Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Things That Drive Me Nuts - “Serious” Artists

I recently saw the trailer for the movie Whiplash which made me psychotically angry. This movie, according to the trailer, is about an aspiring jazz drummer and his drill sergeant Hartman like teacher.

Why did this trailer make me so angry? Well, go back several years to when I was at Boxhill Institute studying professional writing and editing. I was in a class to learn about the classics of literature from the Iliad to Shakespeare. Our teacher dragged us to a performance by the Bell Shakespeare company at a tiny theatre at Monash University in Clayton.

We were a little late, but my brother and I paid at the box office and were immediately refused entry even though they were letting other able-bodied people in through the rear door which gave access to a flight of stairs. Being in electric wheelchairs we needed to go around outside and gain access through a side door. We were told this would “flood the stage” with light and ruin the performance. Apparently the creator of the Bell Shakespeare company John Bell has certain requirements when performing at a venue one is complete control of that venue when his company is performing.

He was quite willing to discriminate against two disabled people for his “artistic vision”. What a cunt. Anyone else who did something like this would be raked over the coals, but it was just sort of accepted as being his right as an artist. He takes his art so seriously that he is willing to completely ignore the feelings of other human beings that get in his way. Where have we heard this sort of thing before? Oh that’s right Nazi Germany.

Yes I am calling John Bell a Nazi.

In a similar way the so-called teacher depicted in Whiplash is a rude son of a bitch browbeating and humiliating his students. But he is doing it for the student’s own good to bring out their best! This sort of behaviour is unacceptable, always has been and always will be. You don’t need to be brutal to get the best out of people. The best way is to support people with humour, compassion, imagination and equality. To give them the confidence to be who they want to be and to pursue their dreams. But that’s another story.

When it all boils down to it artists like John Bell are entertainers. They might try to believe what they are doing has tremendous artistic and cultural significance - pull your head out of your arse. Even if you do believe that, why can’t you have fun doing it? Why is art more important than people? What gives him the right to discriminate?

I hate humourless serious artists almost as much as I hate Nazis, as in a similar way they believe they are superior to the majority of human beings and that somehow they can behave in a way that would simply not be accepted in the wider community. I think it is about time they learnt how to behave themselves.

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