Tuesday, September 27, 2011

FTT Off-Topic: A Brief Moment of Linguistic Crankiness

This morning, as I was driving the eldest to school, I was listening to the local radio station, one that hosts a live music series. They were doing an improbably large countdown of their favorite artists over the years, then followed it up with this highly forgettable song from the '90s...

Now that I've ruined your mind, a disclosure: I led a band in the '90s. Did it for the better part of the decade. Played a couple of hundred gigs. Showcased for industry, got backstage action, did regrettable things with regrettable substances, spent too much money and yada yada yada. Don't have much in the way of regrets; we took our shots and I learned a lot about life, but in the final analysis, we weren't good enough to do it for a living. No shame in that. We tried with our whole hearts and left it all out on the stage. The odds are against you every step of the way, after all.

At no point did I ever refer to myself as An Artist. Frontman? Sure. Singer-songwriter? OK. Musician? Flattering, but I'll take it. It would probably make someone who went to Julliard and played for their childhood wretch, but those people tend to wretch pretty easily, so.

Artists are people who don't, as a rule, perform the same thing over and over again for people drinking beer. They also do not make the act of performing their work an intrinsic part of the content, or collaborate with multiple people who perform more or less mechanical roles to contribute to The Art. They generally work alone, obsessively, breaking rules and caring little for commercial viability, because their brains are wired not so much with How Neat It Is To Be An Artist, but that they are spectacularly ill-equipped to be anything but what they are.

You know, kind of like this.

Finishing the hat. Where there never was a hat. Yeah, that's Art, dammit.

What I did, and what all of these musicians did when they came to your studio was Craft. Learn the freaking difference.

There's nothing wrong with Craft. But it's not freaking Art, you morons, and to call it that shows that you need to feel so good about your opinions on Craft that it must be elevated to Art... because you can't take that you really love something that isn't Art. That would imply that your mind doesn't think about the finer things enough, or that the things you like that everyone else likes aren't good enough to be discussed.

And there's honestly few things in this world then when someone has to elevate a good, noble and true Craft into Art, AKA Something It Ain't, just because they are too insecure to like it for what it is.

Craft. Not Art.

We now return you to your normally scheduled sports blog. (Which is... almost entirely Craft.)

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