My favorite cheese is Foxglove, from Tulip Tree Creamery in Indianapolis. This is a washed rind cheese. For those unfamiliar with washed rind cheeses, just know that they are STINKY! Foxglove is not a cheese for the faint of heart. In fact, the moment you open it, all those of faint heart are liable to run from the room. It’s that pungent. And it’s not for everyone. But I love it! Spread some of that onto demi-baguette slices, and I’m in heaven.
Personal taste is a weird thing, whether it’s taste in cheese, art, music, or books. Is taste a good barometer of quality? America’s bestselling beer is Bud light. Does that mean it’s the best beer? (I’m not even sure Bud Light is beer. I’m not even sure it’s potable.) According to Wikipedia, the Beatles are the bestselling musical artists of all time. Does that mean they are the best? (Within the world of pop-rock, probably yes, but is their music better than Mozart’s?)
If personal taste is too subjective, then what is a better way to judge good-better-best? Are there objective ways to measure art? Are there absolute standards of goodness which can be used to compare The Beatles to Mozart? Andy Warhol to Rembrandt? Foxglove to Cheez Whiz?
I enjoy philosophical discussions, and I especially enjoy philosophizing about art. It’s one of the reasons I like conceptual art so much. There’s an old line that says, “If you have to explain a joke, it ain’t funny.” Maybe not immediately, but sometimes more lastingly funny. In the case of art, sometimes the explanation is the best part.
But my intention with this post isn’t to answer deep philosophical questions; it is actually to acknowledge the limits of such questions. In any given situation, there is an amount of time—sometimes lengthy, sometimes nearly nonexistent—during which I can think about it, but then there comes a time when I must act. Especially as a creator, I can easily philosophize myself into inaction, but unless at some point I stop thinking and start doing, then the creating isn’t going to happen.
As for cheese: If I need a snack for a bunch of people to enjoy while watching a baseball game, Cheez Whiz with Bugles is the way to go. But if I don’t care how badly I stink up the room, then bring on the Foxglove!