Skip to main content

emo power

there are many different types of bad art, but an easy target is that class of artist who use their creative powers to wallow in self pity and examine, ad nauseum, everything that has gone into making them the pathetic, small-minded, self-obsessed sorts we all particularly love to loathe. you probably know a couple, i'm not going to bother listing any.

that said, since i've been posting some of my writing on that other blog, i've noticed that, consistently, the stories that are the most difficult for me, the ones that deal with the greatest emotional scarring and that consequently carry the greatest risk, are consistently the ones that get the greatest (meaning both the best and the most) reaction. evidently, picking your own scabs in public is something that people can grow to appreciate.

of course, this was never something i saw myself doing, because, like most adults, i'm infected with that virus that makes me believe that expressing any emotion outside the privacy of your own home, where no one else can hear you save the individual you've chosen to burden with your hopes and woes, is an activity to be avoided. in fact, the expression of any emotion past the age of puberty, where elation and agony pass through our systems like water (often with similarly useful output), is generally frowned on as representing a lack of control and the person who is given to emotional expression is viewed as ridiculous.

paradoxically, i think that's both why people relate to any creative work that even hints at genuine emotion- because it contains a sort of expression that we deny ourselves, but which relates to the real experience of our lives- and why there is just so much embarrassing, maudlin, self-indulgent work out there.

after all, how are any of us supposed to be any good at expressing what we feel when we cease to practice doing so when still in our teens? pick any skill you have now. how good were at that skill when you were 15? are you better at it now? that increased skill came with practice. i used to take german lessons, but i haven't studied it properly since high school and i've never had the opportunity to use it (my loss). i don't pretend that i'd be able to have a conversation in that language now.

the reason that a lot of work dealing with emotion reads like bad high school poetry is most likely because that's what it is.

Comments

I would say not only a certain lack of skill, but also a very high opinion of the individual, by itself, combined with a crew of sycophants and a complete lack of doubt about its genius.

I'd say that a good artist puts the creation before the creator, letting it shine for itself, just like a good parent will let their kids shine by themselves, for themselves, without sucking up the admiration and praise like a vampire.

Which in no way means that one shouldn't take pride in the creation; its knowing the difference between being loved because of your creations, rather than being loved because you create.
Richo said…
Self-pitying is, I feel, something we can all live without in all walks of life, art or otherwise.

There's a huge difference between wallowing in angst and expressing yourself emotionally, though.

I have personally always preferred art, of any nature, that has arrived completely from the heart, no matter what it expresses.

The problem, however, resides with artists whose motives either exist in realms beyond this or pander to them in order to create something more readily digestible or marketable.

Too many boxes have been long created by others to now step into.

as long as you're here, why not read more?

don't speak

you might think that it sounds dramatic, but linguistic genocide is something that happens. people in power will go to great lengths to eradicate certain languages, not just for the sheer joy of making the world a lesser place, but as a way of beating down the culture that's associated with it. language has a unique reciprocal bond with culture, and every group that has attempted to break down another has recognised that forbidding a cultural group from communicating in their own language is an extremely effective way to tear apart their culture.

there are lots [and lots and lots and lots] of examples of this sort of thing, some successful, some not, but far too many to cover in one blog post. however, i thought it was worth looking at some languages that have been the subjects of active repression, and what the political consequences of that have been.

devastation :: the native north american languages :: it should come as no surprise that the largest genocide in history [by a ma…

long division

after the united states election last year, there were the usual calls for the country to unite behind the new president. that never happens anymore, because, since george w. bush scored a victory in 2004, having launched the country into a war in iraq for no reason, the people on the losing side of a presidential election have been pretty bloody angry about it. democrats hated bush 43. republicans really hated obama. democrats really hate trump.

it didn't help that trump didn't make the typical conciliatory gestures like including a couple of members of the opposite party in his cabinet, or encouraging his party to proceed slowly with contentious legislation. barack obama arguably wasted at least two and as many as six years of his tenure as president trying to play peacemaker before he felt sufficiently safe to just say "screw you guys" and start governing around the ridiculous congress he was forced to deal with. not-giving-a-shit obama was the best president in …

losers?

just a short time ago, i waxed prosaic about trump supporters who felt betrayed by their candidate pursuing in office the exact things that he said he would. short version: i have no sympathy.

today is a bit different. in the wake of america's bombing of a syrian air strip, in response to a chemical weapons attack by the syrian government, my facebook and twitter feeds were peppered with plaintive shades of "we believed you". these are the people who heard trump say that he wanted the united states to step back and focus on defending its own. indeed, trump did say such things, over and over; america cannot be the policeman of the world. even arch-liberal cynics like me had to admit that this was a refreshing argument to hear from someone outside the paul family, and, could easily have been turned into trump's greatest argument against hillary clinton. [he chose to go another way, which also worked.]

trump also said, repeatedly, that america needed to invest heavily …