Thursday, March 4, 2010

Time Wounds All Heels

I've been watching Jeopardy. I'm NEVER a good person at Jeopardy; I tend to adopt my parents' friend's strategy and yell out "Frank Sinatra!" or "San Francisco!" whenever I don't know the answer...which is frequently.

But tonight I am finding myself questioning the validity of being the Powerhouse of Pointless Knowledge (my previous most-secretly-coveted title). Today I spent the afternoon reviewing a letter written by a person whom I list among my most-admired; a letter which addressed the recent Olympics and its extravagence with a view toward the humanitarian. Her points not only hit home, they created within me the voluble need to DO something. The general summation of her letter was simply that, as a whole, spending millions of dollars on a torch for the Olympics is simply a vanity when one compares the number of destitute, homeless, and/or underpriveleged to the cost of creating a symbol that the world would remember for...what, three weeks? Four?

(I'm not entirely sure. As a non-sports person, I don't tend to pay attention to these things.)

So really, I find myself as an arist voicing the query: When does art supercede the needs of humanity as a whole?

Oh, wait, it shouldn't.

Art is created when a civilization has enough of the Basic Human Needs that it can relax a bit; when gathering pinenuts no longer supercedes the need to draw antelope on a clay pot. The only civilizations which have the time to create "art" are the ones for whom survival are not in question. As a child of the West, I frequently looked at the areas through which we were settlng (read settlng without validation) and wondered how I would feel were that the only future I had to offer the world, that of one defined by the current definitions of femininity. I would look at the sagebrush, the pinenut trees, the harshness of the land and wonder how anyone could have found any joy whatsoever in an existence that appeared to be based entirely on survival.

So is "The Beloved Ostrich" really the way to go?