So, okay, I don’t normally indulge in cryptic social media posts, but my phone was dying and I was on the streetcar and I just needed to throw something out there into the sea of 0s and 1s that is the internet, and “Everyone has a fucking opinion” was the meat of what I was dying to say. I was riding home to meet my friend for dinner. Something had set me off and all of this anger was just stewing, but it was the kind of anger that brings on a strange clarity and makes you feel fucking unstoppable. My friend caught up with me on the sidewalk and I hugged her and said, “I AM SEETHING AND I NEED TO RANT,” and she said, “Yay, go!”
(Actually, my words may have included, “I FEEL LIKE I SHOULD EITHER FUCK OR PUNCH SOMEONE.”)And I launched into this comically furious, strongly worded diatribe, and my friend was like, “Should I be recording this?” and I kind of wish she had because it was epic.
The rant is my preferred literary genre.
But here is the central idea of my tirade, just to put on the blog to make up for the cryptic post.
I am so sick of members of my generation who think they have some kind of amazing aesthetic sensibility even though they don’t produce anything creatively themselves. I am sick of hipsters. I am sick of people who, for whatever reason, feel entitled to spout their amateur criticism about things. I am sick, essentially, of everyone having a fucking opinion.
Look, I know this stems from my being sensitive. I am whining because some people bring up niggling points about what they don’t like about what I make and that should be fine because you can’t please everyone and blah blah blah. I know I’m being defensive and I don’t care. Also, I’m addressing a larger issue.
Here is the thing: there is a difference between genuine constructive criticism from a fellow artist and criticism that is designed to make someone who has no idea what they’re talking about seem knowledgeable.
But more to the point, here is why that is inherently bad: because if you are faced with the choice of either nitpicking other people’s work or creating things yourself, and you choose the former, you are a coward.
I am not one of those “art is hard, ooh look at me, I’m so serious, I own lots of black turtlenecks and if I was a male actor I would have a beard” people. But I do believe that it requires some serious cajones to put yourself out there in front of everyone with something that is really meaningful to you. If I was in an ironic 80’s synth/keytar band, maybe none of this would matter, but the fact is that I care a lot about what I make.
My generation is all about the snark, and the thesis of this rant, really, is “fuck the snark.” Snark is easy. It’s cowardly. Taking creative risks, letting your art take you somewhere unexpected, being earnest about what you create—that is a fuck of a lot harder.
I don’t think everyone should walk around like zombies without any opinions in their heads other than “GLAAAGH BRAINS.” Quite the opposite! But I do think that trendy keffiyeh-wearing jerks who go to shows and are like, “Yeah, I don’t know, it was okay, nothing special,” should get the fuck over their hip fatigue, for one thing, and analyze their motivations, for another. I am really fucking tired of the audience that goes in thinking, “I’ve seen it all, so go ahead and try to impress me.” It’s lazy! If those people sat down to create something that wasn’t ironic, what would happen? I have a feeling they would find themselves plagued by chronic uncertainty as a result of their own pretentious high standards.
I don’t want art that is careful. I don’t want art that watches its back. I want art that’s imperfect, that’s messy, that’s strange and flawed. Because that’s the kind of art that thrills and confounds us. The kind that takes risks. The kind that has no idea where it’s going to end up.
May 15, 2012
9:08 amblog comments powered by Disqus
beatpoetess: Down With Snark: A Rant