Friday, January 02, 2004

More culture, yeah right.


The BBC picked up a press release from their competition, the British TV station ArtsWorld (sorta like ArTV, here). Apparently ArtsWorld surveyed 1,000 English folk, and 900 of them said that they wanted to see more theater, opera or exhibitions.

The Independent also played it rather straight, and also did a copy paste job on the press release. To their benefit, they also added in some commentary talking about The Prince of Wales' Arts and Kids Foundation, and some guy named Colin Tweedy talking in a highfalutin' way about how "Art is good."

The one that I particularly liked was the website/blog run by this design firm, Zerovis. They saw right through the charade and had the most pithy statement:

Our take on this obvious publicity stunt for the failing channel is that it is reminiscent of a scene in the Dudley Moore film, Crazy People. Moore, a cynical ex-advertising agency surveys a group of mental patients, 100% of who respond positively to the question, "Who wants to be a fire engine?" � link

Nobody in their right mind is going to say that they want to see "less" art, and I would venture a guess that the 10% of folk who didn't want more Art, said that they already saw enough, and those would be the folk that I would believe. If you already have a subscription to the ballet, and the symphony, are a member of the museum and frequent bookstores, you probably don't have all that much free time in your life to stick in the opera and/or a musical. After all you gotta work in order to afford the tickets.

It's these tickets that ArtsWorld is working on � since they are a TV station, fooling folk that they can watch the Opera or see an exhibition from the comfort of their couch, simultaneously allays the guilt that some one is dumb as dirt, while getting ArtsWorld more subscribers.

Watching Opera or Theater, or Oprah or Jerry Springer "The Opera" on TV will not only make you dumb as dirt, but also does nothing to further any discussion about what you just saw. The discussion about what you saw or experienced is almost as important as seeing, or experiencing the culture itself.

Through discussion your ideas are either going to get more focused as to what you do and do not like, or if they aren't focused (sorta like this blog) then you're gonna end up listening to what other folk have to say. Either way this ends up being a good thing. If you're focused then you're going to have an effect on other folk (including perhaps the artist), or if you're not focused then their going to have an effect on you.

Being able to change your mind about something (other people having an effect on you) is not a bad thing. Being able to discuss with an artist what possibly could make their work better (according to you) is a great thing, 'cuz then you're just half a step away from being an artist yourself.

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