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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Columns

Artistic renaissance needed at colleges


Movies aren’t what they used to be. But then again, neither is the mainstream music scene. And it would be a stretch to say that contemporary literature hasn’t taken a recent dive as well.

In the past few years, evidence regarding the decline in innovation among Americans has mounted uncomfortably upon the nation’s population. It’s no coincidence that the country was at its most progressive stages, both scientifically and intellectually, when the arts provided their fair share of challenges to the public.

Although it’s easy to cast off the symptoms of resurgence, with cyclical creativity seen as something to be fixed tomorrow or the day after, the problem will continue to expand until we approach it directly.

As it turns out, the problem isn’t about substance so much as it is about standards.

 Although it’s easy to cast off the symptoms of resurgence, with cyclical creativity seen as something to be fixed tomorrow or the day after, the problem will continue to expand until we approach it directly.”

The recycled chord progressions, plot structures and catchphrases are largely the result of what the American public has decided fits the bill. Worthwhile productions are out there, and seeking them out may leave you pleasantly surprised, but the fact that one should have to strain themselves to find quality material ought to serve as a red flag in and of itself.

People aren’t naturally wired to prefer the same thing on the national scale, which is what the current mainstream arts scene is trying to get them to do. However, it is possible to find a large-scale consensus as to what is garbage. As University students, we should work to ensure this garbage gets taken out.

As college degrees become greater variables in landing a successful career, the people you see on campus any given day of the week will account for a hefty portion of the future working majority. The habits we establish here are the practices we will carry over into the workplace, the home and, in this case, numerous artistic spheres in society. The less attractive nuances will do the same. Simply put, we’re one big interconnected network.

As Americans, we’re subject to over 3000 images a day, and whatever sticks stays with us for some time. Coincidentally, our ability to influence what’s retained in the long run makes a student’s input invaluable.

And so we become our biggest enemies.

It’s hard to be taken seriously in our spoken contempt for reality television, predetermined auto-tune synths, and the n-teenth sequel to horror films, when we, their critics, are their primary source of income.

In our society, money speaks louder than any intrinsic interest in the humanities, and this has to be taken into account if we decide to ward off ongoing artistic decay. Likewise, should our efforts result in even the tiniest smudge of progress, we can’t take it as a sign to anchor the ship.

One way or another, if we hope to return to the innovation we once exemplified in all fields, a disassembly of the current system may just have to happen. There would not be immediate relief, but if a mutual agreement could be made about what we will and won’t tolerate in the collective consciousness, the movie theaters and radio stations of the nation just might end up being habitable again.

Bryan Washington is a sociology freshman and may be reached at [email protected]


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