I must note, however, that, in my view, it is quite impossible to come to an objective assessment of (at least) literary or artistic value, there being many accomplished people who have found literature in Dada, and art in the replication of a soup can. Since ratiocination has little to do with esthetics, the fabled “reasonable man” is of little help in the inquiry, and would have to be replaced with, perhaps, the “man of tolerably good taste” — a description that betrays the lack of an ascertainable standard. If evenhanded and accurate decisionmaking is not always impossible under such a regime, it is at least impossible in the cases that matter. I think we would be better advised to adopt as a legal maxim what has long been the wisdom of mankind: De gustibus non est disputandum. Just as there is no use arguing about taste, there is no use litigating about it.

Antonin Scalia (1936-2016) US Supreme Court justice
Pope v. Illinois, 481 US 497 (1987)

Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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