Sunday, June 19, 2011

note taking posted elsewhere. It didn't make it.
The problem isn't the just the ignorance of craft, it's the focus on "creativity". The psychiatrist who called the girl a dancer was observant. He paid attention to her. Proust was observant and articulate not creative.

"most serious dance they see on television has more in common with a strip tease than Alvin Ailey."

The girl grew up to become one of the people who choreographs Walt Disney rather than striptease, G Rated rather than R rated banality. Black Swan is striptease and ballet; the irony is too much for Andrew Lloyd Weber or TED.

"...just what American culture hopes for. Creativity. Individuality. Authenticity. Opposition to Convention. Wealth. Success"

This goes back to my old comments on MIT and Grant McCracken TED is neoliberalism as culture. If the men behind Grand Theft Auto are TED's optimist "Creatives",  what are the singers of Narcocorridos? People go to museums to see paintings by Velazquez not pictures of his client, Philip IV. Velazquez' works are incredibly skilled but pessimistic if not tragic. The specifics of that tragedy are what his skill describes. The description is compelling, not the skill.

Education should focus less perhaps on rote learning, but definitely less on "creativity" as a respite from grunt work. Schools should try to foster skills of observation and judgement. At 14 they should still be teaching you how to read, but no longer how to write. In the same sense they should teach the basics of reading and performing music, the foundation for a possible later hobby, but not more. More literature classes, more art history. Creativity as an ideology dumbs down the humanities and makes them palatable for people such as those at MIT who like their values prepackaged.

It's a real advantage (one of many) that films schools are still treated as trade schools while art schools are swamped by intellectualization. There should be a moratorium on the academic teaching of the contemporary arts. We'll never understand ourselves as well as our children will. False objectivity is less than counterproductive: it's destructive.

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