Monday, October 08, 2007

Overly Creative

Nice essay on why creative people need to be curbed. Author Michael Fallon writes :

You could argue that most people, genetically speaking, do not possess the recessive traits that make creative talent likely. You could also argue that few people also have the perseverance to endure long hours of training, preparation, and hard work that make true art work possible.
Such hard realities aren’t in keeping with the times—when Nike exhorts us to “Just Do It” and Xerox screams “Express Yourself”; when students receive ribbons just for participating in the art exhibition, regardless of the quality of their product;

On a recent trip to a botanical garden, I saw some of artwork by K-2 kids framed on the walls. Not one of them was remotely remarkable and yet they were up there given undeserved honor. Just that would not be such a bad thing expect now the kids in question (and also their families) would assume their innate creativity and talent to be recognized. Fallon observes rightly :

Over and over, today’s culture not only reinforces that everyone is creative, but also that we have to be creative in order to be fully realized and fulfilled beings. We are told we need to have creative work, and that our creativity is the key to innovation at our work. This is true even as the number of cubicle-bound paper-pushing jobs ever seems to multiply, and as fewer and fewer jobs really require much creativity.

Some of these over-compensated "creative" kids will grow up to be "jewelery artisans" like the ones that showed up in my town for a fair organized by a local museum. Most of these folks had made a career and vocation out of non-existent creativity. You walked past stall after stall of forgettable kitsch until you spotted something startlingly beautiful.

Yet to the organizers there was nothing to tell the two very different breeds of artisans apart. Freedom to express creativity is equal opportunity apparently and the true mavens have to work that much harder to be seen and heard even as they struggle to keep from drowning in a sea of mediocrity.

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