I am thinking about this article in terms of ‘familiarity.’ In the case of Last Word Art, what’s been perfected is familiar to the audience, in style or tone or influences, etc., so it fits easily among the audience members have already accepted. In the case of First Word Art, the unfamiliar can jar the audience, and maybe to reveal to its members something they find charming or hypnotic.


But not all unfamiliar things are pleasant, and this explains the first great filter for what gets considered to be First Word Art.


And secondly, the unfamiliar may be canonized. Because if it is found charming or hypnotic, it has a good chance of spreading its style or tone or influences to other works of art, now more so than ever. Once the work’s recontextualized as a sample of some phenomenon everyone’s seen before, it’s lost its novelty and must face a new set of criteria for judging its value: Chiefly, how well does it stand out from all the other familiar stuff?