Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Oh To Be Ordinary

I thought I'd write just a little tonight about the plight of being too creative, too sensitive and too removed from the status quo. If you spent twenty years with one person how would you feel if he/she never truly understood you? If you found yourself wandering a frontage road that divided the life you should have lived and the one you got stuck with how would you deal with it? Would you run for the hills that held your life's purpose or would you stay the course, do the "right" thing and fulfill your responsibility to someone to whom you would always remain a stranger? Would you let lust drive your destiny? Would you let it drive you insane?

Just like a square peg whittled down to fit into a round hole, those of us who acknowledge the absurdity of maintaining a palsied status quo run the risk of being ostracized by those who would maintain this paltry level of living at any cost. The majority rules that those emotionally confused folks need to squelch their desires and stick to the rules of the game: marriage, career, children and retirement in some state where the sun shines more often than not. Unfortunately, once you commit to the plan, the only exit is leaping from the status quo into loneliness, despair and desperation, or so they want you to believe.

The truck driver who always wanted to paint, the attorney who wanted to write, the waitress who always wanted to dance; they've become commonplace cliches in our modern machine that worships value only in monetary terms. Sure, stardom is idolized - America is after all a cult of personality. But what about all of those unfortunates who lost grasp of their dreams along the way? Where are they to stash their angst created by unfulfilled potential?

Once again I refer to Canada which recognizes the importance the artist brings to its culture and accordingly subsidizes their development. Socialism our status quo yells, quaking at the thought of actually giving government money to someone following a creative path. Artists don't feed the machine, truck drivers do.

Of course, America has no money to subsidize the arts anyway; we are too busy trying to convince the Middle East that we are their friends. We are too busy paying back favors for votes committed. We are too GODDAMNED BUSY GIVING SENATORS FREE HAIRCUTS!

So the next Martha Graham is left to take orders for food at some backstreet burger joint, the next Jackson Pollock is left to drive 18-hours to deliver plumbing parts to Pittsburgh and the next John Updike is left to plea bargain a three-time loser off of death row. And so it goes for the criminally inane.

America does not savor the artist unless they are a commercial success, because then they become a part of the process that drives this imperialist lunacy. America is a country lost in its own complacency. No one dare step out of line since fear rules the day. The status quo has become the symbol for modern-day stoicism. America is drowning in the mundane. Watch any channel on your television for 10 minutes and proof of that claim will become obnoxiously obvious.

America has created a population that worships the status quo, that thinks no further than their credit limit, that equates success to how much money you make, that sees creativity in the familiar, that refuses to challenge their own cultural bias, because they see it all as just one thing: maintaining the status quo... and so the machine rumbles on, using every ounce of energy fed into it, never moving, never evolving, just providing that familiar matrix for which the country needs to survive.

1 comment:

  1. Very well said, Skip. It astounds me that places in the world as Japan, Russia and even Canada, see the artist so differently revering them as national treasures. America is all about the money, but we are seeing the walls crumble before our eyes. Having taught school for 15 years, I saw not only creativity in the classroom dwindling year after year as the basics were far more important. Administrators so concerned about the money from state and federal that they push the arts to the side or get rid of it completely when most teachers, good teachers know how to use the arts to teach the basics. I watched third and fourth graders unable to think outside the box, and isn't childhood when children pretend, invent and create? I actually had to teach one class of fourth graders how to pretend in order to write a story! When society sees education and arts education as a priority, stop teaching to tests and allow teachers to be creative in the classroom, perhaps, we will have students who will become more innovative, inventive thinkers. This is what will turn this country around. These are the people who become the job creators and inventors. But I, like you, see very little hope in the current political, educational or other systems. Status quo will reign until people who think like us demand a change- a real change- and are willing to take it to the streets. Everything is a fight today, it feeds the news cycle and puts money in the advertisers' pockets. It's all about the money and no longer about lives of adults or kids. And now these lives are in survival mode just to get by. More than 80% of people hate their jobs and now after working 40 years at it have nothing much to look forward to or show for it. I believe those of us who struggle through the mundane daily, but still make time for our creative side, because we MUST- it's who we are and what we were created to do- we had better just love what we do with our art. It's too difficult in the current situation to get noticed or make a difference unless we very creative and lucky or "know" someone. Until then, we'll "stash our angst created by unfulfilled potential" and have to live with the fact that we've done our best, be positive and share our knowledge. Sharing what we know even in our small communities will pass down in the artists' names. For now we're just feeding the Borg in an unending cycle. Maybe we'll be noticed when we're dead... Maybe. But enlightening and teaching a few who come after us may change the world for the better. (+: Great writing, Skip.