Friday, October 26, 2007

De gustibus...

I remember a special kind of disdain that the mother of a childhood friend used to utter. Anything that did not meet with her standards simply wasn't 'Christian'. Later I met people whose demean for another was that he was not 'Socialist', not a 'Scientist' and these days of course there are those that are not exactly 'Jews' or 'Zionists'.

With all that we assume the quality to strive for, the predicate we need in order to excel as a human being we have a hard time to define what it is. In the acclaim, however, someone does not deserve that label or meet that standard, or possess that quality, we indulge, heartily. Thus making the finer distinctions between mere human beings and the achieved specimen.

The most elusive of the aspirations and no less weapon in our war against the lesser of our peers is Taste. Surely, it can be no good person, if he has no taste and conversely we assume, or like or hope to think of ourselves that we do and thus earn membership of the salt of the earth. When did taste become such a treasured commodity? Have we ever been able to define it, or is it, maybe even more so, of those qualities that we can only identify where it is absent? Listen to and begin to find the answer with the latest edition of BBC's In Our Time.