Last night I went out to see The Monuments Men with my wife (good movie that could/should have been amazing) and I drove the babysitter home it dawned on me that I was without a post topic for this week, so I asked the sitter for her thoughts.
We bantered around a couple ideas when finally she said to me, “Do you listen to the radio?”
Anyone who read last week’s post about the radio promo I disagreed with knows that I listen to the radio now and then so I replied honestly with, “On occasion, yes.”
What she said next intrigued me (but given her upbringing I was not surprised). She said, “You could do your post on why it is that most artists that seem to be popular on the radio today aren’t very good.”
Now this isn’t simply a case of an old fart like me complaining about the music (or art in general) of the kids today. This is a very intelligent, well adjusted, popular, 15 year old girl saying that what’s popular today in the music department is coming up drastically short. I happen to think she’s right, and I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing.
|One woman wrecking machine.|
Since the dawn of time there has always been debate over the quality of art. This is not a new thing, and every medium or genre sees its share of great and not-so-great artists over the years. A couple hundred years ago it’s entirely possible that fans of an up-and-coming Mozart thought that J.S. Bach was a hack.
So after hearing the babysitter’s suggestion, and fresh out of the movie theatre where I spent 90 minutes watching men risk, and sacrifice, their lives for great works of art, I got to thinking:
If the Nazis sought out to destroy the “Wrecking Ball” video, every copy of Twilight, and the movie Jersey Girl, would anyone care?
I can imagine that Miley Cyrus, Stephenie Meyer, and Kevin Smith would care; though from what I’ve heard from Kevin he might be willing to let that one go.
More importantly, I think a great many other people would care as well, myself included. As much as I think Miley is nothing more than an overproduced PR stunt; as much as reading a few chapters of Twilight to my daughter made me want to re-take high school English; and as much as watching Jersey Girl made me question my man-crush for Kevin Smith; these are all just personal opinions based on limited knowledge.
All the “bad” art has just as much place in the world as the “great” art. Yes, it only took one person to write the song “Bohemian Rhapsody” (as performed by Queen) and something like five to write “Baby” (as performed by Justin Bieber), but when it’s all said and done, what we’re left with is more art. As individuals we can always choose to vote with our wallets, our page views, our downloads, and our ‘likes’.
Thankfully, we’re not all programmed to appreciate the same things and while I’d rather poke my eyes out with a salad fork than watch another Rebecca Black video the reality is that not every musician can be Freddy Mercury, not every painter can be Claude Monet, not every poet can be Edgar Allan Poe, and not every novelist can be J.K. Rowling.
The Nazis wanted it all and when they realized that wasn’t possible they set out to destroy it. The good news is The Monuments Men and hundreds of other conscientious civilians saved a lot of it, and would have saved the rest had they been given the chance. What really struck me was they didn’t just save the “classics” (though it is understandable why that was the focus).
Matt Damon is shown returning an ordinary portrait to the home of a Jewish family that had long since left Paris. Whether that’s true to the actual story or not, the sentiment is the same: art matters, and the absolute worst thing we can do is destroy it.
Coming in a close second would be if we stop creating it in the first place.