advanced vs overt

September 15, 2011
From Jason Hartley's "The Advanced Genius Theory":
Once you have achieved the Advanced state of mind, something amazing happens: you start to like everything. Not only will you appreciate Advanced Artists' most challenging works, but you'll also experience with an open mind the parts of pop culture that otherwise might have tormented you, such as "We Built This City," movies based on TV show, TV shows based on movies, radio commercials featuring two people pretending to have a casual conversation about a product, and Fox News.

What's more, though you will like everything, you won't necessarily lose the ability to discern between levels of quality. You can still have "good taste". It's just that the question becomes how much you like a work of art rather than whether you like it. This is by far superior to traditional good taste, which is predicated on what one rejects. The Advanced accept everything, including everything the Overt enjoy-acid jazz, abstract expressionism, French New Wave, NPR--but they won't ruin your party by insisting on playing music no one's ever heard of. So not only will Advancement give you back your favorite artists, help you enjoy the things you've always hated, and put you in touch with your true self, it will get you invited to more parties.
This book is one of the most enjoyable quick reads I've had this year. Hartley has a theory of Advancement (that he claims is 15 years in the making) arguing that great artists who appear to just lose it in their latter years may just be going Advanced... a form of genius that often looks a bit like selling out, and that stands in contrast to "Overt", art that's a bit too aware of what it's trying to do.

It's sometimes tough, though... one example given is this experiment with rap by Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys:

The book doesn't really argue that this is a good song, just that Wilson was at least on the right side of history at a time when many old rockers wouldn't consider rap actual music.

If nothing else, I'm all for the unironic enjoyment of things.
See the happy moron, He doesn't give a damn. I wish I were a moron, My God! Perhaps I am!
Dorothy Parker

What's funnier than a miffed boyfriend? A boyfriend that says that he's 'miffed'.