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Alter Egos - I Am Done Watching This

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Seducer and The Contrarian



Dead Beat has been thinking about what Mamet said ( see Gratuitous Sex and Plastic Frogmen) while D.B. was knee deep in snow:

“I like mass entertainment. I've written mass entertainment. But it's the opposite of art because the job of mass entertainment is to cajole, seduce and flatter consumers to let them know that what they thought was right is right, and that their tastes and their immediate gratification are of the utmost concern of the purveyor. The job of the artist, on the other hand, is to say, wait a second, to the contrary, everything that we have thought is wrong. Let's reexamine it."

This is the thing with Mamet, he is so articulate. And in Dead Beat’s opinion he has put his finger right on the button.

So as writers we have figure out what it is we wish to do.

Do we want to entertain the masses? And that can be a good thing to do. Or do we want to be contrary?

Dead Beat as all his little Dead Beats will tell you can be very contrary (Hudson, the scut, is nodding his head).

If we are not writing for the masses, then we have to remember that everything we have thought is wrong. This does not exclude the ‘artist’. Sometimes it seems that writers think that they already know what is wrong and set out to ‘reveal’ this to their audience. Well, hey ho, no! The writer’s opinions are wrong also. Their work, if written well enough, will reveal for the audience and the writer what is right.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love this series of posts, they are so enlightening. Mass entertainment vs. art is an essential distinction... and sometimes a difficult one, too, when everyone wants to believe mass entertainment IS art, because it is so reassuring!

I'm a bit sick of so-called artists who tell people what they most want to hear, and so-called critics who buy it all without a second thought...
And I'm not thinking about obvious, harmless mass entertainment, like Pirates of the Caribbean. I'm thinking about Nicolas Vanier and his popular film "Le Dernier Trappeur," or worse about "philosopher" Michel Onfray and his book "Esthétique du Pôle Nord."
Critics in France acclaimed the former as a great artist who showed everyone how nature is benevolent and glorious and civilization is pure evil (except for trappers), and the latter as a great subversive thinker who showed everyone the truth about the Inuit: that they're betrayed by their own Nunavut government, that their achievement is nothing but a North American conspiracy to bring an end to their culture. The Vanishing Indian all over again.

(Sorry for this outburst)

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