Why some art sucks: Part 1

Seriously, will someone pick up a newspaper? Oh wait, the news sucks. Well, looks like we’re left to pool our resources — the intellectual equivalent of handball, if you will. Time to turn on the television.

My sister asked me if I watched the MTV VMA’s and I asked her if any of my favorite bands were on. You know … good music. She said no and I went back to reading about how terrible the world really is in my newspapers. Britney Spears parading her cellulite on screen while lip-synching to music processed in a computer somehow doesn’t seem as important as a country embroiled in a war or my health declining because I’m unable to receive health care. Lo and behold, there Britney is caught mid-undulation – like a vertical elephant seal – with the writer seemingly concerned about the feelings of a woman who would not wipe the sweat from her spoiled brow to quench the thirst of a dying pauper. This is news.

Well, that is why I think some art sucks. When a professional newspaper writes a column about a glorified brat, when a walking anachronism like OJ Simpson can slither his way back into the limelight and a college newspaper fails to send an experienced reporter to interview a presidential candidate because it isn’t as much of a priority as covering football practice for a college team that isn’t in the Top 10, that is when you can tell that the suck tsunami of modern art will drown out all that is creative and awe-inspiring for mediocrity and irrelevance to reign as king because no one really cares anyway.

The news and modern events are one of the many roots of art. And if the media won’t shed light onto things that matter – or things that should matter but are largely ignored, like lead-flavored toys – then it is failing in its duty and should be called out by a community that is in desperate need of information.

Now, I’m not blaming the news for making artists terrible. We have Norman Rockwell, The Beatles, South Park and several well-known writers for that – self-glorifying, overly-defensive, status-quo-upholding crap that they are. But, they do make it easier for mediocre art to be looked at as “great” and great art to be looked at as “elitist” or “pretentious.”

I heard one person say that Hemingway is too complex for them. Too complex? This is every Hemingway novel: surly American guy goes to Europe/Africa, gets drunk, falls in love, learns to hate women and eventually comes to the conclusion that life sucks. If he didn’t have talent, he’d be the godfather of emo.

When your culture can’t grasp Hemingway, then it indicates a severe deficit in creative cultural acceptance. How can Americans comprehend Vonnegut when they can’t even comprehend where their state is on a map? The news, by not challenging America, is putting the future generation of artists in a water-treading race in which every participant but the fattest, most bloated and full of hot air contestant will drown by sheer effort to stay afloat.

Seriously, when someone who reads books and acknowledges information is looked upon as an intellectual, snobbery is the least of insults one can hurl at the masses.

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3 Responses

  1. Bad day, Casey?

    Well, let me continue with this thought…

    This actually stemmed from a conversation that Casey I are were having the other day, in regards to another conversation I had had the day before, in which I had made a comment about Vonnegut (yes, there’s a link here for those of you who may be a bit behind). To make a long story short, the writer didn’t have a clue as to what I was talking about. I was annoyed, to say the least, at his reaction, and even more so with his response when I tried explaining myself: “Why would I care about him?” he’d said.

    Today, there are thousands of writers who are out there claiming to be the next “prodigy,” or that they will “rival the creators of horror such as King and Koontz.”

    …sorry guys, while I must give props to both above mentioned writers for their success, they are by no means the “creators” of horror. Ever read The Tell Tale Heart? Do you know who even wrote it? Surprisingly, the answer for many – including several college students I have worked with, is no. And it’s sad, really.

    I’d recently sent out a rejection letter to a horror submission, saying that it resembled too much of the movies “Silent Hill” and “the Sixth Sense.” You want to know what I told him? To pick up Dante’s Inferno, and read it, really read it. Why? Because that is classic horror, and that is scary as hell (no pun intended).

    The issue that Casey is trying to push, I believe, is the need to have a larger awareness of what is going on around you. As a writer – wait – especially as a writer, you need to be aware of the world and everything in it, in order to capture the essence of this earth. It doesn’t matter that you’re writing a science fiction story on Planet Bob, you still need to understand how governments work, what corruption is, what draws the masses together, what captures their attention; you need to be able to relate to how people think, now and five hundred years ago, and understand why.

    So, to paraphrase what Casey is saying, “Get out of your damn bubble and actually see the world.”

  2. Oh, and this is just Part ONE. Wait till I get to all the macho sadist crap we run into.

  3. Oh, yes, the “Saw” movie wannabes. Those are always entertaining…

    Note the sarcasm.

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