Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"Don't Be Evil"... "Art is for the People"

by Aaron Mystery

Let's play a game: I'll throw out an unofficial slogan and a quote, and you tell me who supplied them...

"Don't Be Evil"

"Art is for the people, not the artist"

Before I give you the answers, what do these seemingly innocent and well-intentioned credos have in common?

They're both crap, for starters, and both from power-hungry, imperialistic entities that seek(ed) to crush and remove dissenting opinion.

"Don't Be Evil" is the unofficial company slogan of Google (who, unfortunately for me, owns YouTube). Now you may ask, How could any decent person ever take offense at such a lovely pronouncement? I wish it were as simple as my band's name, which happens to contain the word "Evil", but let's not be too facetious about it: This indicates a bizarre M.O. from the world's biggest search engine and viral video site, essentially establishing a moral compass (that is subjective, restrictive, and unethical in itself) by which we all should steer if we are to be accepted on the web.

I'll come back to "Don't Be Evil," in a second, now let's see which of you went two-for-two on these quotes.

"Art is for the People, not the Artist," is one of my most hated quotes of all time. I mean, it just makes my skin crawl. If you are not an artist, you may agree with this quote; if you are an artist - or even appreciate art - you know this just isn't true. The artist is a world unto himself, arrogant and shuttered as that may sound. The artist needs to create art for the sake of art, push the limits, question authority and society, create satire and parody, make mistakes, take criticism without having to react to it, to entertain, make us think, and even make a little coin if he can. But art doesn't have to do any of that, either. The Dark Ages are over, we don't have to make excuses for art anymore.

Oh, and for those of you that agree with the quote about art being "for the People," you're agreeing with Adolf Hitler, because it's his quote.

One more Q&A game, then:
  1. What do Google and Adolf Hitler have in common?
  2. What do Dali and myself have in common?
  3. What does the Venus de Milo and the statue of David have in common with "Fill 'er Up?"
Here we go:
  1. Google and Hitler both stood on the wrong side of open and honest public discourse and communication, and used huge power bases to justify fascist authoritarianism as "we like regular people - delete the weirdos." Both are/were judgmental of others whom disagree with them, and neither permits two-way communication (try to get a response from YouTube, I dare ya). Both get more and more dangerous as they get more and more of what they want, restricting speech and imagery (of course, Hitler exterminated millions, so as long as we keep Google from buying a private police force, I think I can stay out of a concentration camp).
  2. Salvador Dali (the greatest Surrealist painter of all time, and then some) and I have enough in common to make me proud. Like myself, he was hyper-sexualized, often unable or unwilling not to instill some sexual element or imagery (however Freudian) into his art. Keep in mind, Dali was a twentieth-century artist who actually spent a short time in jail for his art - he was never convicted of a crime. But Dali pushed forward with bravado and confidence, naked women and phallic imagery aplenty. Also like me, Dali was aware when his edgy art became so recognized that he had little choice than to continue with the same themes throughout his career, partly a commercial decision. I've written a novel, spent years in journalism, played in the same band for twelve years with four albums, released a comedy album, invented the CG vid poem, worked on projects that would blow your mind, but it's my obsession with the imagery of breasts (especially big ones) combined with my love for the computer that has given me my footprint as an artist, both visibly and commercially. Because of an obligation to my paying subscribers on Suckermouth, I don't have time to do much else than CG breast expansion cartoons.
  3. You can't find Venus de Milo nor the statue of David nor "Fill 'er Up" on YouTube. Venus - missing arms and all - and David are naked statues from antiquity, while "Fill 'er Up" is a CG woman in a bikini walking into a bar and ordering a drink as her breasts expand (the YouTube version has a big huge bar over the nude part and ends early compared to the full version on Suckermouth).
So what does any of this prove? It proves that no matter how far we advance, no matter what potential new technology offers us, no matter how free we think we are under the umbrella of corporate control, we must continue to fight for what is right.

Or in the case, fight for what is "Evil."

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