No sympathy for the creative class – this Salon piece is both depressing and…well, enlightening, in a way. Part of me is now pondering what our culture would look like had there not been patronage of the arts by nobles/the rich in earlier… times, and what that patronage looks like or should look like today.
Should the arts be left to the support of the buying public, and weeded out that way? Or should they be supported by governments, wealthy benefactors, etc, on the basis that “culture is necessary”?
Sadly, I can all too easily envision a future in which most of our entertainment takes the form of pop music, reality shows, and blockbuster movies and rom-coms if market forces are allowed to take hold. But at the same time, there’s also this underground aesthetic that promotes more offbeat offerings – such as C&G’s own – that uses bootstrapping, community-building, and general creativity to support creative projects that aren’t as commercial.
I still fear that things like opera, symphony music, and investigative journalism might die out without patronage. But I’m not sure how to reconcile that with the idea that culture evolves, and market pressures make clear what’s working and what’s not in the current culture.
My bigger fear, really, is that the indie aesthetic – as opposed to the blockbuster entertainment mentality – means that fewer in the “creative class” will actually inhabit that class and be able to make a living off their work. Bootstrapping and Kickstarter and whatnot are great – but they require a lot of work, and a lot of skills that many artists and writers and musicians may not have. And even if they do, it’s time that isn’t being spent creating. Which means that even as technology and the indie aesthetic surges forward, and makes it easier for more people to share their creations with the world, it’s harder to be discovered in that fray, and harder to make a living out of creating art and beauty and telling stories.
And that is the problem, as I see it.
What do you think?