WARNING: In over 130 blog posts, I don’t believe I have ever resorted to vulgarity of any kind. However, I find it hard to avoid using a few vulgarisms on this occasion. Please forgive me if their use offends you and I will try to keep their use to a bare minimum in the future.
I’ve been around the writing game long enough now to identify a certain attitude. It is one that is shared with critics of all art today, one that feels the need to heap scorn upon anyone who attempts a loftier style or desires to accomplish something more than amuse and distract their audience. To anyone who does not sufficiently amuse them, to anyone who makes them uncomfortable and makes them think a little, they use words such as pompous, pretentious, or arrogant.
I have an answer to such criticism, one which I hope you won’t find too elitist or arty. Fuck you. You call me pretentious? I call you intellectual and moral cowards. You are too afraid to attempt what can and should be done and so you attack others for making the attempt. You masturbate because you are afraid to procreate. You play at life when you should be living it.
To artists and audience alike I say to you: demand more! Be more! We ARE more than what some would make us. We have souls, we have purpose. Life has meaning!
Artists today, especially when in pursuit of fame and cash, are unafraid to transgress any moral sensibility but they flee from any critical thought that might separate them from the safety of the herd or the cash of their potential customers. They are willing to dream up any sexual perversion, any sick violence in order to titillate their fans. Money has somehow wormed its way between artists and their audience when there should be no barriers between us. This is not a fucking business transaction, this is human communication at its most basic and honest level.
Be men. Not men as we now describe them, crude, violent and stupid. Be men in daring to seek the truth and defend truth even when it is unpopular Be women. Do not indulge incessantly in adolescent fantasies but instead become the strong intelligent women the world needs. Be human beings and not pawns in a marketing game. Dare. Get out of the kiddy pool and think thoughts that make you uncomfortable. Brave putting down in you art your deepest darkest fears and hopes. Expose your most hidden selves to the light. Dream a dream that is worth sharing.
The world needs changing but you are too timid to admit you have the power to make it better. It is up to you, no one else can do your job, share the perspective that only you have. You are important—nay, vital to this world, and it’s time you shook off your doubts and realized it.
It is up to you to show the world that ideas can accomplish what bullets cannot.
Be bold, my friends, be bold. Not bold in expressing prejudice or hatred, but in expressing new ideas and optimism. Not bold to shock or offend but bold in order to enlighten and inspire.
A culture whose artists are afraid to push further is a culture in decline. That is the power you possess as artists, to keep your culture afloat and moving ahead, to reach new shores and new heights previously unimagined.
Do not be afraid to fail. Nor should you feel the need to accept society’s judgment of what success or failure is. Do not try to fit yourself into the cattle chutes called genres, but instead blaze your own trail, create what you see and feel, let what is inside of you be what it is meant to be.
You owe it to yourself. You owe it to everyone who has influenced you, those who gave you a sense of wonder when in your childhood you picked up a book, gazed at a picture, or were enraptured by a song. And you owe it to a future that deserves the same as you received, art that speaks to the heart and the mind without further considerations of any baser motives. This is life. Art is life. Art is the communication that speaks to those whom you have never met nor will meet. It is the passing on of beauty and vitality. And it is in your hands.