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Justin Biebers – Well, too many of them


While action denotes pro-activeness, reaction is a pretty defensive mode in any form of art. Action brings about cultural changes, creates generations and decides the future course that art will take. Reaction on the other hand dances to the tune of the slowest recipient to change.

The talking point of this article is the case of Bieberic slaughter of action and the ritualistic celebration of reaction.

To make things simple I would quote two prolific beings of modern times to define the activists and the reactivists.

No creator was prompted by a desire to serve his brothers, for his brothers rejected the gift he offered and that gift destroyed the slothful routine of their lives. His truth was his only motive. His own truth, and his own work to achieve it in his own way. A symphony, a book, an engine, a philosophy, an airplane or a building—that was his goal and his life. 
                                                    - Ayn Rand, from the novel The fountainhead

“Once you join blogsville, you get a fare idea of what people love to read making it a great testing ground for your writing.”
                                                     -Durjoy Dutta, Indian Pulp fiction writer
The contradiction is well defined. Who comes first the creator or the consumer is the question that art faces today.

Unfortunately an artist is vulnerable to succumb to the pressure of getting appreciated. The temptation to get socially accepted is tremendous and the urge to make it to the bed-side table of Ms. Paris H (rich chick & socialite) is also irresistible. Consequentially what is sacrificed is the primary purpose. What remains is:
                             “baby,baby baby,baby …..oooooh.
                               baby, baby ,baby ,baby …oooooh”

Be it music, poetry, prose or painting the final verdict as far as appreciation and visibility matters is dictated by the select few responsible for marketing & commercializing. The rest are there just to chew the fodder that is thrown to them. When I first realized this few years back I had composed a verse called “Mew!” and the opening lines of the same read:
                       “If and only If I knew,
                        world was for a select few…
                        rest were just to sue
                        or whisper out a gentle mew!”
What was bothering me then was the death of a novel simulating the world of first generation Indian migrants to Mauritius (Sea of poppy by Amitabha Ghosh) in the hands of a clichéd rags-to-riches story (White Tiger by Arvind Adiga ) . That sums up the slaughter of action which bothers me.

Of late , as far as literature in India goes many see reasons to be optimistic. Lovers are yet again gifting each other books. Film makers are ensuring that novelists don’t go hungry. Poetry is getting liked and shared on Facebook. Moreover quite a bagful of amateur writers are making it to popular culture through the blog route.
What is alarming is the loss of fidelity. Trees are getting felled and books are rolling out from the press only to carry forward clichés & old wines in new bottles. The re-creators of the clichés are hurled into stardom riding the shoulders of the whole new lot of “Ofcourse, I was a bimbo … till I read my first book!” readers.

In the process of it all quality is imbibing slow poison. A set formula is preventing the entry of alternatives. Even the ones who secretly yearn for creative outbursts are surrendering to mediocrity.
In filmdom often young actors (without rich uncles and braggable backgrounds) take up the porn route only to lose direction. It would be unfortunate if the same trend seeps into other arts. If a writer writes his first novel just for the sake of finding a publisher with ease we can admit that as a reader we have failed to communicate that we adore creativity. If an offbeat musician resorts to singing popular filmy numbers to get heard , yet again as an audience we have failed to be convincing. If a modern poet edits his poetry to sacrifice word-play for literary fore-play … the purpose would get defeated.

There is no harm at the end of the day if Justin Bieber, Durjay Dutta & the poets who  rhyme  “love” with “dove” become best selling. Of course the ones who dance to popular music would get the most pats too! However a hell lot of a damage would be caused if the commercializers kill every other alternative. Most important of it being loss of diversity and the consequential one-dimensional and demented progress of art.

Some of the literary marketers talk about ROI (return on investment) of art. Quite justified undoubtedly. However the question is whether there is any marketing skill required to sell candies to a kid!  The skills become required when the item to be sold is a distasteful protein. The marketers of yesteryears were expert in this skill and consequentially art matured to accommodate The waste Land by Eliot, the paintings of Dali , Allen Ginsberg’s poems and the early numbers of Pink Floyd. All these were not just restricted to a select few but mesmerized generations. What happened then was evolution and what is happening now is stagnation … Only because the influential ones
prefer wearing a condom!

Author : Anirban Sengupta.

Note : #1 : Image sources multiple
          #2 - Bimbo : the word in its true sense has no gender specific conotation

1 comments so far..What are your thoughts?

  1. It is definitely a bit scary watching sophisticated culture erode... or at least it seems to be.


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