The distinction between 'high' and 'low' art is examined in this episode of 'Secret Languages' with a celebration of popular culture in our everyday lives.
Writer and presenter Joe McArdle believes many of us are dominated by man-made conventions and self imposed rules. Actor Charlie Roberts recites from Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘In the Neolithic Age’ which concludes there is no right or wrong in literary efforts.
Keeping with this theme, McArdle feels many people fear they are not speaking correctly, but a newsreader may not speak any better than the man on the street. This is exemplified by Pat Kenny who reads a fake news bulletin followed by RTÉ Radio 2 DJ Jimmy Greeley playing requests for listeners during his radio show.
McArdle concludes there is no one standard language, there are only dialects. He applies the same theory to culture and says
There is no standard culture or artistic language, there are only dialects.
Bad taste is good taste for some, they are just using a different dialect.
Taste can influence criticism and appreciation and taste is a slippery as mercury, as elusive as a butterfly and as changeable as the Irish weather.
What is now considered popular or poor taste was often seen as good taste.
Today’s popular or poor taste was very often yesterday’s good taste and today’s low brow was often yesterday’s high brow.
Class distinction is the reason why things go from being in or out. An elite group decides what hangs in galleries and they have aesthetic, commercial and social reasons behind their choices.
‘Secret Languages : All I Want To Do Is Dream’ was broadcast on 16 February 1982. The producer and director is Tony MacMahon.