Originally Posted by Kolstad

Truth revealed, context is so important, YES.

A contrasting viewpoint...

Context is clearly important. "Folsum Prison" as a time and place comes to mind.

However, one can imagine a fiery orator running for congress in the antebellum South delivering an impassioned speech from some courthouse steps that he had delivered days before to a klan rally. To incite the crowd to support him, his speech might have some "artistic" elements. He might be well received over a wide area, given the antebellum context. He might have won by a landslide in 1858.

Would an enthusiastic and broad reception make his speeches great?

As an orator, Hitler was profoundly effective in post WW1 Germany. He was a painter and could paint a speech against the background of an angry and frustrated German society to fire up a crowd. Were his speeches "great?"

Maybe some historians think so. For me, crowd response is not the ultimate measure of greatness. Something intrinsic in the way that the principles of art apply to a work of art make it truly great...or not.

I remember exactly where I was the first time I heard, "I hope You Dance" on the radio. I was in my car, in Houston traffic, on the loop. The song is sappy and full of sappy platitudes, but to my sensibilities...a profound work of art in the way that it blends the music, with the sentiment, with the actual words chosen. Imo...it has few equals. Not because of how many people liked it, but because of how artistic it is.


I've heard some rap, that I thought was real good and made nice word choices, had good juxtapositions, and manicured them to the beat ingeniously. But, only a few and I didn't take note of them, to be able to reference them here, because wrap isn't my thing.

But I've heard all sorts of rap that was popular from artists like Jayzee and Kayne West that had all sorts of popularity and build up, but lacked any artistic elements that made it great in any way...to my ear...other than having a broad audience....imho.

Another note on context..."Popular Music" is largely intended to be a "beer drunk." Sometimes, it's even about being drunk on beer. Calling it "great art" is a stretch most of the time.

Disclaimer: the above thoughts and sensibilities are worth what you paid to read them. wink