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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?

dreamspeak

ok, so i've been lax about posting here. i apologise. there are reasons. i don't know if they'ree good reasons, but they include:


i've had a lot of work to do, which is nice because i'm a freelancer and things tend to slow down in the summer, so the more work i get now, the less i have to worry about later [in theory].i started watching the handmaid's tale. i was a little hesitant because i didn't actually like the novel very much; i found it heavy-handed and predictable. the series relies on the novel for about 80% of its first season plot but i nevertheless find it spellbinding. where i felt that the novel beat readers with its politics, the series does a better job of connecting with the humanity in the midst of politics. i'm dithering on starting season two because i am a serial binger and once i know damn well that starting the second season will soon consign me to the horrors of having to wait a week between episodes. i don't know if i can han…

i agree, smedley [or, smokers totally saved our planet in 1983]

so this conversation happened [via text, so i have evidence and possibly so does the canadian government and the nsa].

dom and i were trying to settle our mutual nerves about tomorrow night's conversion screening, remembering that we've made a fine little film that people should see. which is just about exactly what dom had said when i responded thusly:

me :: i agree smedley. [pauses for a moment] did you get that here?

dom :: no?

me :: the aliens who were looking at earth and then decided it wasn't worth bothering with because people smoked even though it was bad for them?
come to think of it, that might mean that smokers prevented an alien invasion in the seventies.

dom :: what ?!?!?

me :: i've had wine and very little food. [pause] but the alien thing was real. [pause.] well, real on tv.

dom :: please eat something.

of course, i was wrong. the ad in question ran in 1983. this is the part where i would triumphantly embed the ad from youtube, except that the governmen…

mental health mondays :: separate and not equal

given the ubiquitousness of racial disparities in the united states, there's no reason why we should be surprised that they exist in mental health care. unlike a lot of other areas, the people in power have acknowledged the problem for decades. but the situation isn't getting any better. 
the united states surgeon general documented the differences between white and non-white mental health care back in 2001 so we can assume that it was already a known problem at that point. two years later, a presidential commission said the same damn thing and groups like the national association for mental health seized on this to develop guidelines on how to bridge the ethnic gap. from the turn of the century through 2007, the number of papers and publications talking about the mental health care gap spiked. the issue was viewed as being on par with obesity when it came to urgent problems.

starting in 2004, researchers undertook a massive project that involved the records of nearly a quart…