Role of Artists, Part One

What is the role of artists in these dangerous times?

As our country moves more and more towards fascism and as the global economy collapses and the planet rushes towards sterility and as people and animals are tossed aside like so much used toilet paper, can artists continue to mindlessly produce classics or fluffy entertainment? Can they confine themselves to the rom-com, the zombie flick, the bank robber chase movie?  I think not.  While art itself is neutral, like physics or economics, any of these fields of human endeavor can be used to either reinforce the status quo or to challenge it. I think artists must challenge the status quo. I think artists must directly speak to inequality, oppression, BP oil spill, Wisconsin, violence against women, wiretaps, Gitmo, Wall Street bailout, foreclosures, starvation, homelessness, Katrina, Iraq, waterboarding, radiation, Afghanistan, genital mutilation, Prop 8 and the like or risk being irrelevant.

 

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