I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the content we create and the content we seek. And honestly, I’m coming up frustrated. Because here’s the thing y’all: recently, I’ve been bored. Like really bored. Then, I went for a walk with my crazy corgi puppy and I felt rain and I felt this visceral anger at the lasting winter cold. Then I read Wise Blood and my jaw dropped and my heart raced. Gosh, I even think I started sweating. And then, I went to an Easter service, and I cried and my broken bits all felt redeemed.
What I mean to say is: I’m bored with what’s out there. On so many magazines, in so many publications, on so many screens. I’m tired of the same conversations and the same aesthetics. And I’m tired of irony and satire without depth and feeling.
About a million people posted this article last week to all sorts of social media outlets. And it bears repeating. People nowadays need authenticity, not talking heads or inch-deep rhetoric whose most intelligent contribution is a snarky remark. We need conviction and honesty. We need some earnest voices, living in earnest places, loving what they love.
I went to The Listening Room last month where this singer-songwriter named Twain played. I’ve seen enough singer-songwriters to know that for so many of them- if you’ve seen one, you’ve seem them all. Except this was different. There was something about his earnestness on stage, his rawness and his imperfection, but yet above all his conviction, that kept us enraptured. At the end of his 30 minute set, the audience stood to their feet as he meekly bowed off the stage, escaping into some dark corridor. The standing ovation felt like a wave of communal demand– we need more of this.
So here I am, looking outside all the “usual” places for inspiration. I’m going back to the wilderness, going back to the old literature, and going back into myself for what I will create, not emulate. I’m looking to relationships, and spirituality, and isolation for the meaning I’m not finding in the temporal fleeting trends of this season.
On that note, I leave you with this:
Great art must be achieved through the integrity of its own internal principles. Irony alone has no principles and no inherent purpose beyond mockery and destruction. The best examples of irony artfully expose lies, yet irony in itself has no aspiration to honesty, or anything else for that matter.
So, where does art rise above ironic ridicule and aspire to greatness, in terms of challenging convention and elevating the human spirit? Where does Glory Hallelujah meet integrity?
-Matt Ashby and Brendan Carroll, “Irony is Ruining our Culture”