Every time I see a Puppy bring up Rachel Swirsky’s “If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love” to use it as an example of “bad message fiction that we’re fighting against” I feel embarrassed for them. Like, I’m trying to cut you guys some slack, but you’re making it really hard on me. So let’s have a quick word about Dinosaur, the Mona Lisa, and Art.
The Mona Lisa is considered by the art world to be a masterpiece. I personally don’t see what the big deal is. To me it’s no better than anything else painted in the last four hundred years by anyone with a canvas and a few years of practice. But there’s a refrain among art teachers/critics/masters – “If you don’t like the Mona Lisa, that is a commentary on your taste in art, not on the quality of the Mona Lisa.” And I accept that. To demand that they respect my opinion would be akin to a five-year-old demanding that Pixie Stix be seriously considered in any gourmet culinary competition. The five-year-old has objectively bad taste, and their demands are laughable. Likewise, I have extremely unrefined taste in painted art. When just about everyone in the art world who spends tons of effort on art and knows their shit tells me I’m wrong, I simply accept that I’m wrong. The Mona Lisa is great, I’m not sure why and I don’t care for it, but whatever.
Dinosaur is likewise a masterpiece. I didn’t vote for it to win the Hugo last year because I’m not a fan of poetry, and because I don’t like being hurt in that way. I enjoyed Selkie Stories far more. However Dinosaur is undeniably a masterfully crafted work of art. I am in awe of the skill and talent it displays, and the effectiveness of its thrust. This is simply, objectively, a very good piece of work. To say otherwise is to admit that you haven’t developed the ability to appreciate it. It reflects on *your taste*, not on the work. And if you keep hollering over and over about how the art world should acknowledge that it is bad art, rather than saying “Oh, much like the Mona Lisa and Pixie Stix, I must simply not understand”, it makes you look like someone who is aggressively and intentionally uncultured.
I have no problem with people not caring about certain esoteric artistic things. I buy cheap wine. I don’t like the Mona Lisa. I dislike caviar. But I certainly don’t go around to the people who are into those things and keep demanding “How can you explain crap like the Mona Lisa being held in such high regard? Obviously you guys are just SJWs pushing an agenda who don’t know what the masses actually enjoy! I demand you represent our views instead! More Taylor Swift!”
So, seriously, stop embarrassing yourselves, and stop alienating those people who want to be on your side but actually understand what makes Dinosaur so great. Accept that just because you don’t understand it, doesn’t mean it isn’t amazing.