New Jason V Brock FB Post

Hmmm… So I have chimed in on a kerfuffle on the page of another writer about their usage of a couple of expressions. One is an old-timey phrase, and the other has to do with assertiveness. The reaction by others to the usage of these phrases has been at times droll, at times infuriating. In any case, this person has every right to use these expressions as they wish. They are, as we say, rather tepid forms of speech.That noted, the real issue, as I see it, is what is the purpose of art? This party has stated they are more than willing to excise terms and expressions from their personal vocabulary if they are called on the usage of them, though there are limits to how far they’d go in doing this. Namely, that they would not resort to self-censorship based on the litmus test of “if even one person is offended, it’s one too many.” I happen to concur that this is too far. But so is the rest of that: Any expectation by another to shame or cajole someone else into doing as the “offended” party wishes is too far an expectation.Where we diverge, I suspect, is that I am unwilling to censor myself because someone is offended. What right does some other party have to call me (or anyone) out for such a thing? Because they (or someone) might be offended? Who cares? I doubt people really care about that in relation to me (offending me). I don’t expect them to care, either. And I don’t want or need anyone to be offended “on my behalf” (that’s condescending, I think). Offense lies in the mind of the offended, not in the alleged actions of the offender. One takes offense, it isn’t given, in other words.So, again, what is the purpose of art? If this person will censor or change their speech, does that extend to their writing? I suspect the answer is yes, even if they deny it or don’t realize it. Furthermore, to me, I believe the purpose of creating and experiencing art is essentially two-fold:1) Self-expression (the creator) 2) Provocation (the creator and the audience; art always requires an audience to close the loop)Making money is an absurd aim for true art, though it can be accomplished. But it’s NO reason to become an artist, especially if your goal is to become an artist of merit. (And by “artist,” I refer to writing, cinema, visual and performing arts, music, and so on.)Being a best-seller, say, is easier than becoming a true artist in one sense, because one can chase markets or tailor content. It’s also VERY difficult, as it’s a goal for many neophytes, hence there is a lot of competition (basically, whoring oneself to obtain fame and/or fortune). Being an “artist” is also relatively easy–it’s easy to be transgressive or to shock, for example. The trick there, and the point of how some become “true artists” versus just excreting out delusional petards of self-indulgence, is in having something to say and saying it (to provoke contemplation), and being unafraid to explore universal (rather than strictly personal) truths. These truths must resonate with others, and over time. Not an easy feat, and likely much more difficult than best-sellerdom.To my mind, people need to disregard these thought-policers. All they wish to do is control others. In reality, there are no “triggers,” and “no safe spaces”: The world is a fucked up and dangerous place. The sooner one learns that, the better off one is. My aim is true art. If I am diligent, I will obtain my goal. If I am lucky besides, I will achieve material success in addition. But the odds are long, and history is fickle.So why let others dictate the terms? —

March 29, 2018 at 02:35PM
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