artists without audiences

Johann_Heinrich_Füssli_036

So, I was reading this, and it got me to thinking.

How can there be art without an audience? To whom do you speak? Sure, you can just write or draw and put it in a desk drawer and it never sees the light of day. But… is that really being an artist?

Without an audience an artist is as isolated as a corpse. Sadly, he is not fertile to other forms of life, because he gives nothing of himself but shock and vitriol. At least a corpse is made of the same basic chemistry it is surrounded by, and is eventually reclaimed to the firmament. Modern art is indigestible even by the composting forces of culture. This is why we have had little more than zombie art for the last 100+ plus years.

But seriously– an artist without an audience, who yet earns bread, is less natural than a unicorn. At least the latter is self sustaining and has the virtue of treasuring purity.

By Pearson Scott Foresman [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Pearson Scott Foresman [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Pithy Summaries of Writers…

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Pithy summaries of writers I have read, writers I know, and writers I love:

John C Wright : A game master poet who breaks minds for a living.

Declan Finn : His work paints a vivid arena where he battles demons. Both others’ and his own.

Sarah Hoyt : Discover a thousand worlds where the air sings of freedom. Quiet, you have to listen for it.

G K Chesterton : The Truth is forever new, sprouting from an old chestnut.

George R R Martin : Nihilism is the ultimate fantasy.

Kurt Vonnegut : Three things stand between man and despair : Hope, Laughter and Imagination. Hope jumped off the train at Slapstick. Beyond that, hope is only present in younger writers, and better readers.

Dorothy Sayers : The Truth is always worth looking for, but especially among laughter and trivia.

Vox Day : Like the devil, if you hate him too much, you wind up pleasing him anyway.

Cedar Sanderson : Mythic fantasy is not about magic, but the foundations of the world, and the love which animates it.

Neil Stephenson: Fiction as strange as truth. Pick him up if you desire a mad dash through a fractal nerdgasm.

Yes, I have read more authors than these. I am friends with more authors than these. But I can safely say I’ve read enough work to have a sense of their essence.

Aristotle meets Jesus

fontofworlds:

An oldie but a goodie.

Originally posted on Margot St. Aubin:

Aristotle depicted by Raphael, holding his Ethics: detail from the Vatican fresco The School of Athens, 1510 – 1511.

I think Chesterton is ignored today because we do not have the intellectual fortitude to understand his point. We are blinded by wit and a clever turn of phrase, but do not see the meaning behind what is said.

Thought is virga, showering us, yet dries up before it touches the soil. Because we do not believe that reality is real, thought is less than metaphysical, less than smoke. Talk is cheap and meaning is non existent.

Moral relativism is the philosophy of depression and death– a death of cold. That is, falling asleep, thinking everything is fine.  All you see is the whiteness of a blank page; there appears no reason to worry. Yet reality will still devour you, and finds it easier to do so when there is no…

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Sunday Shrine 04-12-2015 Divine Mercy Sunday

By Eugeniusz Kazimirowski (1873-1939) (http://www.cisza2.krakow.dominikanie.pl) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Eugeniusz Kazimirowski (1873-1939) (http://www.cisza2.krakow.dominikanie.pl) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

While today is Divine Mercy Sunday, I’m not going to post a Divine Mercy Shrine.  I am somewhat of a contrarian, so– instead I thought I’d post a St. Stanislaus shrine.  Why? Well, he’s the Polish edition of St. Thomas More. We can use some of that in this day and age.  Poland brought us the Divine Mercy Devotion, so…  I give you the parish of St. Stanislaus of Cracow, in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

By Franciscan (http://ststanislaus.org/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Franciscan (http://ststanislaus.org/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This above image shows clean up efforts after a tornado.

Unfortunately, there are not many images for this beautiful church. But here’s a more modern look at the exterior:

Now for a look at the lovely interior. Apparently, this is a shot after they renovated the parish in 2011.  I approve.

By Owen M. Dabek (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Owen M. Dabek (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Happy Divine Mercy Sunday!

“Loyalty Day”

By Aznluvr (talk).Aznluvr at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

By Aznluvr (talk).Aznluvr at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

So I look at the calendar and see that there is this holiday called “Loyalty Day.” It is happening as we speak, apparently.  Yeah, I know. Because a man with an R behind his name put this travesty into print, I’m supposed to be thrilled by it. Because it’s supposed to evoke patriotism, mom, and apple pie…

Ahem. There’s just one problem. It doesn’t.

Nothing “Loyalty Day” will ever have to offer is going to hold a candle to “would you follow me into fire? would you follow me into darkness? would you follow me into death?”. So why fucking bother? Not to mention it’s undoubtedly a plot by people who don’t get that loyalty is EARNED by one’s own conduct, and whose conduct has, therefore, been contemptible.

My first reaction when I saw the name was, “god, where do I live? ‘The People’s Republic of Amerikka’?”

After doing some furious research… I find the whole thing was put in place by Dwight D. Eisenhower.  Really?  How… Ironic. He’s a man who would actually  know what real loyalty is. Hint: it’s not a flag waving naivete assuming loyalty to them that hasn’t earned it.

I am told that it was a symbolic replacement of May Day. No one talked about it much.  But now… funny how we are hearing about it again, as if it’s a real thing.  To our current regime? That’s enough to make me laugh.

They have no loyalty to our country. They resigned our borders, sent our troops to combat a disease, give aid and comfort to our enemies abroad, encourage criminals to kill our neighbors to score political points for a purely local battle, etc.

Well, it’s important to understand the distinction between what actually matters and what actually doesn’t. Most folks these days have at least as hard a time with that as Neville Chamberlain did.

“You can have monthly ‘Plutonium Parades’ through the central market of Tehran” is not the same thing as “you can have enrichment centrifuges”.

And Here’s what HuffPo said when Bush did it.  Now here’s Obama declaring the holiday. NO complaints. Not a peep. Funny that.

 

The War on Fandom– By Fandom

The War on Fandom– By Fandom

Comikaze_Expo_2011_-_Cyberman_from_Doctor_Who_(6324615505)

By The Conmunity – Pop Culture Geek from Los Angeles, CA, USA (Comikaze Expo 2011 – Cyberman from Doctor Who) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This.

Background here. And this. And this. And this.

Sigh. What happened to that happy amoeba of “we all share our weirdness together”?

I matriculated in the fan culture that built fan run conventions. Yes, I’m talking about cons like Worldcon. Working from the inside, the original culture of fandom was inclusive, welcoming– a veritable melting pot of shared love of our various obsessions. There are many obsessions, but these are mine! See, this is how I enjoy them and we can be our geeky awkward selves in a shared space! For a time, those values overtook barriers of politics, false identity and economic differences and put all that BS aside to have a special place. Then, somewhere along the line, fandom got… popular.

We weren’t really sure what to do about it.

Since then, some values from the outside our ranks have gotten their way in.

They say sinister things, like:

  • Some fans are more fannish than others. They don’t belong among us.
  • You aren’t safe here. We’ll make separate, safe spaces under our broad tent, so you will not be harmed/tainted by these other nobs.
  • You aren’t really inclusive if you don’t specifically check all the check-boxes we say you need to check.

 

All of this boils down to one toxic message:

People who are different from each other cannot hope to get along. Strangers will attack you. Separate into your comfort zones and be safe.

Let me give some people who claim to be our leading lights some insight.

THESE ARE NOT THE VALUES THAT DIY FANDOM STARTED WITH. If they were, mass fandom would not exist.

Why?

First: you live or die by how many people you could entice into the community.  These awesome cons cannot survive without attendees– and fresh blood.  And while families do come to cons, there aren’t enough to support us– or replace us.

Well, if we really believed the new school, why would be bother creating big diverse organizations to begin with? Who would bother to attend conventions in hotels surrounded by people? We’d invite those safe people to our homes, and tell the rest of the universe to go hang. We would be content with local clubs. Under circumstances like these, who would bother inventing WORLD CON?

Why do I go to conventions? I go to MEET OTHER FANS. I could care less what the vast majority of these media conglomerates want to sell me. If I want to buy something? I will go and find that thing on the internet. I don’t need to stand in line for hours for a brief glimpse of some movie star I’m in love with. I can write fan fic in the privacy of my own basement.

Honestly, it is the characters I care about, full stop. The actor wears the visage for a brief shining moment (he or she calls it work) and shares himself with that character so we may all love him. This is awesome, but not my area of interest.

The second thing I want, is meet the minds who came up with these characters, and script their lives. I’d like to buy them a drink (doesn’t even have to be alcoholic) and have a social chat with them. That is why I chose to join fannish society– and that is why I still love the idea of Worldcon.

Maybe DIY fandom can’t scale the way Media West and Dragon Con can. You know what? Unequal numbers don’t bother me. Local smaller groups just makes it easier to find time to spend with the folks who socialize in consuite. I’ve talked to some incredibly famous writers– including Terry Pratchett even a hand full of movie stars. I have truly been blessed to be part of Fandom. And my old stomping ground convention wasn’t even that big, or that rich. We just had a good culture that ran a reliable con, so we got some big names for treating everybody well.

But if the big tent is divided into ever smaller warring factions– all these cool things won’t even be possible.

What bothers me is that these apparent leading lights of DIY fandom have forgotten their roots, their purpose– and that is a threat to ALL fandom. Because, once we forget our roots, we forget who we are, period.

This divide and conquer strategy is lethal. Because sooner or later, folks will realize they don’t have the money to be a part of this global social club where they only meet the people they are comfortable with. Why can’t they just meet those safe approved people somewhere cheaper? Aren’t there a hundred different ways to have a private safe gathering that exclude people we don’t like? Suddenly, you don’t need a con anymore.

Because, surprise, the con is SUPPOSED TO BE THE SAFE PLACE FOR ALL OF US. Not just the special ones, but everybody.

Take a risk and meet someone new.