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On having good taste

2 min read

I’ve heard a lot of variations of the quote, “you can’t teach taste” over the years, and haven’t thought much of it. Taste in design, in home decor, in good food, in art — it’s seemed obvious that some people are more attuned than others. Tastes are different, but some people have strong tastes and others do not.

But, of course, what is considered to be good taste is inherently about in-groups and out-groups. Why do people talk more about Paris and Rome, and less so about Seoul, Bangkok, or Istanbul? Why is Restoration Hardware revered over more accessible furniture stores (or Black-owned outlets like Ilé Ilà)?

I totally get that part of it depends on who you’re listening to, so this aside is kind of a self-own. But my point is: I don’t trust the idea of taste, and I think it’s often used as an exclusionary cudgel to separate out people and cultures that aren’t from “approved” backgrounds.

Everyone has taste. The most important thing is that they’re allowed to display and share it, and that we’re able to appreciate it.

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