*The Big Lie

Artists should be grateful because they are doing something they love instead of a boring job, so they shouldn’t expect to make a living at it, or get paid like other people (editors, gallery owners, caterers, janitors, speaker systems maintenance crew) who do the (presumably) boring jobs.

Corollary: Art isn’t necessary or useful, unlike the work and products made or sold by people who are (presumably) bored.

Corollary 2: Bored and unhappy people need stuff to compensate them for their boredom and unhappiness, things like bigger houses, more electronics, lots of clothes and Imelda closets of shoes, because they don’t get to work (for free) at things they love.

Corollary 3: Therefore, selling bigger houses, electronics, clothes, shoes and toys is necessary and practical work which ought to be well compensated unlike painting, dancing, writing, and so on.

Does anyone else see the flaw in this logic?

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6 thoughts on “*The Big Lie

  1. Yup. I puzzle over this very common logical fallacy all the time.

  2. I read the philosopher Slavoj Zizek on this conundrum and he was very funny about it. He’d once sat his family down and got out of them the fact that really, because he enjoyed his work (and they didn’t understand it), they felt he shouldn’t receive any remuneration AT ALL for doing it. It makes me wonder about how many people out there are hating what they do all day. And if you look at celebrities, who again are supposed to have a fabulous time, we have the media in prime spot to torment and abuse them, so that we can shower our resentful envy over them in vicarious ways. This mechanism – that we must be allowed to hate people who are doing ‘better’ than us and see them suffer in some way – is pervasive, an acceptable sickness because it powers consumption of the media. But it’s a terribly destructive thing.

  3. How bland, blah and boring the world would be. Actually I think we should be paid very well (I know, dream on) because the world is better because of writers, artists, actors and dancers.

  4. Di, do you have any ideas as to how to correct this weird way of thinking?

    Litlove, interesting story. I wonder how things would change if there was a social value that people should enjoy their work, and if they don’t, the conditions of work should be improved or assistance given to find another line of work.

    Sue, it sure would be. Just look at how lively and creative kids are.

  5. Huge logical flaw, yes. Very frustrating for those of us on the wrong side of it (which I suppose is everyone, in the end). Your post comes at a timely moment, since I’m currentyl re-evaluating how much translating vs how much writing I do.

  6. What have you decided about that, Verbivore?

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