Saturday, September 7, 2013

Day 244 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis





A few weeks ago I miscalculated the amount of time I've been involved in this endeavor of 365 consecutive days of blogging. Well, today is the official two thirds point. So...Yippee, Skippee!!!! And now on to our regularly scheduled neurosis.
Lately I've been growing more and more aware of a trend I find nauseating. Ever greater numbers of young artists are putting their work up on the Internet for public comment. This could be a good thing, but most of them haven't yet found their voices and lack the confidence of their convictions. This leads too frequently to works that get altered, not to more clearly state the author's original view, but to avoid the chastisement of the mob. This is disturbingly like an echo of the citizen's committees in Ayn Rand's novels, "Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged".
Don't get me wrong, I understand that Ms. Rand's philosophy was a reaction to Stalinist Communism and was tilted so far to the right that the likes of Senator Paul Ryan claimed to be enamored of her thinking - until he discovered she was also an atheist. But there is a strong validity to her stand against the group-think pressures that she so despised. The effects of a so called enlightened society that attempts to bring everything down to the level of a common denominator is ludicrous. That it sneaks its way into the arts is savage.
I have seen times when people with less talent than the monitor they're sitting in front of have tried to use personal innuendo and their own prejudices to get the artist to change what has been created to reflect the lower standards of their own understanding and endeavors. This is a flavor of political correctness that should leave a really foul taste in the mouth of any artist who caves in to it. If the critics had to do the same thing in an environment where it was expected that interactions be carried on face-to-face and their own works were up for critique, I think they would be far more subdued in their zealotry. But that's the beauty of the online community. It's so much easier to drag someone down than to have to raise yourself up.
I come from that bridge group. The same age as the guys who invented all this technology and opened the door for the less worthy to be the arbiters of taste. I spent a lot of time in workshops where artists of all stripes came together and discussed the TECHNICAL merits of each other's works, not the CONTENT. If you had something you wanted to say, so long as you hadn't slid right off the edge of taste or sense (both of those having VERY broad parameters), then have at it. You might be steered to create a more technically capable work, but your emotion and choice of symbol were yours and fairly inviolate.
I describe a lot of what I see now as the art of ice skating. The creators of works have become so intimidated or influenced by the pablum that floods the stage that they end up sliding over the cold surface of an idea, presenting the audience with pretty, but innocuous, figures. Everyone ends up being judged as to how similar they are to everyone else. The potential for falling through the surface and having to survive the dangers below are mitigated by mundanity.
Really? Is this what we have fallen to? Is this our great achievement? That it becomes more acceptable to spew drivel that cannot, no, dares not offend, discomfort or challenge - Unless it is done in the socially acceptable cause of the crowd? Well, in that case I'm glad I'm me. I'm glad I'm not like Rand's heros. I may not burn down my finest creation in protest, or lead the rebels away to watch everything crumble from a distance, but - not to put too fine a point on it... FUCK THAT NOISE! I will continue to write it the way I feel it. I will use the words that sing the songs and poems and stories to ME! If you all want to slide down to that comfortably undisturbed piece of ice and OOH and AH over the same routine over and over, well knock yourselves out. I prefer the occasional red faced shock and embarrassment in the audience, because, if it all leaves you just a little damned uncomfortable, then maybe you will actually spend a moment or two in real thought and consideration. Anything else is just TV. Mindless!
Another helpful hint from your Uncle Dane.
Advocates and Avat
Dane F. Baylis

She went along
To see what it was like
In one of those places.

Somewhere near the bottom
Of her third drink
She became fond of the word
Watching the girls
Grinding bored pelvises
At male faces
Whose eyes spoke monologues
On the betrayal of fantasy.

By the end of her fourth
She demanded my participation
How could I not be disgusted?

I shrugged
Slipping a buck under the garter
On the generous blonde
Trading diplomatic smiles with me
Neither of us denying
That on our separate sides of the runway
We are too old for each other.

Unlike my companion
She never mixes idealism
With economic necessity.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------, love, write.

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Dane F. Baylis

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