A Post About Art Which Is Trying To Say More Than It Does, But I Think You Get The Picture Anyway. Also I Use Too Many Italics. Sorry.

Okay, Netflix, we need to talk. I have an issue that needs to be resolved. Share this info with your buddies over at Hulu too.

Let me tell you about what happened last night. I was watching a movie from the 90’s that I never got the chance to see, and since it was due to leave your service today (making the argument for physical media over streaming, but that’s a discussion for another time), I was up late taking the movie in. It was one of those movies with a large cast of mostly character actors and I was curious to see who played a few of the parts. So as the credits began to roll, they disappeared into a little box at the top of my screen while an advertisement for some show I have no interest in at all filled my screen. By the time I grabbed my remote and clicked around the boxes to give the okay to watch the credits I had missed most of the cast list. So I rewound the movie to the beginning of the credits

IT HAPPENED AGAIN. I had to re-click the right box, and then try to read really fast so I could figure out where I was in the cast list and then pause the movie in order to see what I wanted to see.

My point is this: I want to watch the credits. I know it’s not your fault, Netflix, that the credits zoomed by quickly, but if I hadn’t had to mess around with the plethora of choices to click on so the credits could be watched in the first place I would have been able to read them correctly. I suppose having a watch credits option is okay, but why does it have to be difficult to do? Also, why do I only have a few seconds to decide before the next thing just automatically starts, or I go back to the menu?

It’s not just the technical aspect that annoys me here though. The fact is that the credits are part of the movie. If the film was any darn good, I need those few minutes to decompress a little, and absorb what I just watched. The credits can help do that by providing the right music to take the viewer out of the world they have just inhabited for a few hours and back into their own. Of course, many action movies and comedies have extra scenes tagged on, but you’re good about not cutting those off, aren’t you? It’s just the documentaries and dramas that don’t have extra scenes that get lopped off. That’s a shame, because these are the very movies that require some time to think about and live with, often well after the credits roll.

The same idea is true with all art forms though. How often have I attended live theater and spent the next few days thinking about it? I have attended several concerts where I can listen to nothing but the performer’s work for days after, and I keep replaying highlights from the show in my head.

Here’s a question for the book hounds I know: How can you finish a book and just pick up another one? I need to live in that world for a while. If I have invested time in reading about these characters and their lives (fictitious or not), I need a few days to shake the events out of my system and leave the fantasy slowly, and think about what I have just read, the emotions the story called up and perhaps why this work resonated the way it did. Yet I have friends who can finish one book and start a new one immediately, or the next morning.

How do they do that? More importantly, why do they do that? Are they just not present in the moment, or do they just want to have the accomplishment of reading so many books, that the art is lost on them? Or is it possible that reading on an e-reader, phone, or laptop takes away some of the physical, tangible experience that holding a book in your hands and actually turning the pages provides?

Also, how am I going to get this back on track to being about Netflix?

Anyway, I can’t do it. I can’t just move on right away. Perhaps my sense of imagination is too great, or perhaps I am just too sensitive to the stories, sights and sounds to dismiss the artistry of a piece that I relate to so well.

That’s the thing about art. Art gets inside of you, whether you want it to or not. Of course, what is and isn’t “art” can be debated ad nauseum, because what moves one person may do nothing for another. What some see as art, others see as mere entertainment and fluff. There’s nothing wrong with just wanting to be entertained mind you, but a true piece of art is something more. However, we are never all going to agree on what is or isn’t valid art, so it is up to the individual to decide.

That’s why we need the credits to roll. (Now we’re back on track.) That’s why we need to slow down when we watch, listen, or read. We are so obsessed with making sure we consume as much of what is available as possible that we don’t let it affect our lives, we don’t allow ourselves to see ourselves or others in a new light. We don’t allow ourselves to feel anything, which is a pity, because that’s what art is for.

It would be a whole lot easier to have a meaningful relationship with art if the very technologies that provide it to us with ease didn’t also get in the way.

Wait, did I just use a blog to complain about technology? I did, didn’t I? Well, that’s kind of weird. And slightly hypocritical? Maybe?


Anyway…so, um, yeah. See you next week.


One thought on “A Post About Art Which Is Trying To Say More Than It Does, But I Think You Get The Picture Anyway. Also I Use Too Many Italics. Sorry.

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