Is This Good?

Shannon Barber
12 min readSep 23, 2021

Musings on what’s good.

What is good?

[image description: photo of a heart outlined in reddish brownish gravel. photo taken by the author]

A lot of my friends talk a lot about what media (for our purposes I’m including literature, movies, tv etc) and if it is good or not. Some friends come at it from a philosophical point of view, others from a craft oriented this is written poorly level, often the conversations move from those things to is this racist, sexist etc. These are conversations I enjoy watching and generally haven’t felt comfortable participating in for a lot of reasons.

For many years I thought it was because most of the philosophy a lot of the discussions were based on, I just don’t care about. I understand them to a degree but frankly my interest in the western white canon of anything bores me and I just don’t really care. And there was always something that bugged me about a lot of the conversations that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

Recently as I was waxing poetic about my undying and unapologetic love of racist, sexist, homophobic YAY ‘MERICA action movies, I figured it out.

First, read this from another piece I wrote:

As I was developing my understanding and acceptance of my Blackness, your problematic SJW necromancer was starting to hatch. I was reading about movements and philosophies. I was building the bridge to myself I needed. I was about 19 or so when I first came across the term double consciousness. W.E.B. DuBois reached out of my own history and handed me the phrase that has been an anchor for me to hold on to when I can’t sort out why I feel a certain type of way.

I have realized that my concept of the goodness of media is not reliant on quality or even if it is in the realm of things, I find personally problematic I may still say the thing is good. Given that I’ve had odd interests since childhood, one of the defense mechanisms I’ve developed is being able to very well compartmentalize how I feel about the media I take in. For instance, we all know I’m a horror fanatic. I read, watched and took in all the horror I could and understood quickly that it wasn’t for me but that I liked it.

When I say not for me, I’m talking about the racism, homophobia etc. It occurred to me not long ago after someone had pointed out some anti-Black fuckery that my response was likely more lukewarm than…