Monday, October 28, 2013

365 Days of Happy - Day 302

One of my favorites from The Important Things and Advice to Know That People Generally Aren't Told.

There is no such thing as highbrow and lowbrow.

Or if there is, who cares? School has bamboozled us into thinking Shakespeare is superior to Gilligan's Island. As someone who directs Shakespeare plays and reads "King Lear" for fun, I'm here to tell you that the only great art is the art you love.

Life is really fucking hard. You have to deal with losing jobs, getting divorces, paying taxes and fixing the toilet. Don't add to your troubles by telling yourself - or letting someone tell you - that you're a moron because you prefer beer to expensive champagne.

If something is beloved by experts, 'refined people' and scholars, there probably is something wonderful about it. If you want to spend an hour with me, I'll explain to you why Shakespeare is wonderful and what you'll get out of his plays if you spend some time studying them. But it's not a requirement. You're not in school any longer (Or if you are, you soon won't be). There's no teacher waiting for you to turn in your homework.

I am not a better person than you because I read Shakespeare. I read Shakespeare because I enjoy it. If I read it because I 'should,' I'd be a fool.

Art is primarily sensual. It can sometimes politicize people or give them intellectual ideas, but what art does best is feed you: it feeds your eyes with colors; it feeds your ears with sounds; it feeds your nerves with 'what is going to happen next???' Life is short. If Star Wars feeds you more than Hamlet, enjoy your feast!

If you feel guilty about watching American Idol when you 'should be' watching Masterpiece Theatre, then agree to challenge yourself once a month. Once a month, go to a museum or watch a foreign film. The rest of the time, watch and read and listen to whatever makes you sit on the edge of your seat. Whatever makes you sing and dance.

If you're an 'intellectual' like me, take a break from the Bergman films and Shakespeare plays once in a while. Sure, sure, American Idol is the death of American culture or whatever. But a couple of episodes of it. It's pretty engrossing and fun.

Get out of the habit of labeling things as high and low. There's stuff that feeds you and stuff that doesn't. There are acquired tastes which don't feed you now but which might feed you in the future, once you get used to them. As soon as you get the urge to categorize one thing as 'art' and the other thing as 'just entertainment,' try to stop. There are different sorts of meals, and it's great to live in a world with both caviar and Pop Tarts!

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