Best Vs. Favorite
Art and life co-habitate, informing, imitating, and enriching each other constantly. Each week in Better Living Through Music, RFT Music writer Ryan Wasoba explores this symbiotic relationship
RFT announced the Best Of St. Louis winners more than twelve hours ago. Where's the backlash? Where is the comment about the paper's bogus decision to give Fister the Best Metal Band honor instead of Tear Out The Heart? Where is that Tweet bashing RFT for not awarding Foam Best All Ages Venue instead of Fubar? I am not encouraging troll-like behavior (although I do think our commenting system would be more efficient if users had to answer three riddles first), but I look forward to the interaction that ensues during Best Of St. Louis season. Disagreements are inevitable, because that's what happens when the word "best" is used to describe artistic endeavors that cannot be quantified in any truly comparative way.
Perhaps "favorite" is a more accurate word. The subtle difference in language is significant; "best" has authority while "favorite" implies personal preference. Saying "Kid A is my favorite record of all time" to a buddy over drinks doesn't raise any eyebrows. Saying "Kid A is the best record of all time" in the same context might seem like a power play; who are YOU to make such assessment?
So who are WE to use the B-word? Easy: RFT is an organization trusted by the masses to deliver qualified assessments of the local arts with unflinchingly impeccable taste.
But seriously, the authority mentioned before comes from the group consciousness of any newspaper, magazine, website, et cetera. Imagine Rolling Stone releasing an issue of "Our 500 Favorite Songs Of All Time" or Pitchfork dropping its "100 Favorite Records Of The Year" list. The simple word swap reads as amateur, if only because it weakens that wall between a faceless organization and the humans on the other side.