Lately, it has been hard to deny the decay occurring in the art industry. In film, two of the top five earners for the week of October 24, 2011, “Footloose” and “The Three Musketeers,” contain plots identical to similar movies released in the past. In literature, Bill O’Reilly is the current owner of the most popular hardcover nonfiction book. And of course, in music, Bieber is the king.
How did we get in this mess? What’s causing the destruction of these industries? A quick glance into the past yields the answer. Consider professions that are no longer needed, such as lamplighters, elevator operators, and bowling pinsetters. Advancements in technology led to the end of all of these jobs.
Technology may be doing the same to the arts. Ask yourself, “Would I rather have a $1000 laptop or a $1000 Picasso painting? A $200 iPod or $200 film script?” For Mines students, and other students outside the Mines dungeon, the answer is obvious. The desire for technology is much greater than the desire for the arts.
For further evidence that technology is destroying the arts, consider that in May of 2011, the National Endowment of the Arts included video games in its redefinition of what is considered a “work of art.” While I can see how the noise associated with chainsawing a locust could be confused with the music of Rebecca Black, I simply don’t see how “no-scoping a n00b camper” can be considered artistic in any fashion.
Because of this decline in the arts, true greatness is going unnoticed. While we sit in our basement saying phrases like, “Who needs Picasso when I can create an awesome pony in Microsoft Paint?”, or “Dude my GarageBand track’s awesomeness resurrected Cobain,” and even “Rembrandt ain’t got anything [a]on my Solidworks design,” some of the most creative musicians and actors lie homeless on the streets unknown to the public.
While the previous example was obviously highly stereotypical and hopefully untrue, Mines students can be considered to blame for this mess. By striving to make better technology, we have helped benefit the world in a variety of ways, but by creating this technology, we may have inadvertently plagued the arts and helped the phenomenon known as “Bieber Fever” rise to power.
Thankfully we are engineers, and we can help save ignorant pre-teen females and the rest of the world from this awful virus. The best way to get out of this mess lies in the appreciation of true art, not in the destruction of technology. Support musicians with creativity and passion, actors with skill and finesse, or visit an art museum. If we can bring those with true talent to the spotlight, the evil Bieber overlord may finally disappear from our culture, and perhaps if we’re lucky, maybe even MTV will switch from showing tramps back to showing amps.