Friday, June 25, 2010

Steady Erosion in Artistic Merit

Will come straight to the point. This has been running through my mind for several months now, as usual. Thing is I had difficulty getting to the depth of the problem. How do I get to the base of the problem and seek out what I want to write? Nobody has written anything so sweepingly judgemental. Am I qualified enough to make such statements.

I might as well blurt it out, poise fingers over keyboard and type it out of my system, out of my life. At least I can wait, instead of being torn apart, for the opprobrium, shock, anger, etc.

What I mean to say is that artistic values have declined over the recent past because we no longer have comment on artistic works. From a world that cared a lot about peer and public reviews we are a people who believe in word of mouth: Twitter, facebook, Linkedin, Ryze and sundry other media. These media are extremely effective but too shallow. So we are actually seeing a lot of  shallow comments and observations about daily habits, functions (even potty habits), without elevating, uplifting comments and zeitgeist. The tribe of book, movie, music, art, radio, telelvision critics and reviewers are over. We have now instant reviews of movies through tweets and short blog write-bites (something I coined on the fly). We want everything urgently and immediately and this kills artistic merit, or, in-depth and truly significant comments about the condition of man.The popular refrain is "If you pay us, we will review your book, art, music, film" which can also be twisted to "If you are a friend I will review your book, art, music, film."
My lament is that the artist is a beleaguered man/woman these days. From a people who were hero-worshipped (artists) we are a people who are looked with suspicion these days. Who wants artistic merit in the days of 20 Megapixel cameras? Who wants fiction in the age of trumped up reality shows. After all, a photo can capture a thousand words and that too with much higher accuracy. 

(This is not always true. I am reading John Irving's "The Fourth Hand" and I am laughing and chuckling on my commute to the office. The writer is at once engaging, witty and fantastically funny. I draw weird looks from the zombies in the train listening to their pirated music. What's better laughing over uplifting prose or listen to those senseless "dinchik-dinchik" music? That sort of music will depress them even more than they appear to be to me.)

Firstly our literature is deteriorating. All the great writers are dead. Those that survive doth survive only on the generosity of a few publishers, newspapers and journalists. Tell me of one significant work of fiction in the past fifty years and I will stop writing. (Hm. I mean I will stop writing stupid blog posts.) There is no other fallacy than seeing so many queue up to buy books at launches. The books go straight to some corner and aren't read. They are just objects of curiosity. They are actually waiting to be noticed at the launch, shot on camera by the television and press.

In the next instalment of this post I will explore: music, films, theatre, etc. But, now I must sleep. Yohhohoho!

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