About Being a Pretend Muddlehead
If you’ve ever given my blog even a cursory going-over, you’d see I talk about all sorts. When I do a“Fair Play” entry, the goal is to hit on something concerning ethics or what’s right or good, especially in the realm of expressive art.
Fair. If you’ve tried to make a living as a writer, visual artist, musician, singer, etc., you probably know fair to be a dangerous concept. I’ve gotten off stage more than a few times and been told how much I deserve this or that, how the people at the top making all the money are crap.
If you’ve been in the game and you’re any good whatsoever, you’ve heard this.
Are these things to be listened to or trusted? I’d say no—strongly, I’d say no. Here’s why: The people that stink and are at the top—they were told how great they were as well, maybe they listened, maybe they didn’t, but they kept going anyway.
This might sound backward, but let me explain. These knuckleheads are so muddleheaded and lacking self-reflection, even if Tolstoy rose from his grave and slapped them over the head with War and Peace, they’d still believe they were on to something singular or unprecedented. They aren’t good case studies, is what I’m saying. I’m saying that yes, you shouldn’t listen, but not for the same reasons. So be a pretend muddleheaded. Cause nobody likes a moron.
And—for all we know, they are talented. But mostly, yeah, they suck.
Still, doesn’t matter. If you’re not where you want to be, don’t listen too intently to the criticisms and certainly don’t take the compliments to heart. Making it isn’t a state of mind, despite what people say. Making it means you’re doing what you want to do for a living—yeah, you’ll have to make changes and sacrifices at the top, I’m sure, but it’s still a pretty empirical metric. If you want to be an author and you’re authoring for a living wage, you’re there. After that, it’s just luck and more hard work, keeping those compliments and criticisms at arm’s length.
Okay. This certainly isn’t the tonic for everybody, but I think it’s a good reminder. Here’s why: nobody knows what the hell is going on. If you go to a modern art museum, there’s three people in a building the size of the Pentagon that know anything about what they’re looking at. Everybody else is wandering around pretending that the circle with the line through it is the Last Supper.
C’mon. Take a breath. Let’s take a minute. Let’s be fair.
Cheers. See you after.