Naked Science Forum

General Science => General Science => Topic started by: pantodragon on 24/01/2013 14:12:04

Title: Is Old Blighty Aptly Named?
Post by: pantodragon on 24/01/2013 14:12:04
I have just been hearing about the World Roots Academy.  This is, I think, a BBC (British Broadcasting Company) organisation which supports folk/ethnic music of all kinds.  Each year it takes on a ‘protégé’.  This will be a musician who can be from anywhere in the world, but is already at work in his own tradition in his own country.  The BBC then appoint the protégé a mentor, someone from the same tradition, but who had ‘made it’ in the world scene.

The thing I heard was actually an advert for the organisation and the radio programmes that it spawns, and so the last protégé was wheeled out to extol the merits of the beast.  He was quoted as saying that the appointment had instantly changed his music.

This is all presented as so benign, as giving ‘opportunity’ to people who would otherwise be denied it.

Actually it is malign.  It is cultural imperialism, something that is practiced very aggressively by the UK, among other countries.  It happens in all the arts.  A prize is set up and it is open to anyone in the world.  But if you want to win that prize you must, of course, achieve a certain standard, must classify as what the judges consider to be an exceptional artist/writer/musician.

The important point is that if you want to win one of these prizes then you must abandon your own idiom in favour of some standard decided by the ‘establishment’; you have to give up allowing your own likes and dislikes to guide you in favour of learning some establishment notion of what constitutes ‘good’ music/writing/art; you have to sell your soul, prostitute your talents.

The consequences of this are many.

Firstly, it sets ART above people.  It makes people ‘slaves’ to art instead of putting art at the service of people.  ART becomes something supra-human instead of being something that people do for pleasure, to express themselves, to communicate and the like.  Instead of music and art and story-telling being things people learn to do as naturally and easily as children learn to speak, they become things that only ‘talented’ people can do, and which they to do by learning what constitutes ‘good’ art and ‘good’ practice and by copying the methods and practices that have been standardised by the ‘establishment’ and so on.

(To break the rules, as, for example, the ‘impressionists’ did is not to ‘go your own way’.  In order to break the rules you first have to have been trained in them, so you have already lost your individuality.  ‘Breaking the rules’ is a tried and true method by which artists can achieve a sort of trivial originality and thus make names for themselves.)

OK, anyone (who can afford it) can take up any of the arts as a hobby anytime they choose, but they will know better that to think themselves ‘good’ at it, and if they do not, then they only have to appear on an internet forum, join a writers’ group, or, best of all, try to get published, to expose the ‘conceit’.

But also, there are children: how many of them find their interest in the arts blighted by the general attitude that if you are not ‘exceptionally’ talented then there is no point in pursuing that interest?  Even if they are not directly told as much, the interest is likely to die of neglect because parents and school teachers do not encourage or feed it, and instead, encourage something the child is not particularly interested in but which is perceived as leading to a more financially secure future.
“Thus are our loves blighted.”

On internet forums, and other places, one hears people extolling the virtues of ‘criticism’: they talk of how ‘hard’ the lessons were, how  much the criticism ‘hurt’, but how glad they are in retrospect for they can see how much it has ‘improved’ their art.

Put it in this perspective: a poem, novel, story or picture is the ‘child’ of the artist.  It is their ‘baby’.  So someone comes along and says, “Its eyes are too close together”, or, “It’s got the wrong hair colour”, or, “Its nose is too big”, or, “Its voice is too harsh” – “Go and get it corrective surgery and dye its hair” etc. You would be grateful?  You would do it?  And you would subject every subsequent child to the same procedures?  And you would expect this to create a good relationship between you and your children?  And especially when you continued with the corrective procedures while they were growing up?  Actually, you’d have to kill any love you might have had for your children in order to do that to them.

This is exactly what happens in the arts: all love is killed.  You can hear it when artists talk about how ‘hard’ they have to work.  If they loved what they were doing it would not be hard work, it would be a joy to do.
“He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.”
Or, in the words of the playwright, Allan Bennet,
“Sooner or later everything in life becomes work.  Even work becomes work.”

(I wonder how many scientists actually enjoy their work.  I know what they say when they are on TV, but the reality of science is a whole lot different.  For a start, scientists are reckoned to have, at most, 5 years of productive life ‘as scientists’.  After that you cannot expect to have any more good ideas and so you go up the scale to professorship and become the one that finds the money to fund the ones that are still in their 5 year life-span – doesn’t sound like a lot of fun to me.)

At best, love is replaced by a certain ‘pride’ in achievement, or virtuosity, but pride is a very poor substitute for love.

I might anticipate that someone might argue that they are only supplying their children with glasses or contact lenses, or correcting a hair-lip etc.  This might be plausible if it only happened to a few ‘children’, but ALL art of ALL kinds is ‘corrected’.  No, I do not think that all artists, before training always produce deformed, disabled and dysfunctional children.

The other side of this coin is that art becomes bland and monotonous.

The academic establishment maintains that we have a ‘rich cultural heritage’.  But that is total nonsense.  They have absolutely no basis on which to make such an assertion, and I, with equal conviction, could claim exactly the opposite. (We cannot see that our culture would have been like if the establishment had not taken control of the arts.)

I have seen and experienced ethnic cultures in many parts of the world, and I have seen these cultures being ‘upgraded’, ‘improved’, and have seen them all but disappear to be replaced by a poor, bland, soulless version – something that can hold its own on the ‘world stage’, something that impresses, something that sells, something that has LOST ALL HEART.
Title: Re: Old Blighty
Post by: CliffordK on 24/01/2013 21:17:08
I certainly would not say that glasses are a problem, even if there may be some stigma associated with glasses.  It is certainly good to see the chalkboard (do those still exist?), or to be able to read a book.

Teeth?  Well, everyone likes straight teeth.

There may be good reasons to do some cosmetic surgeries, for example repair of a cleft lip.  Good or bad, physical appearance is important in our society.

This doesn't mean, that I would be in favor of every enhancement.  At some point, people should accept being "normal".

Hair Color?  Well, some people just like to experiment, and I see absolutely no problem with that.