Archive for March, 2013

These Theses

Monday, March 18th, 2013

I spent a week some time ago writing once a day with a theme – “coming clean”, where I did my level best to tell the truth about some of my personal myths. I talked about parenthood and my artistic life and all of that was very personal and therefor pretty interesting. Everyone likes nudity.

I’m going to talk about something this week that is probably far less interesting, although I’ll certainly do what I can to sprinkle it with personal storytelling. I think we’re at a really interesting crossroads right now in terms of arts-funding, specifically, and regarding our personal financial/moral obligations as consumers and creators of art. With the larger cultural conversation that’s going on in America, I’m going to write down my thoughts on several different aspects of that this week.

Before I go any further – or rather before YOU go any further, I’d like to present some facts. This is not meant to be aggressive, but if you think these *aren’t* facts, then there’s no point in going any further reading anything I’ve written this week. In fact, if you can’t agree to the following facts, there’s probably not much point in reading this blog, or talking to me about anything.

Except jokes. We can still make jokes if you want. But talking about stuff? Not much point.

1) The wealthy in America have more access to the consumption of, and the creation of, art.

2) The Arts are the driving force behind American Culture.

3) Profit motive is neither inherently good nor inherently bad, it’s simply an economic system.

4) Hegemony and a lack of innovation are not good ideas for corporate culture, but they are devastating practices when it comes to the arts.

5) Almost nobody is stupider than me. Almost nobody is smarter than me. There’s no bell curve to American Intelligence, there’s about a thousand people at either end and the 380 million Americans who are all roughly the same.

And now some quick clarifications, which you can totally disagree with –

1) When I talk about The Arts, I’m including high and low and everything in between. I’m talking about anything that survives on the hardwork and craftsmanship of content creators who supply everything from porn shops to museums to mulitplexes to magazine ads. If you start with nothing and have to invent a thing, you are in the arts.

2) If you disagree with me because of your personal animus towards me, there’s nothing I can do about that. If you feel that I am somehow privileged or that my gender or race nullifies my perceptions, then there’s probably no point in engaging with me. I do my best to try to deal with what *is*, but I am a product of everything that’s ever happened to me and, as such, an ad hominem attack on me will work, always. Just know that proving I’m a dick doesn’t exactly prove that I’m *wrong*.

In fact, here: I’m a dick. So, now you don’t have to come at me with my own dickishness, the point has been pre-validated.

3) In the same vein, I don’t believe I have a right to broadcast these positions or that my opinion is more important than anyone else’s. I write these blogs with the exact same motivation every time – that my grandkids can get a chuckle when they read this shit in 2080.

4) 1.2 million years ago, an ape managed to tilt his hips and walk upright, 120,000 years ago we started working together as families, 10,000 years ago we cultivated crops, 5,000 years ago we built pyramids. Today, one in five Americans are born into poverty, the entire European Union is on the brink of economic collapse, everyone has nuclear weapons and we’re murdering thousands and thousands of people with drone strikes.


Perspective is important, yes. There are more important things, yes. If I were to make the argument “People with money are currently controlling the artistic conversation and this is one of the reasons we aren’t *aware* of the fact that one in five Americans are born into poverty” and your answer is “people are starving and you want to talk about paying artists?”, my answer is “Um… yes. That’s what I want to talk about.”

We can talk about starving people whenever you want, but that’s not what I’m talking about this week. Feel free to link to your blog where you talk about starving people, have interesting things to say and offer up solutions. I’ll be here creating content because that’s what I do.