Friday, August 17, 2007

Because Paul Rekk goes back on his word...

So I deleted the whiny post. And will try to avoid approaching the blog when in that mood in the future. It was a slight lapse in judgment and I apologize.

The Designated Mourner (now only slightly related) question is still of interest to me, though. Where do we draw the line between art we don't "understand" (for lack of a better word, because "get" is a worse word) and art we actively dislike? And where do we draw the line between art we actively dislike but respect and art we actively dislike and have no time for?

To put it to an example, a film example because I am a film nut, I don't understand the appeal of Federico Fellini, but I know there's something there that I'm just not connecting with. I absolutely dislike Charlie Kaufman's writing, but damn if I don't respect the man for what he does. And if Kevin Smith's movies disappeared off the face of the Earth, I wouldn't mind one bit -- in fact, the Earth might be a little better place for it. Now I will never, ever sit down to watch La Strada, Adaptation, or Chasing Amy purely for my enjoyment. But within those works that I don't enjoy, there's a whole spectrum of respect. Where does it come from and how do we make those choices and form those opinions?

Just something that came to mind in light of the polarity that recent blog-versations have taken (myself included). Things are either artist or audience, hopeful or not, NY or rural sympathetic etc. etc. We, as artists, know perfectly well that everything lives some where in the middle (to borrow from Mr. Letts, whose August: Osage County I, too, loved and will probably give blog props to in the near future). Where's the somewhere in the middle in our invective? Which is not to be confused with a peacekeeping cry, because I think "can't we all get along" takes the wind out of artistic sails. No we all can't, but we can not get along to a useful end. This is simply an out loud pondering as to how so many diverse opinions manage to pick teams so frequently. None of us completely agrees with any of the others -- is it possible to discuss in this gray zone? Where everyone's a friend as much as they are an enemy? Or, to negatively connotate, where everyone's an enemy as much as they are a friend?

That's probably rhetorical, but who knows?

Oh, and I'm feeling better, if it weren't obvious.



Bil said...

I think the term "gray area" is a very gray area as well. Just as not everything is black and white, not everything is the same shade of gray. I think anything can be discussed, and if sides get chosen, then that's fine -- it turns into a debate. It doesn't always happen.

Part of the problem of communicating by blog (and part of its awesomeness) is that everyone can edit what they think before making a final statement, and everyone can read and re-read the article and all its comments. This leaves it all wide open for extreme nit-picking, which tends to fuel the side-choosing. Now, respecting your enemies is nothing new; but even today, it does take a special kind of enlightenment to be able to distinguish what you don't like from what you don't respect, and that goes as well for other people's opinions. There's a wide range of personality types to deal with in the world, the two extremes being "Live and let live no matter what" and "I am right and whoever disagrees must die." And there are something like 6 billion shades of gray in between. (Right? That's roughly the world's population at this point, right?)

We may not be able to all be friends, but we can certainly show each other respect if we want to. But that, again, takes the wind out of the sails. We have to decide on a moment-to-moment basis if we'd rather be creatively antagonistic or blandly respectful to everyone. And again, there can be a balance somewhere in the middle of these two points. But we have to work to find it.

I really hope someone comes back and says, "Screw you, jerk, EVERYTHING is black and white. There is no gray!" Because that would make me smile.

Also, not that there's any point to this, but I'm going to stand up for Charlie Kaufman. Don't you be talkin' trash about my favorite screenwriter. Although, it's respectful trash, so I guess it's okay.

Tony said...

Screw you, jerk, EVERYTHING is black and white. There is no gray!

Tony said...

Just kidding.

Devilvet said...

"And where do we draw the line between art we actively dislike but respect and art we actively dislike and have no time for?"

As i get older and time passes by at an alarming rate, I must say I do not draw a line. if I dislike it then chances are i make no time for it, regrdless whether i respect it or not.

I do not read books, blogs, listen to music, watch movies or sitcoms that i dislike. If a play's premise doesn't interest me, then i do not attend (unless I know someone in the cast, and even then the odds drop sharply compared to plays that have premises I like). I have nothing to prove to anyone else about how enlightened/tolerate I may or may not be. I'm comfortable dismissing those Kevin Smith films i don't like, without re-examining the dvds everytime the question arises of his value or how much respect he deserves.

GreyZelda Land said...

It's your blog, you can whine if you want to ... you would whine too, if it happened to you!

I didn't get a chance to read the deleted post or the comments that went along with it, so I really can't say either way if you should or shouldn't delete it, but felt I would write this just because ....

Maybe it's all the "grey" being discussed - my ears perk up.

There's only a couple of things that I've questioned my own taste on ... one being the movie "Brazil" - I can't seem to get into it and would rather just sit down and read "1984" again. I also don't like beer but I've been told time and time again that I should.

Anyway ... just thought I'd add very little to the discussion. Heh heh.


Mac said...

What? You deleted a post on The Designated Mourner? That's like my favorite play! Put the post back up!

Paul Rekk said...

Murphy's Law of Blogging #1: Anything you delete will be infinitely more popular than the rest of your blog.

Nah, I'm just joshin'.

All you missed was a lot of bad mood moaning capped by a few Mourner-inspired questions along the same line as those in this post. I saw a production last week, which was my first experience with the play. I really need to sit down and talk the play through with some peeps before I can elucidate anything, really. Level upon level of questions bouncing around my brain, which is much to Shawn's credit.