Somethin’ More than a Good Time

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
Art and Culture

In a future post, I’ll consider in detail the definition of art. In the meantime, I see it as aesthetic work that resonates with the depths of our humanity and connects us to something greater than ourselves- or at the very least causes us to think with a new perspective.

Given this definition, I look at the pop culture of our day and wonder if some of it can be considered art and not merely entertainment. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one to criticize entertainment- far from- I say bring it on! I just wonder if I also get something more out of the ‘good times’ media all around me.

I think of rock music, that genre that permeates my drive to work, computer time, and leisure. Does it speak to me in some deeper way?

One of my all-time favourite bands, Poison, takes me back to my youth like nothing else can. Listening to Talk Dirty to Me and Nothin’ But a Good Time gives me a shot of adrenalin and a fire in my belly that carries me for hours. But coming down from my youthful high, I realize it’s not art. Talk of partying and getting laid hardly calls me to something more or greater.

On the other hand, Metallica’s One, lifts rock music to a completely different level. The video features footage from Johnny Got His Gun, an anti-war film about a World War I American soldier hit by a mortar shell. He lies in a hospital bed as a quadruple amputee who has also lost his eyes, mouth, ears, and nose. He remains conscious, living a fate worse than death. Watching this video, I am challenged with the horrors of war, the frailty of life, and the power dynamics between doctor and patient. It disturbs me.

Now that’s art.

My point is this: we need to be careful to not dismiss an entire pop culture genre as mere fluff or pure entertainment. Deeper meaning and a mind-opening experience can be found in the least expected places.

Image source


Today’s 4 Minute Writer  

The Last Hurrah

That was it. It’s all over now. The roadies are packing up the night’s cause for riotous applause, while the arena maintenance crew runs their industrial floor waxers. The local hired help takes down the last of the lighting racks as lead hand Joe yells out orders to whoever he can get in front of his face.

That was it, the last concert Memphis Sky will ever play. Sullivan’s done with life on the road, Pink is settling into family life, and Rufus is seriously off to join the circus. It had been a good run, a crazy seven years full of smashing performances, gusto, life, and outrageous levels of energy. And now, it’s all over.

Slowly, the boys migrate over to the edge of centre stage, as if pulled together by a magnet…

Use the comment field to suggest a topic or to comment.


Filed under Creativity, Writing

11 responses to “Somethin’ More than a Good Time

  1. Music is powerful. Blessings to you, Zoe…

  2. Ah, now, Zoe, I wonder if even the most fatuous piece of music can resonate at some level? The rhythm in rave music aligns with out heartbeat, and what is that if not resonance? It leads to a collective loss of self which could be compared with those Dionysian followers in ancient Greece long ago. Phil and I have long involved late-night discussions about this. Each musical key carries with it a mood, a set of unspoken feelings. Even key choice resonates in a different way, sparkign a different set of emotions.
    But then, I would argue that Spongebob was a kind of art, so who am I kidding….

    • I did have the debate with my dad (a retired university prof) last night before I posted about what defines art. He was much more lenient with the definition than I was. I’m sure he would agree heartily with your insight into the nature of art- even including Spongebob. (As you know from the comments your dad leaves on your blog, words of wisdom from fathers can add great insight.)
      My current definition is laced with deciding on the value of a piece- that connecting to something greater, or seeing things from a new perspective, which not everything that resonates brings out. I will need to explore this in further posts along the journey away from the Shire. Debating, learning, changing- onward we go.

  3. V

    Metallica has always been for me a unique musical genius. Their album, “…And Justice for All”, from which “One” originates, is a complete collection of poetry and talent depicting issues of extreme importance, war being one and environmental degradation another. Yet, they were only seen as a bunch of young metalheads, who had long hair and banged their heads as they played screaming guitar lyrics with harsh-sounding vocals. And were completely dismissed for the art they created.

    What people sometimes miss, is that even this entire genre is often the catalyst to a lot of social change. Just watch the documentary “Metal”.

    • Wow- a headbanging anthropologist- I’ll have to make the time to watch the documentary- thanks for the link.
      People are often not who we think they are when we judge on superficials like looks and musical style.

  4. “…lifts rock music to a completely different level…”

    Though not rock, I had much the same thought after watching this creative musical marriage with unusually provocative graphics: Eyes Wide Open

    “Deeper meaning and a mind-opening experience can be found in the least expected places.” 😉

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