Yes this may be a matter of opinion, but this my blog. My opinion (he said in a petulant manner). The degradation of the cultural climate today is a direct result of the the degraded, low quality, mass produced, insidious creations being propagated throughout our society. A cultural climate is a direct result of the creations of the artists creating it. And whatever they create, the people follow as a matter of course. So then the culture is mashed and molded into a representation of the art it absorbs.
The artist has the power to influence a society’s collective soul and point it a direction of existence. That direction can either be up or down – survive or succumb – growth or decay.
Steadily and insidiously society has been pulled down by “artistic” creations that have pointed towards degradation as the new lifestyle goal. Therefore, the people follow. Or do they?
I was actually going to put in some lyrical comparisons of today’s lyrics and those of yesteryear. I was also going to compare different movies, TV shows, etc. But that would be subjective. That would be forcing my opinion on to those of others. Instead I invite you to do a comparison yourself. Look at some of the lyrics today and compare them to say 20 then 100 years ago. Do the same for movies, TV, fine art, etc.
You will see the difference.
But back to the people and the artist. Who is leading who? It is a fact that the artist creates the culture. But who is telling the artists what do create? The artist or the people. Kay from Men In Black said this:
“A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it.”
Kay was on to something there, although not completely accurate. Even people can be sane and productive and positive as long as they are acting as individuals in a group, not as a part of a collective. That collective mentality is what Kay is talking about. It’s a vibe. It’s the “follow the heard” mentality and it sneaks up on a guy.
And it’s that mentality that is determining what the artist is to create simply by the very structure of the entertainment industry. Here’s what it looks like.
You see the “herd mentality” is telling sales what they want. Then sales tells marketing what they can sell, and then marketing is telling the artist what to create. It is a literal flow line of cause and effect. Well this is determined by previous artistic creations. And those previous artistic creations were determined by the same group mentality.
And this cultural nose-dive started way back when the entertainment industry went industrial. I call it the Artistic Industrialization Period and it started for most forms of art around the start of the 19th century. I will do another post regarding the research I did on this, but for now that gives you a timeline of the start of the rapid descent.
Nothing wrong with industry in so far as it pertains to industrial endeavors i.e. car manufacturing, consumer product manufacturing, electronics manufacturing, etc. The Industrial Revolution circa 1760-1840 was a major turning point for mankind and facilitated huge advances. The development of machine tools and the factory system changed the face of the world forever, and mostly for good. The more that is produced, the more product available. The more product available, the more consumed. The more consumed, the more money spent. Thus, a liquid and prosperous economy. But mass production factories have an owner. That owner is interested ultimately in one thing- bottom lines. So in the end the owner is going to make what the people want to buy…regardless.
So, the advent of the ability to mass produce art placed the control of art squarely in the hands of men who control the tools of mass production. And these men, being men of bottom lines, are going propagate the art the people want.
The point is the the flow of cause and effect is currently inverted. The artist, creating pro-survival creations, should be at the top of that heap and the start, or cause point, of the flow. The people need a new direction and that new direction can only be determined by the artist. And it starts with the artists again.
But how do we do that? Well, in fixing anything, you start with how it got broken in the first place. It is said that “Money is the root of all evil.” That is soooooo true and literally the root of the evil I speak of.
See the artist can not be put at that point of effect down on the totem pole unless he or she desires to be there. It’s true! It happens the moment the artist creates something for money. As soon as the artist is motivated by money, he loses. In other words, as soon as the artist decides that money is more important that anything, he has flipped the switch from being in charge to being the lackey. He is no longer the boss.
So forget about whether or not your art is marketable. Forget about how much money it is worth. Forget about supplicating yourself and chasing the record deal, or the publishing deal, or one of my prehistoric, convoluted, destructive favorites – the artist development deal. All of those put money first – artist last. The Internet and technology is changing that landscape. Sites like patreon.com are helping in a big way.
The artist must ALWAYS create for creations sake. He or she must be motivated by what he or she can do to better the world and mankind. It seems lofty because it is. Artists are lofty types. That’s our job. Thus, the captains seat in the lofty position is fitted for our butts. Only from there can we drive the society and culture.
So create. Create good things, including yourself. Create a better world.