September 24, 2011

A Brief Thought


Here’s something that made me think of something I hadn’t thought about in a long time.

This is right in line with something we’ve been batting around here about how the nonviolent occupation movement is still in its infancy – and its participants/leaders are still getting their feet wet with organizing. Movements like we’ve seen elsewhere don’t just appear no matter how suddenly they explode into national/global consciousness. It’s a long and (usually) slow learning curve. This means the MSM blackout may not be so bad – folks can gain expertise and make their mistakes out of the unforgiving light of saturation coverage. And it drives those interested to alternative outlets – building them up. Win/win!

Many years ago, when I used to think a lot about art, I thought about how, historically, new ideas in art would have years, decades, even centuries to naturally, organically develop without much temporal pressure upon them. Only later would come the pressures of publicity, the surge of competition, the art’s becoming of interest to those who would place monetary and power demands upon it, the need to please a public, to meet deadlines, etc. Although these too can be spurs to creativity, I had the sense that they probably work this way where dealing with something which has already put down firm roots.
By contrast, the modern media tended to deny new ideas this period of quiet, timeless ferment. Nowadays the early adopters tread upon the heels of the pioneers, and the early majority upon those of the early adopters, and so on. While there may be individual children who can thrive where cast into chaos during their critical early years, I think far more would do far better with some level of stability, security, predictability. So I thought that on the whole the modern media omnipresence and insatiability (until it’s drained all the life out of something, and as quickly as possible) were detrimental to art.
(The last thoughts I had about art were several years ago, just the barest notes on what a Peak Oil aesthetic might be like. Richard Heinberg’s written more on it if anyone’s interested, an essay in his book Peak Everything.)
So I used to think about that but hadn’t in awhile, until I saw this piece which suggested that this may be one benefit of the media blackout on alternative politics and economics. While only history will tell if this turns out to be true or not, it’s at least something to consider. Since it’s a fact that we’re now in obscurity and likely to remain there for awhile, we might as well think about how to make the most of obscurity and slow development in themselves, if there’s a way to do so.
(On the subject of MSM spotlights, here’s two NYT blog pieces on time banking. They’re pretty good on the basics with some good examples, and there’s some even better comments. Some dumb comments too, of course, but on the whole the idea gets a good reception.)