The Duty of Art

So, it’s been about a week since Meryl Streep gave an acceptance speech at the Golden Globes which seemed to set some people’s dials to: Foam at the Mouth.

There have been a lot of people – artists and our president elect depressingly included – who have made many a public statement about the fact that artists and entertainers should shut up about politics.

And to those people, Making those kinds of statements I have to ask:

 Are You Fucking Stupid?

That’s not a rhetorical question, and if you answer it – after absorbing what I am about to say – with anything but a, “Well yeah, apparently,” then you will have compounded your stupidity.

Here’s the thing; Meryl Streep – and any celebrity for that matter if they are a citizen of this country – not only has the right, but the civic duty to speak up and address the failing of our government.

Whether anyone agrees with them or not has nothing to do with it.

In the USA, if you believe a redress of grievances is warranted you are free – and I think duty bound – to take lawful action to affect change.

Period.

People pissed off because someone famous spoke up and ruined their potential enjoyment of the form of escapism provided need to grow up.

(Sorry for the grammar of that last sentence; there was no other way I could get it to come out just now.)

That’s the first reason to feel stupid. Here’s the second:

It has been one of the time honored purposes of art – and thereby the artists who create it – to point out failings and faults in the society to which they belong. We may not actually favor the arts so much as we favor celebrity in this country, but art and the artists who create it serve a desperately needed purpose in this arena. They help us see ourselves, through their art, through their expression. Expression is the point of their art, regardless of medium. And the sharing of that expression helps us to see ourselves; the beautiful, the sublime, and when necessary, the ugly.

This is as important to our humanity as food, shelter, and freedom.

So next time, before anyone thinks about taking a pot shot at an artist for just being themselves – for serving our society as only they can – please, take the time to think again.

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About tessarnold2

I'm a writer, a student, and someone generally crazy enough to think other people will be interested in his deranged thoughts.
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