Misconceptions about objectivity, criticism, taste and personal preference.

I got into a discussion about my last post on how I criticize MAL ratings on shows and how they do not apply any critical thinking when rating (of course not all of them) thus deeming their opinion as invalid or less worthy.


When I say something is shit, I mean that in a personal way. While I can still use arguments to persuade you, in the end there is no objective evidence I can show you, because statements like “it’s shit(bad)” are based on values.

So we first have to share these values in order to come to the same conclusion.

There are no objective values however, so again I have to persuade you to accept my values.
We do that all the time, our values are usually inter-subjective meaning that many people share the same subjective values and thus together we have some sort of “objective” consensus.
We can even use facts to back up our values, but in the end no one has to accept them.
When you have a set of inter-subjective values you can derive “context objective” qualities about something.


When applied to anime lets say – Realism is a positive value (aka good). Therefor if a show has realism in it, it is objectively good in that department.

However if you don’t accept the statement “Realism is a positive value” then this does not logically follow.

Now of course people who hold this value can point out all sorts of facts like “unrealistic portrayals lead to misguidance and can’t teach the viewer important information, it makes them delusional and ultimately harms them in the long run unless they apply critical thinking to these kinds of escapism shows”. But however well you articulate your argument, even if you could show empirical evidence to how escapism anime (or anything) leads to long term unhappiness no on has to accept those values and apply them to their life.

This might all sound very futile to reviewers and the likes, since whatever they do, you cannot change the minds of those who aren’t willing or able. However, reviewers have no obligation to persuade all people. All reviewers have to do is review. This means apply a critical eye to a show, analyze it and evaluate it. The reader/viewer then takes the parts that persuaded him or her and might object to the rest.

So what are my core points here? 

  1. First reviews aren’t objective.  They are context objective in the sense that the reviewer has certain values which he or she should be communicating to their audience  and then based on these values can judge the quality of a show.
  2. Secondly critical thinking is the ability to scrutinize something based on your knowledge and position it in the larger text, question it and don’t accept it right away without evaluating it first.
  3. And lastly, I can trash talk what I like, if you disagree I am willing to engage in a debate but don’t say I can’t point out my opinion just because it isn’t “objective”. See the framework I am talking in and take what you want out of it :>

I will make a post in the future about how I rate anime and what I look for in them. But not today.