04 February 2011

here is a pretty good statement of purpose

discovered while playing linkfrog from sociological images:

Of all the varieties of irritating comment out there, the absolute most annoying has to be "Why can't you just watch the movie for what it is??? Why can't you just enjoy it? Why do you have to analyze it???"

If you have posted such a comment, or if you are about to post such a comment, here or anywhere else, let me just advise you: Shut up. Shut the fuck up. Shut your goddamn fucking mouth. SHUT. UP.

First of all, when we analyze art, when we look for deeper meaning in it, we are enjoying it for what it is...

this is an attitude -- not the one that the redoubtable josh wimmer is expressing, the one he is railing against -- that i encounter all the everloving time and i don't think i've ever been able to argue against it quite this cogently. probably because i was too mad.

the entire purpose of creating and sharing art, for whatever definition of "art" one employs, is to say something about other things. this can be complicated or very, very simple, but when you put something of yours out there, you are starting a conversation. and you might not like all of the response, but that doesn't absolve you from dealing with it. it doesn't remove whatever consequences result from what you say.

the first step in effective activism is getting people who don't want to acknowledge this -- the fundamental responsibility of something as simple as having a conversation -- to accept that the discussion has already begun.

and we can't take for granted that it's something we've already accomplished.


Electron Will said...

Smart perceptive people tend to get confused and frustrated about why happily clueless people aren't smarter, and shout at them about it. It reminds me of how American tourists tend to get confused and frustrated about why French people don't speak English, and shout at them about it.

Electron Will said...

On the other hand, please don't let any of this discourage you from engaging with people about the sexism and racism and homophobia and transphobia you see in shows and movies and music you like. The writers are usually geeks who take an interest, and some of your fellow fans probably will be too. Just, not every fan, every time, and a calm,thoughtful, persuasive approach will maximize the number of people interested in discussing it, even if there are people who you can't reach and just have to give up on. An angry approach, on the other hand, will just increase how upset and frustrated everyone involved in the conversation is, especially you, in a downward spiral, until everyone gives up on each other and goes home.