You Don’t Have To Be Miserable, But It Helps
Posted by BigWords on June 27, 2009
There’s a thread running through the media at the moment which goes some way to explaining the way in which deeply flawed human beings can produce great works of art. I’ve read all this before, and so (I’m sure) has everyone else. The basic theory runs thus: Happy, contented folks are most likely to do diddly-squat in the realms of greatness, while others – who are addicted to drugs, have long and painful illnesses, have no luck at relationships and are quite horribly fucked up – go on to soar in their chosen field.
Riiiiiighhhhht. So that’s why I’ve not written the Greatest Novel Ever Written, I’m too happy.
I hate the premise of the cod-psychology being trotted around at the moment for a few reasons. I would hate to think that Roy Orbison could only have recorded songs of such power and intensity because of his personal life. The opposite (that those songs were recorded despite his circumstances) is much more appealing, and gives a glimpse into the man’s willpower and intelligence. I’m not using Michael Jackson as an example, because every other outlet of opinion, information and hackery is beating the subject to death, so I’m sticking with past examples. If you’re missing you’re daily fix of salacious gossip, feel free to pretend we’re talking about MJ.
Some examples of crazy+ miserable = genius are so abstract in their implementation that it becomes painful to read the words. One particular subject for this brand of historical pop-shrinkage is Vincent Van Gogh, whose paintings “are obviously the work of a genius” and who was “miserable”. Okay, I’m willing to play this game… Explain how the two are connected? C’mon…
It’s all bullshit. The press needs to feed people a line, and the public are dumb enough to take the bait. If the corrolation between misery and genius was to be proven, then the poor saps who are routinely trotted out on stage in reality television would be producing novels, albums, television series and paintings whose sublime beauty and overwhelming strength would carry the ability to drive people to tears. They aren’t doing this, of course – they are too busy bitching about the trailer park they live in, or complaining that their twelve year old daughter is pregnant (again), or wondering how to open a carton of milk without pouring the contents down their front…
Am I being too harsh?
No. People, on the whole, are dumb.
You know genius when you see it. Certain folks are destined for greatness due to their inherent abilities, and nothing life throws at them will stop them. If Roy Orbison had a happy and contented life, he wouldn’t have been a lounge singer – he would still have been a great recording artist. Don’t pay any attention to the newspapers or television reports in the next couple of days, because the crap will be flying thick and fast as people try to get their two cents on the air. Wait a while, then go back to the albums and books which are considered the work of greatness.
I’m now ignoring CNN’s blathering completely. Ditto to the BBC (the Bullshit Broadcasting Corporation) and Sky. I don’t need the headache which accompanies their “news”, and I’ll just get irritated if I try to untangle their mangling of the English language…