Thursday, July 27, 2006

Monkey Do, Monkey See

Probably the most aptly named blog in the entire world.

Monkey Do, Monkey See
We’re making something good, you dig? It’s like the fucking Beats (with less serious drug problems) or Parisian Bohemians circa 1890. We’re making something new, something that changes the way people see. We’re making art and the art is good.

Ok. This is going to piss people off but I don't care. This has to be the most retarded comment about gaming that I have ever read or heard. Frankly I would feel that way regardless of whether or not it was about game designers and games that I like or not.

Comments like this make me weep for the educational system in our country, the state of ignorance of literature and the arts that makes people think that comments like this one are cool. Like I said, this is going to piss people off but I don't care. See, the cool thing about this is the fact that this is my playground and I can talk however I want.

This is similar to my encounter with some art school students at a local art festival. It turns out that they said they were doing Outsider Art.

Wikipedia on "Outsider Art"

Here's a relevant passage:
While Dubuffet's term is quite specific, the English term "Outsider Art" is often applied more broadly, to include certain self-taught or Naïve art makers who were never institutionalized. Typically, those labeled as Outsider Artists have little or no contact with the institutions of the mainstream art world and they often employ unique materials or fabrication techniques. Much Outsider Art illustrates extreme mental states, unconventional ideas, or elaborate fantasy worlds. Since 2000 the EUWARD, the European Award for painting and graphic arts by mentally handicapped artists, is providing this art with an international forum.

Outsider Art has emerged as a successful art marketing category (an annual Outsider Art Fair has taken place in New York since 1992); thus the term is sometimes misapplied as a catch-all marketing label for art created by people outside the "art world" mainstream, regardless of their circumstances or the content of their work.

The bolded part was emphasized by me. See, Outsider Art isn't something that one does it is something that one is. In my mind, one of the foremost Outsider Artists would have been Harvey Darger.

Wikipedia on Harvey Darger

See, kind of like being an outsider being revolutionary isn't something that one wakes up in the morning and decides to do. Sure, if you're Picasso or Tristan Tzara or Dali or a handful of those people who were the true Geniuses (deserving of being capitalized) of our world. Did those people talk about how they were revoltionizing the art world? Well, Picasso might have but then despite the Jonathan Richman song he was a pretty big asshole.

So, yeah, this sort of attitude pisses me off. It has pretty much always pissed me off and it will always piss me off. I am sure that if this little rant gets out into the big bad world (which I seriously doubt because I have no delusions about the limits of my audience...although from the sales figures that I have seen this blog has had more unique visitors than many of those revolutionary games have sold copies of) I will be besieged by the holy warriors and proslytizers who will seek to defend the faith from barbarian insurgents. I don't care.

I am tired of the preening. I am tired of the self-aggrandizing attacks against those who "Don't get it." I am tired of the charges of brain damage and being unable to do something as simple as tell a story. You know what? The last time that I tried I was able to tell challenging and engaging stories during my games sessions without the aid of mechanical "innovations" that actually take a gamer by the hand and force them to tell the kinds of "stories" that their designers think are cool. I am tired of people being told that the way that they game is "a myth" or that they are somehow "deluding themselves." I am tired of the whole bloody thing.

It is truly sad that people think that the only way that they can make themselves "cool" is to deride others and/or puff themselves up and prance about like silly little fops, or children who have touched their genitals for the first time and thought that they are doing something revolutionary...something that no has every done before.

I think that is all, that that is enough on the topic for now. Comment at your own risk.