I don’t think it’s about art…

So, the world is… weird. Right now. Always, but especially right now. I’ve regularly likened it to a super boring cyberpunk dystopia. Like, we fight with AI just they promised, but now its like… a reCaptcha not working instead of trying to save a dolphin with a supercomputer brain.

As a result, I’ve been grappling with the, for lack of a better term, wars that are going on over art right now. There’s some vocal groups that have decided that their way is how Art Ought To Be ™. To take them at their word, they’re so righteous in their beliefs that there’s almost nothing that is too far for their cause.

I’ve been turning it over. Because I can understand believing in art. I make a living doing art and art adjacent things. I’m just not positive in… a lot of what is being done. There’s a recent tendency to try to disallow or disavow people enjoying a piece of art that you don’t. There’s this thread, and I struggle to put a finger on it, that the market of ideas, if such a thing exists, is being distorted, and any efforts to rectify it are justified.

I’m not sure I believe that’s what’s really going on. I think that the people saying and doing these actions might believe it, but it simply can’t be the case. We can’t have movies open to billion dollar openings and argue that that’s somehow a distortion of the market. That the “real fans” don’t like it. There’s no such thing as a “real fan”. If you like something, you’re a fan of it, and I don’t truck with the gatekeeping.

What’s actually going on? This is what I’ve been struggling with. If you really believed that the idea would fail in the market, the best action is to ignore it. The movies that are publicly decried are getting more media coverage. The act of decrying it makes it more well known. It vitalizes the supporters. So, if you really wanted, I don’t know, let’s say Captain Marvel, to fail, your best call is to ignore it.

But it seems to go beyond that. They don’t want just for it to fail, they want to be part of it failing. There’s a desire to drive the downfall. To contribute to it. Then it’s about power.

Maybe art is always about power. It’s a tool that the weak use to cut at those more powerful than them. It is the tool that the powerful use to impose their will upon others, as a tool of control.

Is that what this is about? power? control? I’m not sure. It seemsm to suggest that it would be this, doesn’t it? that it’s about power and control of narratives. But I’m not sure if they’ve thought it to the end. If they’re outnumbered, if despite their most ardent efforts they’re still in the minority, how do they tell themselves that what’s going on is something other than the truth?