Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy New Year! A Bit of Food For Thought

This article comes from The Atlantic by William Deresiewicz who recently wrote Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life. The book covered a lot of what is going on in Ivy League schools in particular, but also in education in general. Deresiewicz spent about 25 years teaching in elite academia: Columbia. Harvard, etc. Nice gigs.

Here in this essay, he talks about the commercialization of art and the transformation of the artist as a singular, perhaps visionary genius into an entrepreneur, with all the trappings that implies in our modern (or post-modern, whatever that means) world, that must tangle with the logic (or lack thereof) of the market. He contends that artists in the 18th and 19th and even to some degree the 20th centuries have been sheltered from the vagaries of the market by a variety of structures, and that now in the 21st century, with those structures undergoing seismic shifts, a lot of the old models and paradigms may not apply anymore as it reduces down to how an artist gets paid. Fascinating read. Here's the link.

Also, a bit of catching up. Obviously, posting has dragged to a snail's definition of speed. Lots going on in my off-line, actual life. The holidays were, by turns quiet and chaotic with family and contemplation vying for equal time. A recent birthday has made me more acutely aware of how precious life is and why it's important not to waste it offering what is sacred to dogs. Yesterday Stuart Scott of ESPN died after a seven-year bout with cancer. He was only 49. Closer to home, my neighbor is receiving hospice at his home following a brain tumor that was diagnosed a year and a half ago. The end is near for him. We've been neighbors for 16 years. I watched his children grow up.

It's pretty real when someone near your own age is dying. It makes you affirm life and it makes you affirm your life. And it makes you want to hold on for as long as possible and make it count for something, and to make what you do count for something. Be something more than excellent sheep.

Rest in Peace Stuart Scott. We were not ready for you to leave us.

More Later