July 11, 2011
A very good friend of mine once told me “We’re not only in an economic downturn but we’re in a recession of the arts as well.” Indeed we are living in a very peculiar time. I say this because normally times of economic woe bring out the very best in terms of music, film, and literature. A prime example of this would be American Slave Narratives and Jazz, but today it’s not happening.
In this era of complete corporate control over the music that is sold and the books that are published we never hear of a new artist breaking the mold to say something different. As a matter of fact if one were to have to depend on contemporary art as a means for determining what is going on in the world then one wouldn’t even know there was a recession going on at all.
Even a respected publication such as USA Today has published articles about living in “Post Recession America.” I understand the need for the government to prevent people from panicking as they did the day the stock market crashed in 1929; however, I think it would do some good to allow people to express the truth in some capacity.
It would be foolish to think that you could miraculously “cure” a drug addict by publicly declaring that his addiction is over. It would be equally absurd for someone to try to bring a person out of a deep depression by acting like they don’t notice it and never speaking about it.
So let’s be real America. Families are still losing their homes, masses of people are unemployed, and there aren’t nearly enough jobs being created to noticeably improve the economic situation. In short the recession is still very much alive. But it’s OK, don’t do anything rash. Instead write a poem, sing a song, or paint a picture about it. For although ignoring an issue will never make it go away the healing powers of art have been proven time and time again.