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The idea that you need an education to enjoy something is elitist and off-putting. It cordons off art to the privileged: those with the time, freedom and capability to absorb an artwork’s merits. Of course art doesn’t work that way. Of course any aesthetic response can be valid, valuable without being backed by study.

Except, well, that's not entirely true. You need to learn how to use a mouse before you can enjoy clicking on people in CS:GO, just like you need to know how to read before tucking into a book. Knowledge isn't independent of aesthetic experience, even once you've acquired the basic skills that let you engage with a piece in the first place. It's possible for an aesthetic response to be wrong.

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Matt Cox avatar

Matt Cox

Former Staff Writer

Once the leader of Rock Paper Shotgun's Youth Contingent, Matt is an expert in multiplayer games, deckbuilders and battle royales. He occasionally pops back into the Treehouse to write some news for us from time to time, but he mostly spends his days teaching small children how to speak different languages in warmer climates.