Saturday, August 12, 2017

the resiliency/obstinacy of art

i'm on youtube and watching david bowie perform 'heroes' at the live aid [july 13, 1985] benefit concert.  do you recall the reason for the benefit?  famine in ethiopia horrified the world and this concert, held simultaneously in london and philadelphia, was a siren call to wake the world of the horrors of hunger in africa.

arguably the world is in a worse place than in 1985.  famine is still extant.  we know we've seriously destabilized the climate.  wealth inequality continues to metastasize.  AI is a serious threat to our employment.

and yet there are some damn good things that have happened these past 30 years.  LGBTQ rights are ascendant.  women are gaining political, economic and social power, even if they still have to battle for their rights.  more citizens are waking up to the horrors of a destabilized climate etc etc.

i recall a meme floating around the interwebs that read, in my half-remembered mind [i can't find it with a quick google search], 'no matter your problems, or the state of the world, remember you were alive at the same time as david bowie.'

that may read as rather fatuous statement but i think david bowie was a very great artist.  and his performance at live aid, the song 'heroes', is a proof that art is stronger than its making.  the song wass a rebuke to the berlin wall and the cold war.  now the song is demonstration of strength and resiliency no matter the obstacle.

the russian/u.s. poet joseph brodsky was praised for his strength in battling the soviet regime in his verse, and life.  brodsky said, it wasn't strength.  it was obstinacy.

it's the end of the world and i feel fine.  it is the end of the world.  it's always the end of the world.  i'm not to minimize the issues we face.  for they are myriad and harsh.  yet art is the demonstration of being alive at a particular time and place.  art is both an example of obstinacy and resilience.

how do i know that?  i know that because i was alive at the same time as david bowie. 


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