19. Be Offended

17 Jul

I blame the anti-intellectual movement and Ayn Randian libertarian bs for leading so many Americans to believing that “freedom of speech” means that a person should only have positive comments for a work of art.  A lot of people believe that all of our world’s artist–seemingly a separate sort of being than regular people–will go hide into a hole if their art is criticized en masse like John Galt with a paintbrush.  See Tosh.0’s rapey behavior and this charming opinion piece about video games

It’s a weird position to take that the Artist knows best without any feedback, primarily when some of the best art has proven to be reactionary.  Would we have Rimbaud’s poetry if he hadn’t denounced the old poets of the time? Would we have George Carlin if he hadn’t been disgusted by the socio-political culture of the time? Would Ray Bradbury write Fahrenheit 451 if he didn’t have a  beef with how television was making us stupider?

I suppose we only cry “freedom of speech” when our own world view is put in jeopardy by a mob of clucking mothers who want our favorite show taken off the air, and if people want to burn books then I’ll be the first to fight them off, but to say that we shouldn’t be offended by anything is to say that we should be unfeeling dead things.

Be young, and be angry, and be offended!

The world is not as smart, and the men within it are not as wise as they think they are. There is room for improvement and that change comes from the ones who are angry and young. I’m twelve years out of college and, while I don’t listen to Rage Against the Machine as much as used to, I still haven’t lost the willingness and drive to poke, prod, and challenge people–even Artists–who think they know what they’re talking about.

Offense and anger, channeled correctly, is a great muse for art.  This is why I watch the Today show every morning.


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