Monday, February 2, 2009

Make me a day, make me whole again

Two things today prompted this post.

1. Recent flash mob at Whole Foods in Austin. Well actually, the comments under the youtube video prompted me more than the flash mob itself. I always get sucked in to reading comments on sites like this (imdb or aicn would be the other main ones) and it always gets me riled up. As though I had never come into contact with the vast quantity of dumb people posting stuff on the internet. I'm about to make a bunch of assumptions about one of the posters, and I just want to say, this isn't actually about that poster. It's about people and their reactions to what other people call "art." I've heard that cynicism before, that something, whatever it is, that people are calling "art" is not art - and an awful lot of the times that I hear that complaint it's coming from someone who doesn't do anything they themselves would call art. I wonder how many people spend their time and energy tearing down the strange things that people around them are doing instead of doing something creative themselves. This destructive cynicism probably comes more from a place of fear - a lack of confidence in what one can actually create. If I think of it in that way, it actually doesn't make me angry anymore.

2. Thing the second: a guy riding down Dean Keeton on a bicycle. No wait, not a normal bike - this kind of bike. As I crossed the street I passed three people who were watching him, and I heard one of them say "why would you do something like that?" I really wanted to turn to him and say, why WOULDN'T you? (Because cynical dumb people will say things about you.) (Oh and also - because I don't want to break my neck. That's the only thing that will come out of *me* riding that bike.) But seriously - why wouldn't you?

In my head this is now coming back to my courage / stupidity thing - that a lack of fear (sometimes thought of as courage) and stupidity are the same thing. They both require a lack of self-preservation instinct. If I was afraid (enough) of what would happen to me (physically, mentally, socially) I wouldn't have done most of the things that have made my life fun and interesting. On some level I do care, but I usually manage to force myself past that, at least enough to do the thing, if not enough to stop caring. I am honestly far too socially stupid to NOT do what I want to do. I don't do one thing I'm afraid of every day - I do ten or twenty. The shows I work on scare the crap out of me, the people I work with, the job I'm in training for right now, the possibilities of future travel, installations, performance, teaching, creation, relationships I need to pursue, things I have to or will eventually have to admit to myself, people I will someday lose, people I will someday become and then someday cease to be. I'm actually pretty damn grateful I'm too stupid to not do these things - any one of them makes life far more interesting than standing in a crosswalk, deriding someone else's attempt to do what probably scares them.

The good life.

Recently I asked my first year students the following question: At this time, what constitutes the "good life" for you? What per...