Saturday, May 14, 2011

Eye Dull

"I only work here for the ambiance" - sketching at the Golden Eagle Saloon

Comfortably camping out at a cafe is a habitual environmental trigger to get the juices flowing: sometimes it's helpful to have a buffer zone of low-level conversation as a part of the creative process. I've read lots of interviews with other cartoonists who revealed that they employ some white noise in the background while working, usually a radio or news. Not having any dedicated studio space at the moment, there's sometimes a TV going on in the background here while I work, but usually through the prudent and diplomatic usage of headphones it's dampened enough to not distract. Even so, the latest leakage to really piss me off was accidentally overhearing snatches of a horrible program "American Idol."

Even being blissfully out of touch with most popular fads, in the usual case with such media phenomena - like some insidious cultural influenza - a one cannot avoid constant references creeping into the periphery. And as is the case with most fads, popularity most definitely does not equate talent.
A theory based purely on conjecture: there's a direct correlation between the rise of these voyeuristic cattle-calls for public failure and the general slow death of genuine creativity in American culture. Case in point: if every single individual who actually wasted their time watching these sorts of shows would instead devote at least that same hour on doing something artistic for themselves, over the course of a single season they would see definite improvement in their own efforts. As an art teacher I can just about guarantee this: it's analogous to the time and energy spent focused on a drawing class, or following a series of exercises - a disciplined approach to practice practice practice. It only works if you do it, as sitting on the couch watching shows like this will not. 
Well, unless...

Afterwords you would be confronted with irrefutable, firsthand evidence that what you can do will be, if not just simply better, than at least infinitely more rewarding than anything on these "reality" shows. And when I say something is "better" than something else, I'm not necessarily referring to an objective set of aesthetic criteria, what I'm saying instead is it's simply better for you, better to do it yourself
One also has to wonder at the sadomasochistic vanity behind why anybody would seek validation from the particular hosts of these shows. Coiffed and pimped-out poseurs handing out arbitrary and capricious judgments, these are impostors of honest creativity. Each supposed "star" is an empty caricature, a completely manufactured and entirely artificial persona propped up by the industry and it's corporate-driven standards of profit over substance. It's all part and parcel of this ethical fraud perpetuated upon the public: the cultivated phenomenon of golden throats crutching themselves by on high-tech face image-lifts to compensate for their lack of authenticity. Lip-synching and Auto-Tune aside, look at people like Max Martin and Lou Pearlman for example (to say nothing of the Simon Fullers who ultimately owns everything that every contestant does) - what you see prancing and posing about on stage is nothing more than a Wizard of Oz simulacrum. In other words, it's all fake.

Or maybe I just better appreciate someone having at least gone through puberty before singing about heartbreak. Now get the hell off my lawn... 
Oh wait, never mind.

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