Wednesday, September 26, 2012

today ends at midnight

A conversation I recently had with someone about life as an artist/writer/creative type reminded me of Salon's Art in Crisis series, specifically this article about the lack of sympathy for, or even coverage of, how the "creative class" is handling the shitty economy (i.e. we're all going broke).

I don't think too many artists are looking for sympathy, per se, but the least America could do is not go into apoplexy about "useless liberal arts majors" every time it's mentioned that we're struggling as much as farmers and tradesmen and everyone else. Even business and hard science majors can't find work these days, and those were the fields of study that were celebrated as examples of sober-headed longterm careerism when I was in undergrad, which wasn't even all that long ago.

What's weird about America's Puritanical disdain for the arts is that our hegemonic entertainment industry (born, of course, from the performing arts) is the only thing about us that the rest of the world actually likes, and one of the few remaining things we really like about ourselves, to be honest. Our music, films, literature, and the culture surrounding them have done a better job talking up the best parts of America than any politician or policy in the last 30 years, and mass-distributed entertainment is raking in money. And yet there's still this huge disconnect between pop culture and the very artistic, unquantifiable processes that bring it to life.

What's really frustrating is that any discussion on art, even my take on it, is based on potential profit, on upfront cost and possible return, rather than art's actual value. There's no other dialogue you can have on this topic that will be taken even halfway seriously, which sucks. I think that has to change before anything else can.