Me: Hey, how are you.
Them: Pretty good. What’s your major in school?
Me: I’m not in school.
Them: Why not?
Me: Because it’s super expensive and I’m an artist anyway.
Them: You should go to school and major in something boring. What do the arts ACTUALLY contribute?
Me: HOLY SHIT
Me: YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME
ME: DID YOU SERIOUSLY JUST DISS THE ARTS IN MY PRESENCE?!
Me: Okay, here we go. You owe everything you have to artists. If we did not have artists, we would still be beating each other on the head with rocks in the caves of pre-Enlightenment ignorance. We would not have developed ideas like progress or relativity or equality. We would not have hundreds of languages, religions, and cultures. All of these things came from artists. Artists are the rebellious kids who invented slang terms that altered the vernacular over centuries. They are the finnicking hands that developed the printing press and bound the first books. They are the restless minds that questioned why monarchs should have the right to define reality, and gave that right to the scientific method instead. Art was the frustration in the American colonies that gave rise to the modern world’s first successful democracy. The military general who brazenly tries an unknown battle tactic against an oppressive regime is an artist.
Me: And you’re SERIOUSLY asking me why we needs painters, poets, actors, and dancers????
Me: These people are the ones who pioneer new realities. They gently coerce us into risking new ways of structuring our internal realities, which waters gardens in the cracks of society. An actor playing a “villain” fighting for their rights in a fascist country just might sneak in the tiniest whisper of rebellion. That whisper can be the rebirth of an entire culture. The dancers of centuries past who DARED TO SHOW THEIR ANKLES slowly paved the road that brought women into an era where they had the right and the opportunity to choose their clothes based on factors other than the apparent inability of men think with their brains instead of their MEMBERS. The poet who talks circles around society may confuse most with their disregard for syntax, but the one person who understands them will become the scientist who develops a cure for cancer.
Me: But you know who we really care about? That weird audience member in the back row who wandered in right before the show began. They walked up to the box office seemingly unsure as to why they were even there, but for some unknown reason they bought a ticket anyway. Something happened during the day–it could be anything from an argument with a coworker to the death of a family member–that cracked their foundation. Suddenly the world as it is just isn’t cutting it. They need to be transported to a different realm. Maybe, if they’re lucky, there will be something in this new world that they can bring back with them. That “something” can be the thing that saves them. And if it does, they might pass it on to someone else for whom the protective walls that society constructs around all of us have cracked. This is the birth of a movement, and this is how the next great chapter in history will be written.
Me: To those comfortable with the accepted patterns, artists are a nuisance at best and downright dangerous at worst. But to those who are struggling, the artist is their chance to create a better existence for themselves.
Me: Do not ever belittle the artist’s purpose.
Them: Wow, you’re really passionate. You want to grab coffee?
Me: no you’re stupid goodbye
Me: Do you respect artists and understand how crucial they are to humanity?
Them: Of course, I’m not a dolt!
Me: Let’s grab coffee.