Posts tagged: music

The Dichotomy of Worshipping Creativity

Watching the Golden Globes last night, it occurred to me how we Americans worship creativity. We hold elaborate televised parties to celebrate the creative works of everyone from costume designers to lighting technicians, from makeup artists to special effects developers. Our nation honors great contributors to the arts with large medals and an evening of celebration attended by the President.

But most revered, most adored, most worshipped are those who act, direct, sing and dance. One talent is appreciated, but multiple talents make us swoon: Anne Hathaway was respected as an actor, but when it was discovered she also sang like an angel, public adoration skyrocketed.

But those same people who are glued to their TVs, making notes on every gown and placing bets on their favorite performers and directors, are the very same people who are voting to eliminate arts programs in the schools, citing expense as a reason to subvert the very creativity they adore. Ratings for such awards shows as the Golden Globes, People’s Choice, Tonys, Emmys and Oscars indicate that they are being watched by a great many more people than those few who are vocally supporting arts education in our schools.

How can we so revere those (famous, glamorous) creative people even as we stifle the beginnings of that very creativity in our children? What are voters thinking when they demand budget cuts of music and theater teachers?

Where do they think the creativity of future generations will be nurtured and encouraged?

Goodbye, Whitney

I am writing this through angry tears.

Whitney Houston is dead, leaving a hole in the world.

The tears are natural–hers was perhaps the purest, most unique voice of a generation, a powerful, soaring, free sound that could lift you to the clouds. When she sang, she sang directly to your heart, creating an intimate connection, a hypnotic cocoon that sealed out personal troubles for a while. Her range was tremendous, her tone perfection, her control effortless. Her Black soul was unquestionable, yet she touched peoplea across cultures, spoke to anyone who understood and felt the power of music.

My anger comes from the waste–the erosion of her voice and final death through drug additction and poor life choices. I used to–still do–long for that vocal quality, that ability to pull music from a bottomless well of purity and emotion. That a person could possess that gift and waste it is unfationable to me.

But, as I have learned so often in my life, one never knows what is in another’s heart or home. I don’t know the demons that drove her to drugs, don’t understand how she came to live such a tumultuous personal life. The operant words here are “I don’t know.” All I can say now is I hope she is at peace, and say I will mourn that gentle touch, that soul-soothing sound.

I am sad and angry.

And bereft.

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