By Iliya Pavlovich
January 03, 2006
Art is not what you see, but
what you make others see.
Looking is a gift, but seeing
is a power.
To see we must forget the name
of the thing we are looking at.
Remember, the work of art lives
in the experience, the journey within the process, not in the
resulting monument to be presented in a certified art-place.
It is terrifying to think of
what a commodity art has become.
The aim of art is to represent
not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.
Art teaches nothing except
the significance of life.
Great art picks up where Nature
I am enough of an artist to
draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important
than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the
Art is never finished, only
Art is a lie that makes us
Even the broadest and most whimsical view on art can not encompass the work of the film director John Waters into any art-form. Motion pictures are often called the seventh art but in the case of Mr. Waters this is as diluted as water can possibly be. Let's consult the classics here for a moment.
Based on the types of studies that were pursued in the Classical world, the Seven Liberal Arts became codified in late antiquity by such writers as Varro and Martianus Capella. In medieval times, the Seven Liberal Arts offered a canonical way of depicting the realms of higher learning.
The Liberal Arts were divided into the Trivium ("the three roads") and the Quadrivium ("the four roads").
The Trivium consisted of:
The Quadrivium consisted of:
In explaining and commenting on Mr. Water's work his, Mr. Waters, and some of his stars were all very generous to state how this was the work of monumental importance, simply because it was largely non-conventional and avant-garde in the sense that there were many repulsive, obscure, perverted, uncommon, weird even deviant events and characters. His view was that these events and characters existed in real life, and he was inspired by the dreary surrounding of his hometown Baltimore, MD. and the typical puritanical lifestyle of an average family. Poor consolation if you're in the business of arts.
If anybody were to follow that logic and equally make motion pictures we would have a film where there is nothing but a stack of phone-books being leafed through for the full two-hours. That too is an event from a real life.
Yet another event that is quite frequent, but not commonly explored would be to mount a film camera in a cat s litter-box. That way we can have a two hour film of various cats using the litter-box. That too is rather unconventional, uncommon and not too widely accepted by the public at large.
Mr. Waters is not that much of a mystery. His films have a certain homo-erotic, gender-bender signature that could be understood.
It is the PBS television producers and programming people who are to blame for this brainless program.
In presenting the work of Mr. Waters, there was not one dissenting voice. This is quite contrary to my experience while I was a member of AFI (American Film Institute), were screenings of John Waters, and/or Abel Ferrara films were routinely accompanied with disdain, walk-outs, sharp criticism. But, not so with the PBS programming team. Watching this program seemed exactly like a well paid infomercial, where there is not one single criticism in spite of the fact that the topic is the work of a person who has been criticized, even ridiculed. The praising team included notable members of the modern American gay community like Michael Musto from the Village Voice (a NYC paper). There was a weak attempt to tie John Waters to the Stonewall riots in Greenwich village, NYC, where gay bars and clubs were being raided and closed. In the ensuing years the gay population was more aggressive and started coming out (another euphemism, meaning the gays were announcing publicly their sexual orientation). For my money, I don't really desire or wish to learn about anybody's sexual activities or preferences. To each his own. There is no need to do drum-beating on a public square, announcing that a person is heterosexual, so why make such a big deal of a gay announcing that s/he is gay? It is just one more of the sociological phenomena that has plagued the American society.
As far as PBS goes, it is not the first time that they chose to air some type of an infomercial or another. Having the common knowledge that PBS is a non-profit organization, that their programming is most often, in some fashion focused on the arts, science or education - we are caught off-guard when such highly biased, inaccurate and slanted portrayals are given.
Within the last few months they had another program within their "Targeted" series. It was called Arkan, the baby-faced killer . Arkan was a Serbian paramilitary leader who employed his privately organized army to fight to protect Serbian minorities among the Muslim pockets of Bosnia and Kosovo.
If we determine that there was an on-going war, it is fairly easy to deduce that there were killings and atrocities. The views on Arkan were provided by:
Key points here are neither the historical facts which are not in dispute, but the PBS's choice of a biased, inaccurate portrayal of people and events with the grossest disregard for accuracy and fairness. Even the worst of tabloid publications will try a semblance of objectivity presenting opposing views. No such luck with PBS. I will have to think twice before I send any more money to their whining endless programming fund-raisers.
Iliya Pavlovich PhD
About: Sociology PhD, frequent commentator at Baltimore Independent Media Center.
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.