Art Without Teeth

One of the biggest problems art is facing today is the definition of art in people’s minds. Too many people have been misled into believing that truly good art must consist of ambiguous abstractions that are somehow “timeless” – that art must be exclusively introspective, lacking context, and dedicated solely to celebrating the inability to come to any kind of conclusion. Good films are those that “apolitical” (i.e. lacking courage), whereas any film that attempts to find or portray truth is “message-heavy” and more propaganda than art.

Truth, after all, has been declared to be relative, at least when it’s convenient, and not the business of the artist. Good art, we are told, pretends that people exist in a vacuum and the world doesn’t change; or if the world changes, it does so in ways that are beyond our ability to comprehend. (Perhaps we should leave it to our leaders? They may do bad things, but really they’re just people with daddy issues, and a government of the people by the people for the people will be the same as a plutocracy, because all people are the same, driven by Human Nature. Right?)

That’s the going definition of art: self-important, intentionally myopic bullshit pumped out by cowards and apologizers who justify their lack of vision as belief in “the small things” and their lack of courage as “not wanting to preach.” But it’s not a coincidence that theatre evolved from religious rites; art is about the truth, and always has been: about seeking it, about finding it, about questioning it. It’s about humanity, about God, about the nature of the universe and the nature of society. It’s about justice, and truth, and love; fuck that, it’s about Justice and Truth and Love.

Art is about the fire, not about rearranging the motherfucking matches.

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