the view at 65 is worth it

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Who decides?

Who decides?
I do need to offer another, more serious perspective, albeit a brief one. Who in fact tells us we are too old, or too feeble to scale our vision of Mt. Everest, or Mt. Arrowsmith? ( That’s Mt. Arrowsmith at the top of this blog. I photographed the mountain during a recent winter. It’s just 20 minutes from where I live and visible from our small island ).
Canadian culture is market-driven. Art is market-driven and not artist-driven. That’s our loss. Bureaucrats and politicians decide who’s professional and who’s not, who’s in and who’s out. Postmodernists profess everyone is an artist and the deconstruction of art’s fabled canons leaves nothing but a plethora of nothingness, bound by an irrational fear of becoming un-Canadian, or worse – American.
But any fears of being swallowed by culture americana is really unfounded. Surprise. The Americans are not the enemy of Canadian culture. Canadians are. At least Americans seem to recognize what and who an emerging artist is.
I will fight for as long as I can to preserve the title “emerging artist” for any artist of any age, who chooses to emerge from a boxed-in place and present culture with a breath of fresh air, past or present, and not just the artist who rides the default slide into the predictable culture of youth. As much as I love and admire youth for their vitality, I concur with Canadian comedian Dave Broadfoot, the Honourable Member from Kicking Horse Pass, that when I turn 65 ( he said 70, but I take the liberty ), “I can say anything I want.”
And they had better listen as I have a lot more to say than simply asking for a senior’s discount. Canada’s aboriginal people believe wisdom resides with the elders. They are the elders, the keepers of history, who direct the courses of life. And I agree. But the market prefers youth, because they are better targets for the slow but steady metamorphosis of an undiscerning teenager into a conspicuous consumer. Brand loyalty over wisdom-loyalty any day. Who really decides what’s right? Mass media? God help us.
At the risk of excluding anyone else, I ask who is worth listening to? It’s the elder artist historian, who merges the creative streams of life into the experience of history, to form a basis for truth beyond the reach of politics and the stock exchange. Call me whatever, but that’s the reason I’m going back to now school, not old-school. To offer, in the words of an ancient king: “like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in the right circumstance.” And that circumstance is now. To be the elder artist historian who embraces communications and technology as a resource for informed leadership, by the grace of God.

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