Analyzing why the arts do matter

John Hult

John Hult

Although our humble opinion editor has never given us any formal direction to go with this “From The Editor’s Desk” column, the prevailing sentiment amoung my officemates has been to use the column as an opportunity to explain their affinity towards their own page and the topics contained therein.

So why am I here? Why do I spend 25-plus hours a week behind a computer dreaming up schemes to serve up information about movies, music and the like?

Because these things matter.

Sure, politics matter. Any student of history can tell you just how dirty our leaders can be if we don’t keep them in check. I personally think we ought to be able to keep them in check with a tire iron if our voting pencils don’t do the trick.

What happens on campus and in the Brookings community matters. Whether it’s the mold in the animal science building, the sticky third “B” tax, the Gateway laptop deal or the precautions residence halls take against stalking intruders, the C & C section is full of info that affects you directly. But my head is usually too far in the clouds to worry about these sorts of things.

Photos matter, too. The photos taken or assigned by Mr. Gussiaas tell the rest of the story. This job is one that I could really get into if I had any idea how to take proper photographs.

Even if I were qualified to perform the tasks of my fellow editors, however, I would choose A&E any day of the week.

If the news and newsmakers shape the world we live in, the arts are the lens through which we interpret it. The arts matter because they show us the human side to the grey, lifeless information we are bombarded with daily.

Think of how many records and books that moralists and fundamentalists have burned over the years. Have they ever truly succeeded in supressing art? Of course not.

If the music makes you feel good, no zealot’s words can make the music “bad.”

More seriously: How many German supporters would Hitler have been able to keep if images similar to those in “Schindler’s List” had been available?

Now we have the opposite problem. We have too much art, too much media, too much information. And do the people who are supposed to be rooting though the rubble actually help? No.

In fact, VH1 actually managed to make a list of the most shocking moments of rock ‘n’ roll without mentioning gg allin, Jello Biafra, Roky Erikson or Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. gg allin was defecating onstage and chopping himself up for 15 years before Marilyn Manson showed up.

If the powers that be at major networks and publications are unwilling to expose the real deal, I must take it upon myself to help you out.

This is college, after all. This is where you’re supposed to try new things, hear new things, see new things and fill your head with enough culture to keep an informed perspective on the media you’ll be swallowing for the rest of your life.

The State & Local page ought to let you know about politics. The C&C page ought to let ou know about your community.

I hope my page will let you know how much great art is really out there.

John Hult works as the Collegian’s Arts & Entertainment editor. Write to him at [email protected]