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Give me Bread and forget the Circus

by Buddy Lord

Mark Hamill made a fool of himself.

He posted a message the other day on his twitter account.  In case you forgot, he hates Donald Trump, Donald Trump’s family, and apparently this deep hate even falls all the way down to Donald Trump’s grandson. The young boy was dressed as a Storm Trooper, you know, promoting Star Wars; and Mark Hamill thought it prudent to make fun of the boy and his family. I am beginning to rethink my position on whether or not Luke Skywalker is evil. I jest, but only a little.

This kind of stupidity makes it hard for us to separate art from artist, from entertainer and their political ideology, and I want to talk about it.

The conflict and pomp of creation is inevitable.

We used to be able to speak with one another about art and entertainment, and come to agreeable dissolution. That is, we could agree to disagree and move on with our lives. Lately, however, we’re not able to do that anymore. Everything has become binary and polar. You must agree and capitulate to one side, or be eradicated and thrown into the staunch arms of Oblivion.

I wax poetic, but it rings true.

Social Media has a large part to play within this phenomenon. It has given us easy access to our favorite artists, as well as offered rival artists a platform to compete. I think this economy has produced artists who must compete with more than aesthetic talent. They have to become performing artists and build a business acumen in order to market their product. This puts them in the forefront of media and exposes them to the world.

And because of that, it is getting more and more difficult to separate art from artist.

The veil of transparency is too thin, and a creator’s exposure is too high. I’ve heard it said before that you should never meet your heroes. The prevailing belief being that mortal men could never meet the lofty expectations of our imagination. We want to think that we could forgive them, because they are after all — human. The truth, however, is that we can’t. At least, that’s what we’ve proven to be true over the last few years.

Time and time again, especially recently, we find ourselves unable to forgive or transcend our own version of what people should be. Cancel culture has a major role to play within this malignant malaise. It dictates what celebrities and politicians should be and do. Because if they don’t, then they are effectively cancelled out by a court of public opinion.

So where does this leave art and other gestures of personal expression?

Well, it stifles them. It limits creativity to what the chorus of chanted canon approves and only that. Where is the sex in their violence? The method to the madness and impetus to their inspiration? Well, there is none, or there won’t be if we continue down this path. If we choke the life from artists because of their opinions, then there will be no progression, only regression, because it is through art and creation that we march on.

We must separate art from artist.

If the work is good, and should be shared then do so. If you like it, then feel free to love it and tell your friends about it. Conversely, if something needs work, then we should feel free to offer critical criticism. Not so we can diminish their aspiration, but so we can help them grow and get better. Even a master craftsman needs a second or third eye on his or her projects.

I don’t want a society that diminishes creativity, stifles the imagination, and tells people what to think.  It doesn’t matter what ideology you profess or perform. When it comes to Art, we should all be equal, in that we should all have the chance to think and create.

Scrutinize the art all you want. Make the art itself objectively better, make it something that will drive men, women and children to aspire and hope. Leave everything else out of it. Take yourself out of it.

Give me the Art, leave the Circus behind.

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