My poor friends have had to suffer through my droning on about art history lately. I’ve been thinking a lot about periods of great artistic achievement and it seems like it tends to occur when someone with pull decides that, regardless of cost, great work should be produced for the sake of having great work.
I think it’s unfortunate that the arts are now valued based on how much money they can make. It’s the influence of capitalism on art. I’m not talking exclusively about fine art… my example is about music. Bear with me cause I’m about to use Katy Perry to make my point.
I hate “I Kissed a Girl.” I hate it so much. When I hear it I want to barf in a grandiose epic scene akin to No Face barfing all over the baths in Spirited Away. My point is that Katy Perry had a really shitty song that was produced, exclusively I’m sure, to make a lot of money. I bet she hates that song. I bet she cries herself into a frenzy under scalding hot water in her marble and gold shower (think Tobias losing his Fire Sale part to Lindsay in Arrested Development) hoping to burn that icky feeling away. As she should. She sold her soul so that drunk 18 year old girls could make out in front of their guy friends at shitty bars across the world. Observe (the good part starts at about 40secs):
Now, the contrast: Katy Perry is capable of better music. She does a cover of Sam Sparro’s Black and Gold which, while not an example of great artistic achievement, shows she’s capable of more than she’s engineered to do. I Kissed a Girl has been SOOOO lucrative and Katy Perry will likely continue to do crap like that so she can become infinitely wealthy (though I have to say I think Hot and Cold is AMAZING!)
There are of course other factors: That Katy Perry isn’t actually that talented; That were it not for her pretty-face she might not have a career at all; That Black and Gold happens to be good because it’s a cover (though it’s not like she writes any of her own music in the first place. I digress and I think I’m off topic. My point is that I don’t want people to have to be motivated by income to produce good work. I want good work for the sake of good work. Down with capitalism, up with Ryan’s benevolent dictatorship.