|Art by Ian Bailey|
Source: The 7 Ways.
Second, never ever get into a cult. And I'm researching the Essenes. And somebody told me to also think about the Masons, for later. My grandfather and my dad were both Masons, in fact all the men on that side of my family for generations I think, so now I feel totally connected to the show. And also I wish my dad were still here, so I could ask him about the Masons...even though they're very secretive and he probably wouldn't tell me anything (we had a volume of Masonic encyclopedia-type books on our bookshelves when I grew up, and I would spend countless hours poring over many of these, trying to figure out (1) what the big deal was and (2) all their secrets) (the Masons are SO secretive, you can't even decode their secrets from their secret writings...I am certain they have underground lairs at both the North and South Poles, and they are completely responsible for this completely effed up weather we've been having in Georgia lately).
Third, I want to talk about artists having to do their own PR work.
Jase (we're on nickname basis now--he can call me "Luv") and Anne, Alison, and Ori (we're all on first name basis now, but moving quickly to nickname basis...once I discover what their nicknames are) have to live tweet their show EVERY Thursday. For the next eight Thursdays. God bless them. The first time was exciting, the second time, too...but every Thursday?? Til MAY?? Lands. Well, I can't harass Jason and friends THAT much, so...I'm clearly going to have to pick my Thursdays. Or maybe just do an overall wrap up harassment tweet on Fridays.
Maybe just Jason has been commanded to do this--he's actually very good at Twitter, and I'm sure Those In Charge are in love with that. So the other day, Jason asked, on Twitter, if his followers/DIG fans would like him to live tweet episode number two. I, being a total enabler and that one friend you can always count on to do all the stupid things with you, of course told him YES, YOU SILLY GOOSE.
And then the next morning I woke up and saw that he was going to do it. And then I felt so guilty because I was one of the enablers. But also not guilty because he called us all bastards and I am NOT a bastard, simply kinda/sorta a floozy. Then later I saw where he told someone he has to do this, every Thursday, for the next 8 weeks. And then I didn't feel so bad or guilty, because obviously someone ELSE is the enabler and I can be happy in my slight harlotry, and feel fine with it.
...Quite frankly, I don't think this is about enabling at all; I think this is all about marketing. And if I could get Jason Isaacs and the DIG cast into a room, but particularly Jason because I sense on a certain level he--like I--doesn't necessarily agree with what social media is doing to us as a species and yet also sees, on another level, its alluringly intrinsic value in creating connections both locally and globally--if I could get Jason into a room alone, I would NOT ask him to take his shirt off as I notice about 28,000 of his female followers would ask him to do were they in a room alone with him--no. He and I would have a thoughtful conversation about how making Art has always been a tricky, hard thing to do, and now with the way world economics have gone and social media marketing, society is just totally fucking its artists all to hell in ways Mozart, Picasso, and Virginia Woolf never could have anticipated. (And THEN I would ask him to take his shirt off.) (KID! I kid Jason. I am far too composed offline to do something of that nature.) (Unless I've had 4 chocolate martinis and I think you like me.) (and if THAT was the case, I'd take my shirt off with you.)
Because one day, if/when I am published for real, I too will need to get on Twitter and market me and the Art I'm peddling. And I hate that. Most writers I've talked to or have read talking about this in interviews--we all hate this part. I think it's because...well, for example: I work with a lady who once got told she was going to be our school's reading specialist the next year and she was all kinds of in despair about it: "Amy, I'm a general practitioner," she told me, "I am NOT a specialist."
But I am. I am a specialist. Which may be why I'm sorta kinda miserable in classroom teaching--I don't enjoy generalities. If I could JUST teach writing, that'd be good for me. Or if I could JUST teach reading. Or if I could JUST teach math...ha! No, just messing with you. You don't want me teaching your kid math--at least not beyond the basics.
And so this making artists be their own PR people: it feels fucked up to me. Does it to you? I mean, people can do it. And, right now, both a traditionally pubbed and a self-pubbed writer are on Twitter mass tweeting their XXXXX number of followers for the 100th time this week to read their book. Later, they'll tweet their followers with an interesting piece of writing advice so it doesn't look like they're tweeting about their book, or a really smarmy thought or quote so it doesn't look like they just want you to read their book, or they'll respond to one of their fans so it doesn't look like they just want you to read their book. (I'm being very jaded and cynical there--I actually would thoroughly enjoy the interacting with fans bit because my inner narcissist would be in orgasmic spasms of joy.)
Aren't there schools in which people are specifically taught the Public Relations arts? Once upon a time, if/when you were published, the publisher gave you a specialist to market your Art. You were the specialist in your Art--you'd written your Art, so you knew all about it. You could give the interviews and do the book talks. That was your job. Your marketer's job was to go find you the interviews and the book talk locations. Now, they want you to go do that, too. And I think that's lazy. And the reason I think that's lazy is because I AM lazy. So I know it when I see it--never try to bullshit a bullshitter.
And yet. Because of the phenomenon of social media, in which we are all quickly connected to our most favorite of everythings--songs, singers, tv shows, movies, actors, politicians (do people have favorites of those? i don't. and also i'm questioning if i should have even included them on a list of artists...but then again, politicking is an art form to a certain extent--the art of creating something out of manure and getting people to vote for it), novels, writers, painters, poets--the artists involved in whatever art they produce kind of HAVE to touch base with their audiences now. There's no excuse to not do it, given all the social media platforms that are being widely used now. And they definitely are under pressure to pull in more audience. Because for artists, it's about the story. But for people holding the money bags, it's all about ROI. Oh, they like the art produced. But mostly, they like the ROI.
Therein lies the conflict of our age. Humans have revealed themselves for what they are: desperate to be loved and heard.
Furthermore and also, I find this is happening not just in Artistic circles, but everywhere else, too: how many jobs do you do at work? I do about 15 but only get paid for one. And I have to spread myself out over a variety of jobs I've never officially been trained how to do. When I talk to friends who work in corporations, they echo that this is happening to them, too.
It's that top 1% tier's fault. And the growing class chasm's fault. And social media. And smart phones and video games and e-readers and Dick Cheney. And Vladmir Putin. Who else can I point my angry, puritanical, Scarlet Letter, red finger at?
We are a weird species. Have a happy Saturday.