenever people say Haruhi Suzumiya is a good anime technically, they have the video and the quality to prove it, and I would agree with them, because it is both factual and correct. Taste is a matter of opinion, and opinion is different with every person. That’s actually where contention arises.


    That’s practically why there is disagreement. It’s hard to fit one’s opinions into another’s ‘container.’ I’m watching a lot of series this season, but my favorites are Eden of the East and Cross Game. Man, Mitsuru Adachi is awesome … damn.


    Yes, I understand that there has to be some ideal, because otherwise it’s all just going to go to shit. I do understand what you mean. 🙂


    I already graduated.

    WTF I’m not old. Yet.



    Heh, all I do is have fun with chat rooms, but I do understand the fundamental difference of opinion among all people. 😀


    Oh well. I’m following up stuff before entering medical school, so I can’t really sit down and think about posts right now. See you all later! 😀

  7. Z Says:

    this is an obscure post which did not appeal to my taste.

  8. GTA Chinatown wars Says:

    I saw this in the reviews and it is the one of the best psp games in all time. I’ve got to try this

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