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Let’s Talk: Why Do We Love To Hate The Arts?

By Katie Veneziano

A scenario for most anyone who attended public school: the budget has been altered to cut costs, the Board of Education for your town has met to go over ways to cut spending and evaluate what’s more important and what’s on the chopping block. The football team gets new jerseys (not the state…I hope…I think…can we do that?), and the theatre department’s upcoming spring musical gets cancelled.

You log onto Facebook and see the first reviews are out for the new smash-hit blockbuster because your friends are sharing them left and right. The reviews are rave throughout 95% of the comments, but that last 5% of Carol from Lansing, Michigans who have no knowledge of anything regarding cinematography or mis-en-scene remark that the movie is “over-hyped, not even that good” and she “doesn’t see what all the fuss is about anyway.” Also, she hasn’t even seen it. You’ve also never met Carol, statistically have no chance of meeting Carol, and yet you find yourself debating the pros and cons of Carol and her opinions.

Oscar season rolls around and the new round of nominees comes out. Let’s say three names you vaguely recognize but can’t remember what you’ve seen them in, one new “breakout star” and of course, Meryl Streep. Your aunt who swears “red wine loves her more than she loves it” while she laughs nervously, and has an Associate’s Degree in General Studies begins shouting at the TV that Meryl is washed-up, the “breakout star” is “out past their damn bedtime” and butchers Lupita Nyong’o as “Loopy – what? How are you supposed to – Lupe? Loopy…Nee…Nongo” who “I’ve never seen her before, so she can’t be that good.”

Herein lies the question – why do we as a society expect so much from the arts when we refuse to supplement it as the living, breathing creature that it is?

Why do we teach our children that being actors and musicians are borderline dangerous jobs and then wonder why they can’t hold a “real” job for more than six months out of pure misery? Why on earth do we critique film plots for being “dry” and then turn around and try to burn down the theatre when it talks about subjects that we conversely consider too taboo? Why and how can we expect anything out of any field in the arts when we’d sooner leave it in the pasture than we would acknowledge the power it takes to show up uniformly in black to call out sexual harassment in the industry?

We love to hate the arts because human nature is to fear the unknown and the arts are always changing.

The new generation of artists are gearing up underneath, around and inside of us even while I take twelve tries to make sure this article is grammatically correct. Try as society might to quell their ideas and inspirations, we cannot let them. Carol from Lansing will argue she’s “a tax paying American” so she can express her opinion however she pleases, and while Carol technically is correct, Carol is also what is commonly referred to as an instigator. She is the kind of person who feeds the fire that is trying to put out artistic liberties and freedoms. Remember those “Lisa didn’t wear her safety goggles in class and now she’s blind. Don’t be like Lisa!” posters in your high school science classrooms?

Don’t be like Carol.

(Also, wear your safety glasses)

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