Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Bad taste - a parable

“I say, you!” bawled a fat ox in a stall to a lusty young ass who was braying outside; “the like of that is not in good taste!”

“In whose good taste, my adipose censor?” inquired the ass, not too respectfully.

“Why — h’m — ah! I mean it does not suit me. You ought to bellow.”

“May I inquire how it happens to be any of your business whether I bellow or bray, or do both — or neither?”

“I cannot tell you,” answered the critic, shaking his head despondingly; “I do not at all understand  it. I can only say that I have been accustomed to censure all discourse that differs from my own.”

“Exactly,” said the ass; “you have sought to make an art of impertinence by mistaking preferences for principles. In ‘taste’ you have invented a word incapable of definition, to denote an idea impossible of expression; and by employing in connection therewith the words ‘good’ and ‘bad,’ you indicate a merely subjective process in terms of an objective quality. Such presumption transcends the limit of the merely impudent, and passes into the boundless empyrean of pure cheek!”

At the close of this remarkable harangue, the bovine critic was at a loss for language to express his disapproval. So he said the speech was in bad taste.

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