Saturday, April 10, 2010

Portrait of a Blog

I did not start this blog to be a journal or diary. I did not start it to be therapy. This blog was started as a way to incorporate my rantings, ravings, and writings all in one place. However, I read something the other day which I want to discuss briefly. I am not sure if it would fall in the ranting, raving, or writing category, but maybe it is a combination of all three.

In the book, Homicide: Life on the Screen, author Tod Hoffman makes an argument for what impact art should have on the human condition. He states:

"Art isn't always pleasant to look at. Nor is it supposed to be. What it is supposed to do is touch us, make an impact on us. It has something to say, an idea to communicate. We depend on art to take us places we've never before been, and show us things as they've never before been seen. It can disturb, provoke, or enrage. So long as it doesn't leave us complacent. This is why escapist entertainment cannot truly be art - it deadens us rather than enlivens us. We turn to it when we want to turn off."

I would like to thank Mr. Hoffman, as this is as close to my desire for this blog as I can explain. His argument sounds like it came out of my brain fully formed, like Athena springing forth from the head of Zeus. And while Mr. Hoffman is discussing the television show "Homicide: Life on the Streets," (one of the best shows ever on television, I might add) the argument holds true for all art.

Do I consider the rantings, ravings, and writings I place in this blog to be art? I am not sure. I aim for that distinction. I hope to be able to touch something in you with every piece posted here, no matter what that something is. I hope you don't leave this page feeling like you just watched a marathon of "Survivor" or any other reality TV trash.

Not that there is no place in the world for mind-numbing entertainment. Everyone needs to unwind every now and then, or as Mr. Hoffman put it, to "turn off." But it just seems that the majority of the entertainment available these days is designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator among us. Very little strives to be art these days. And if something does attempt to shoot for artistry, it is either eliminated quickly or shuffled off into the margins of society.

The ancient Greeks and ancient Romans put art at the front of the public. They understood that advancement comes from those who are challenged. Today we seem to be content to be the society who just gets by without ruffling too many feathers.

Of course, I am my own worst critic, so I will not be so bold as to say that my writing has any artistic merit. However, that is my dream, and I hope this blog can be a part of it. Hopefully, along the way, those who read my rantings, ravings, and writings will awaken the art within themselves.

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