A short thought for tonight

When you’re watching a country being destroyed and people’s lives collapsing, you realize how inane and childish most art is.


  1. lin

    Art is childish. Let’s sing that, smiling. Art is childish is art. That’s a good thing. Childish is a word we need to get back from the guys in the ties before everyone forgets what is important in life.

    Sorry, pet peeve of mine, but I know you know what I mean.

    We all get disheartened some days, I’d know. Then we get up the next day and remember we can laugh and go on trying our best to do what we can.

  2. I think I tend to use the word “silly” in the way you’re using “childish.” Perhaps I should have said “infantile” to make my meaning clearer. I don’t believe that art needs to be more pretentious – frankly, I think my Lands of Dream games are more serious and adult than most grim and gritty oh-this-is-so-very-dark games. In fact, the obsession with pseudo-seriousness is part of what makes so many games nauseatingly infantile: they’re games made for people pretending to be adults, for teenagers playing grown-up. But it’s like our entire culture has embraced that mentality.

  3. lin

    Nail in the head. That was exactly what I was thinking. There’s nothing wrong with teenagers playing grown-ups, but when pretentiousness and pseudo seriousness like you so well put it, is the trade off society expects us to pay for being viewed as mature in any environment (more so in art), we’re doing something seriously wrong.

    Art can approach serious problems in a “childish” manner and still affect change, if it can affect people. Not because I adhere to the old chestnut of how wise children are (they simply still lack the sophistication necessary to pretend effectively), but because a childish attitude may allow a childlike directness and honesty that can resonate with people of all ages. Sometimes it can break down the walls of affectation people learn to build around themselves as they grow older.

    Anyway, preaching to the converted.

  4. James Patton

    When I was younger I thought art was the most important thing in the world; so much so that life was less important than art. Everything I produced in this period was really embarrassingly “serious”, by which I mean it thought it was being clever when actually it was incredibly ignorant and just had a facade of knowingness.

    Eventually I realised that art is less important than life. And suddenly things made more sense. Yes, it’s nice to have plays and stories and symphonies, but it wouldn’t make sense to kill someone for one. Ironically, my writing got a lot better once I realised this. *sigh* Live and learn.

    I think most artforms have realised – or have practitioners within that artform that realised – that art is only a part of life, and that something doesn’t have to be serious and gritty and have lots of inflated egotists in it to be meaningful. Games do have such people – you, Jon Blow, Ian Bogost – but they’e not in the majority at all, and the market is still dominated by games that seem to want to argue for their own importance while featuring gameplay which is, actually, incredibly immature.

  5. Inane and childish?! Poppycock! Why, defeating robot zombie ninjas is the meaning of life! Definitely not love, you pretentious oaf.

    Why, I can see you now, sitting in the ruins of a nation, without realizing that you could solve everything by killing robot zombie ninjas!

  6. Joe

    And yet, the art remains long after a nation and all its petty squabbles fade away into history. A few pieces of art left behind is usually the only things we have to identify long dead civilizations – from crude cave paintings to crumbling edifices of ancient Greece.

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