Wednesday, December 08, 2004

How the Homosexuals Saved Civilization and muses about popular culture

Just finished the fascinating and very entertaining book "How the Homosexuals Saved Civilization" by Cathy Crimmins.

I agree with a lot of what she said in it.

Much of her writing seems to draw on the theories of Harry Hay, the early queer theory pioneer and longtime Communist Party educator.

Hay's theory, or part of his theories, was that gays as people who had more free time because of not having families and more free mental space through being outside of the gender contests featured in much of society could afford to be creative in ways which people more tied to the traditions of culture through the time honored institutions of marriage and family could not.

Gays also throw a monkey wrench into patriarchical capitalist culture through being a portal for males to express matriarchical and feminine points of view, and so are thankfully and needfully subversive to the entire system which we live under.

Great book, sort of expensive but nonetheless great, get it.


Which brings up the issue of culture and creativity in general. The book about gays and civilization talks a lot about positive cultural forces unleashed by homosexuals in many walks of life.

On the other hand I've just recently seen what must be one of the ultimate low points of culture, right or left, namely, Alexander. Which featured in it's previews something which may break the record for how low a culture can go: The Phantom of the Opera movie.

Let's not go there.

There's a reason, though, why American culture is crap and getting worse all the time. Actually many reasons but for now lets just focus on this one: the inability of people to break through into the media in ways which reach a mass audience.

The media these days, and I'm talking the creative arts, you know, fiction, that sort of thing, is so machine like that the individual creative impulse can't get into play at all.

If you want to get something in the media you have to join the system and go through the gears until someday you find yourself in an assistant-something to something-or other position which marginally enables you to define content, which then opens up the door for you, possibly, to actually have a more direct role in doing something creative which will be seen by a mass audience.

I happen to believe that creativity always manifests on the individual level, even if it's done collaboratively. Collaboration is done, of course, between individuals. There's a difference between collaboration and the collectivization of the cultural creation industry.

When that happens the individual link is destroyed and the system can no longer produce things which have energy and vitality, so the system reverts to the lowest level which it can possibly go to. And you see predictable, derivative, crap, instead of genuine freshness.

It goes back to living in a society where creative individuals or groups can't actually make a living doing what they do.

You make the bar to success and money making, since we all do have to live, high enough so that only the industries can produce anything and you'll tend to destroy or to filter out the creative people and groups who could reinvigorate the system.

The machine also creates a god complex among consumers.

In real life creativity isn't so easy to produce and can't be called up to order on command, not by a long shot. In real life creativity is produced by human beings who can only do so much, and Hollywood and the TV establishment, and the Music industry, and everything else out there want you to believe that if something doesn't have formal and technical perfection and doesn't do everything you've always wanted it to do that it's worthless, which is mucho unreasonable.

So maybe the deadening goes both ways. Yes, the industry puts high bars up, but it's collective power and money, power to mobilize resources and produce wonderfully executed and stunning things which are at essence pieces of crap, has jaded consumers as well.

You don't want talented artists anymore you want people who can be featured on multiple E! biopics or on VH-1 Behind the Music or who embody everything you wish for or desire. Which few people can be. Few people can actually fit that description, and fewer still outside of the industry can afford to manufacture such a pedigree, which is what these shows mostly do---they do the work of PR for selected industry faves.

Brittney Spears was asked her opinion about the President. Isn't it enough for a person to be a performer?

Why do we have to elevate people who do a job, play and/or compose music, into super beings whose opinions carry a weight higher than our own?

Trying to be all things to all people is something that outsiders and creative people who work without the PR can't afford to do, especially considering that it's hard enough to do this in the environment which exists in the U.S. at the moment, where there's not only no funding for the arts but even small local venues, the things which are supposed to be the surrogate incubators for artists, are decreasing in number.

So people look to the big media to supply them with their prefab stars, which can only be worse and worse in real content as time goes on, while ignoring the fostering of creative communities of real people in the real world who could actually come up with some things which could lead to some good culture, media, whatever being produced.

Somehow, humanity got edited out of the equation, and creativity can't be created automatically.

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