Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Culture Thoughts


I am an artist and have long struggled with making art that serves a people and progress rather than individualism.
I remember adamantly insisting to an art history professor that the Dyonisian Principles of art meant nothing to me and I would, instead, study social realism.
I continue to make art and continue to explore the role of artist as producer of culture.
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Check out Kiwi's excellent thoughts on the matter.
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Is everyone as sick of Shepard Fairey as I am?
Well, regardless, he is having a retrospective of his very impressive body of work.

His appropriation of radical political images and people has always rubbed me the wrong way. Of course, he has totally proven himself to not be aligned with any actual radical political agenda. Shouldn't he be "taxed" for his appropriations that are only making his pockets fat? ;)

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Sports are not entirely different. They are a cultural arena. Of course, watching, rather than playing sports, is nothing less than the spectacle manifest and usually serves to satiate restless masses. However, athletes are people and do come from material communities.
Today we see a lot less of the likes of Muhammad Ali or Bill Shankly as millionaire athletes seem to be divorced from reality.

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on the subject of culture, here is what I think of NBC's Heroes:

For a while now, I have been hearing/reading how Heroes has lost its magic and along with it, most of its viewers. I don't put too much weight on what the US audience is watching (at least not in regards to quality). However, after watching the 1st episode in the latest story arc, I have also come to the conclusion that Heroes has lost most magic it once had.
As a comic book geek, I was delighted with season one of Heroes. It was just like a comic book! Even the show's shortcomings smelled of comic book clich├ęs that fanboys/girls easily gloss over in interest of believing in the theme of a story. The second season still felt like a comic book. I loved the way loyalties shifted and felt like we were witnessing some interesting character development. The introduction of new characters with new abilities felt like the world of Heroes was being fleshed out and multidimensional.

Many viewers began to stop watching around this time. It could have had something to do with the writers' strike and fatigue from waiting for the show to return. However, other fantastical serial shows such as Lost have not taken quite the dive. (It should be noted that I believe both Lost and Heroes have taken a big hit due to US audience's difficulty in following too involved serial dramas.) The show began tinkering with the story and the staff to drum back an audience. Was this why all characters were dumped except for the completely inbred (literally) original characters? Even significant secondary characters deeply involved in the story and ambiance of the show were left to the wayside.

The most recent story arc began with a whimper last week. It is for the best. No need to get everyone excited for such a letdown. What might have been an attempt to get back to basics and what originally made the show popular has resulted in reinforcing the most two-dimensional characters that repeat the same story over and over again. There has been no character development! What first looked like complex switching of loyalties has resulted in simplistic good guys becoming simplistic bad guys.

I will continue to watch the show for now. I will hope, like comic book fans all too often do, that things will improve. Perhaps Heroes' execs ought to bring back Jeff Loeb or hire good comic book writing vets. Dumbing it down or trying to go back to beginnings is not going to work.

On an end note: What is up with Claire's hair?! Is that a bad wig?!

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