The Glorious Underground Life of the Lonely
I’ve been finding myself more and more grateful to be a participant in an art form with exceptionally deep roots but very little breadth, an art form made by individual people, in seclusion, for small groups of readers who all approach the final product in solitude. This was my first thought when I read Tabatha Southey’s hilarious piece on the travesty of human cooperation that is the mascot for the 2012 London Olympics, published in the Globe Online today.
To paraphrase the Southey article, things that result from the input of thousands of voices and pressures (from advertising professionals to focus groups to the concerns of corporate sponsors) tend to suck. To add to that argument, I think it’s important to say that many things made by just one person also suck, but the failure rate trends towards 100% whenever the full creative tumble-dry of corporate decision making comes into effect (and here I don’t specifically mean corporate as “to do with corporations”, but rather in the more general sense of “cooperative + structured”). From the Academy Awards to the US Healthcare Bill to the script for the film adaptation of “G.I. Joe”, very few creative solutions can stand up to the pressures exerted on them by someone else’s creative solution.
So the world can have their trend targets and their Olympic mascots that look like Tellytubbies designed by sex offenders. I’ll take books. Books created by a single, specific entity for consumption by some indeterminate number of single, specific entities, all in isolation. And maybe sometimes I’ll watch TV. Or see a movie. But, for the most part, I’ll live inside a beautiful secret that very few people know: that, whenever it’s not an absolutely necessity of its medium, the idea of artistic collaboration is bullshit.