Wednesday, October 10, 2012

SINCE WHEN DOES ART, EVEN BAD ART, START VIOLENCE!?!


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I believe we are in a time of need right now.  We need to keep our friends and family close.

I gotta admit I'm a little sad this week.  It may be because I am a little discouraged about my own job search, or it may be because I saw a screening of an intense documentary about the rise and fall of income inequality within America.  It may be because the Supreme Court is taking their sweet time to decide whether i can marry the love of my life (or not) or it could be because within one month, we will  know who will ascend the throne as the next President of the United States.  Will it be Obama or Romney?  I don't know about you, but I'm a little concerned either way.  Perhaps I'm having one of those cynical weeks where nothing seems to make sense and everything seems like an uphill battle.

In a world where a 14-minute excerpt from a silly and low-quality "fake art" film creates mass chaos in the middle east and provoke attacks on North American embassies, it appears that art has become more of a pretext to do harm than a vehicle to encourage and inspire others to think beyond their usual boundaries.  Even bad art.

Extremists once again are provoking more hatred, violence, and destruction for any reason.  For example, the anti-American riots that broke out around the world near North American embassies.     Apparently, it is all because of a controversial 14-minute video clip of a film entitled, The Innocence of Muslims, only available on YouTube!  I don't buy it.  I just don't buy it.  To me, extremists (of any religion) are just waiting for some "excuse" to promote their largely unfavorable agenda of fear, hatred, and war.  Did you know that on September 9, 2012, an EXCERPT of the above-mentioned film was released on Al-Nas TV, an Egyptian Islamist television station, (Innocence of Muslims Wikipedia page)?   In the name and pretext of this excerpt, all of the chaos and death occurred in Libya and other countries.  That's crazy, especially after you see one minute of this reenactment film that must have cost all of $500 to produce.

I don't believe that the majority of those protesting or causing violence had even seen the excerpt, let alone the fourteen-minute video clip available on YouTube, or the 74-minute film in its entirety.  Remember, this movie, of terrible sound and picture quality, pokes fun at the Muslim prophet, Muhammad among others.  All you need to do is skip through a couple sections and it's enough to make you laugh hysterically.  It's full of what appears to be cheesy re-enactments.  It really is a "fake" film...one of those "movies" that we used to watch in World History class, you know?  Yet, despite the fakeness of the film, I have learned that any depiction of the prophet Muhammad in art or film is considered by many to be inappropriate and just plain against the rules.   Even a film like this.  Are you serious?  I find that very very hard to believe.

There is so much active hatred for anything American or pro-Israel (in the Muslim world), it really makes sick.  It makes me question whether we (the world) can EVER change those violent anti-US perceptions and mindsets.  It is born at an early age when children are just beginning to discern good from evil, right vs. wrong, etc...  I just cannot imagine raising my children to hate people around the world, complete strangers they have not even met, simply because of their religion or belief system.  To make matters worse, this mentality is based on thousands of years of conditioning and subjective history.  

Why perpetuate and continue bad juju to your children?  It makes such little sense to me.  It bothers me so much when I think about it.  I often think what can I do to help!  What can I do to inspire as many people as possible to be the examples we wish to see in the world?  I know I do everything I can to alter people's horrible perceptions of US Citizens.  Am I alone in wanting to reframe how people view Americans?  That's probably one of my ulterior motives in writing my trilogy of Smile From The Inside books.  But it also is one of the ulterior reasons behind my vision to inspire the world, one by one, to Smile From The Inside.

I thought art, even bad art, was supposed to be a freedom of expression, a freedom to create whatsoever one feels inspired to create.  Whether it be good art or bad art, throughout the millennia, art has always pushed the limits and boundaries of our basic belief systems and limiting beliefs.  However, I don't think it has ever been used to start wars, perpetuate more violence, or used as an excuse for attacks on innocent people.  I do realize the complexity of the situation between the Muslim world vs. Israel...and I know that definitely plays its role here, but a film like this, really?  Honestly, take three minutes just to get a feel for it.  (The Innocence of Muslims).  

Bottom line, what irritates me most is that because this film is of such poor quality and bad art, it is obvious that it only takes someone to as little as sneeze for angry people and extremists to feel justified in their further perpetuation of violence, anger, and hatred.  In my mind, there is never an excuse for violence or war...EVER.  I really don't like those words, by the way...and it pains me to even write them down various times in one blog.  How do we change it?  How do we encourage the opposite?

Art is to be bold.  It is to be daring.  The beauty of art, in my humble opinion, like the quote below, evokes emotions, evokes a reaction or response from the audience.  It is not to provoke people into violence, but to make them think, right?  Or am I totally wrong?  It is a said state of affairs when in the name or pretext of art, one can justify the act of terrorism, war, and even imprisonment (as in the case of the Pussy Riot, a punk rock collective band in Russia serving two years for hooliganism).  For me, art could not be more opposite than the words of violence and war.  For me, it is up there with creation, friendship, giving, togetherness.  I guess not to everyone.

Together, let's change the world.  Let's make a pact to always be the best American citizens we can be. Clearly, if you are a friend or acquaintance of mine, you probably are already a great example of an American.  What else can do we then?  Is it handled through direct or in-direct conversations?  Is it incredible films?  Documentaries?   Is it more hugs?   I'm perplexed and am interested in suggestions, recommendations, and/or comments. 

I think the only answer is by inspiring the world, one by one, to be the change they want to see.  Oh Gandhi...you were so right on!  Don't you agree?


FINAL THOUGHTS:
1)  Believe me, I always try to keep these posts to 500 words or less, but I can never say what i want to say within 500 words.  Next week, i'll try again and succeed.
2)  Perhaps someday soon we can together figure out a way to help inspire the world for good and not for "evil".  I really don't believe in "evil"...i believe in the conditioning of hatred, a subjective history of violence and persecution, and a misguided range of emotions.  That to me could be thought of as "evil".
3) When will the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills start again?  I can't wait!
4)  Have an incredible week, filled with life, laughter, and love!!!

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