Sundance Channel's been spamming about their "Iconoclasts" series which is in its third season. I'm catching the beginning of the first ep which has Sean Penn and John Krackauer going up to "the wild" in Alaska.
You shoulda heard these guys wacking off in their preambles, about how one considers himself a good writer, but not an artist "like him." About how hard it is to make a morning call as an actor because he's "just not there for a couple of hours, no matter what I've done the previous night," and how that's really hard because he has to comport his art with a limited economic timeframe. Krackauer humbly boasts [sic] about how when he mountain climbs he feels so connected blah blah blah.
This is all true, I tell ya.
The whole thing smells like this intellectual fart party, and even when it doesn't - like when Penn admits he can afford to go to Iraq as a journalist - the smell lingers. And it's made just as pretentiously - poignancy jerkoffs will have a field day orgasming dry over meaningful close ups and cutaways replete with new age-y soundtrack. But that's not even it's raison d'etre'.
The studio jerkoffs have their pr flacks get their hands in it as well.
Oh yeah, Penn made a movie about that other jerkoff - another crazy white liberal - who left everything and lived off the land. So Krackauer wrote the book, Penn's a fan of Krackauer ("he's my Jack London") and you get the picture. (pun intended)
This reminds me of one of those flashbacks from the "Kung Fu" series where, in my mis-spent youth, I once heard a very wise person say: "You know, you can sit on the floor cross-legged for a hundred years and never meditate."
Which is to say that it's fascinating the way people fool themselves into thinking that they are somehow enlightened, but what's equally fascinating to me is this grand machine - politics, media, business... all anchored of course by cash flow and reified by marketing. And that last point is not less significant to any other here because if it's true that the politicos operate this huge pr machine then it's equally true that the machine which manufactures consent on "art" or rather, what constitutes legit art, is in full effect.
And man, do people love that notion of art by the few. That's what made rock 'n roll, the punk "movement" and work of the early hip hop DJs so interesting, so vital and electric; it was something from nothing. Not codified, uncharted.
That's what makes Duchamp's R. Mutt urinal thumb in the eye to pretentiousness so great, so timeless as a reminder. A forgotten reminder.
With this single piece of "creation" Duchamp spat in the eye of elitists and said, no, art is all around us and it's also not what you're told it is. It's ready-made. It's done by "everyone." Because I say so.
That's pretty defiantly rock 'n roll, and modern to a fault.
And the value-added point that art, creativity, enlightenment, wisdom, meaning, light... despite what the machine constantly spams forth, is certainly not the sole province of the gifted few. Maybe not at all.