You want to push my big red button? Its fairly easy to do. Just open your mouth and utter this stupidity:
“All Art Is Political.”
I won’t Godzilla stomp you. I won’t take hold of the nearest blunt object and beat the stupid out of you. But if you enjoy being verbally beaten to greasy spot on the highway of history, then by all means let’er rip. Because only a fool makes that statement to begin with and he/she deserves the ridicule coming to them.
I first encountered this lunacy four years ago. An agent, whose name I’ve since happily forgotten, popped off with that line in a tweet. My reply, in a tweet, was to state that it was that type of thinking that was a cancer on science fiction and fantasy today. I didn’t call him a cancer, I called the thought and the application of said thought, cancerous.
You’d have thought I was putting babies heads on spikes and selling then for $5 each judging from the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the *rightthinkers* that I was just getting introduced to in late 2016. One, whose name I’ve sadly not been allowed to forget, started in with daily tweets that I, and Lou Antonelli, were cancers. Not our philosophy mind you, but us personally.
Now, if that reaction shocks you, just hang on a second. This same clown, an attorney with the United States Government, openly advocated for a woman he disagreed with to be physically assaulted. What a peach, right? To date, none of his *rightthinker* crowd has ever condemned him for that. Happily, Twitter decided he’d made a threat and his account went bye-bye. So something good came out of it.
But, sadly, I still see this thought bandied about today: All art is political.
I disagree. With every fiber of my body and soul. Art is only political if you drag politics, kicking and screaming, into the conversation. And then, that is solely on the person doing this and by applying 21st Century standards and thoughts to people who lived and died decades, if not centuries, ago. That is a way of judging history that is always doomed to failure.
Happily, I’m running into more and more authors who feel the same as I do. All art is NOT political. Our art is created to entertain, to bring relief from a world that seems to be getting worse, instead of better.
I wish we were the rule, rather than the exception, but we’re not. And we are seeing this “All ‘X’ is political” BS creeping into more aspects of our lives. Even sports and movies, once the shining beacon of temporary escape from the world, has become overly political.
And people are turning away in droves. The NBA has seen a 20-28% drop in viewership from last year’s playoffs. In a time when fans cannot attend games in person, viewership numbers should be increasing, not decreasing.
Why are they? Because many players and owners are dragging political issues into the arena. And many fans are walking away, as I did. Many will never come back, even if the leagues were to totally disavow politics in the future.
The same is happening in movies, TV shows and in books. Book sales have flatlined for all publishers, at a time when people should be reading more, not less. And all because the “All art is political” crowd have hauled the various forms of entertainment media into the sewer where they reside.
So what’s the answer?
Reject the vile thought and all who preach it. Embrace those who understand their one and only duty is to entertain the consumer, not to preach at them, or talk down to them.
You can start here to find many writers who embrace the concept of creating entertainment. And if you encounter someone who says: “All art is political” just ignore them. We’re starting to see them fall to the old adage: Get woke, go broke.
Happily, they won’t be around to annoy us for much longer.