I Am Mountain, Literalism & the Christian Complex

I am Mountain

Obviously nobody likes to create art like this and immediately have to explain or defend it in the first 48 hours. – Chris McGrath

‘Liturgical post-rock collective’ Gungor released their third album, I Am Mountain, earlier this week. Received with intense praise, in its musical quality, I Am Mountain continues Gungor’s journey of innovation, trumping Beautiful Things and Ghosts Upon The Earth.

The album has received equally intense criticism, with some of the more common criticisms being: “It’s not ‘Christian’ enough”. “There’s too much mythological language”. “Where is the hope?”

As Michael Gungor writes on his own blog, “explaining poetry with prose can sometimes be counterproductive”. It’s not wrong of people to want answers. We all do. But I say this: not every art piece produced by Christians needs to be a comprehensive picture of the gospel of Jesus. Christian Contemporary Music has attempted that and runs the risk of being inauthentic: what, you’ve got it all figured out? Attempting to answer our own hard questions is overwhelming. Michael speaks more about that in his book The Crowd, The Critic, and The Muse.

My dancer friend Kim Stevenson is quoted in WeMakeStuff Volume 01, saying: “We do not give God enough credit for how much He can work through our art without it being a literal story about winning souls. God is so real to me while creating that I know He is integrated throughout my work. We need to dive into work that is relevant, pushing boundaries and moving ahead. We need to maintain high standards in our craft, and God will do the rest”.

Even Jesus did not summarize the kingdom of God in one artistic composition. Further, he was famous for speaking metaphorically, not literally. He compared the kingdom of God to this and that, allowing the meanings to rise and connect from the deep places of his listeners’ subconscious.

My friend Steffen, a marketer, tells me that 95% of our decisions are made subconsciously rather than consciously. Art forms carry power in their ability to bypass the rational-logical conscious filters and speak to the “heart”.

The final song is a perfect example of art speaking to the heart: this track, which is an exquisite wordless symphony, could speak – without using words – the messages these critics are desirous to hear in this album. Unexpected. Ironic. The message is potentially left unreceived by people looking for literalism. Yet… “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

It’s upsetting that some self-professed “long-time fans” are upset with Gungor, as if they’ve let them down. Let me ask you, on what grounds do you support an artist? As long as they give you the right warm fuzzies? It’s okay for Gungor to put out an album that focuses on questions and even heavier material. Michael Gungor himself doesn’t see it as a heavy album (see video below), but if that’s what the band is experiencing, their art is how they process it. Shunning their material and criticizing them publicly for it is like ostracizing your friend because they are asking hard questions in their personal life. These criticisms reek of an inability to empathize. They stink of objectification and narrow-mindedness.

When we shut ourselves off the the artist’s process, and just expect them to deliver a product that we can consume, we’ve lost sight of the purpose of art. Art’s purpose is to ask the right questions, not deliver all the right answers.

Here’s a video about what Gungor say about it:

Managing School Stress: An Insider Perspective

This article was originally published on Libero Network. A big shout-out to my friend Lauren Bersaglio, founder. Libero is a non-profit online magazine and resource site that brings awareness to and offers support for those recovering from eating disorders, depression, addiction, anxiety & abuse.

So why is school so stressful?

I’ve been teaching for three years. Before that, I was a student, and still am. I see education from both sides: student and teacher. Let’s talk about how to manage school stress.

I have to start with a disclaimer: School is just one part of your life learning – all that information about the world that you’ve been collecting since you starting sensing stimuli in the womb. We all know learning is a good thing – I mean, kids love learning – and we love learning about things we care about, whether that’s keeping up to date with the newest music, learning some quirky fact about our best friend, or flipping through faded photo albums in grandma’s musty attic.

So why is school so stressful? Maybe because school isn’t simply learning in an way that’s always comfortable or even interesting. It can be, but it falls short.

It’s a flawed human system. Many great people did not do well in school. Thomas Edison’s teacher gave up on him and sent him home to be schooled by his mother. Albert Einstein did very poorly in high school math. Assessment isn’t always done well. Learning styles and teaching styles can differ.

I’d say three major school stressors are peers, grades, and time management. I can’t do anything about your peers (except to recommend that a casual “hi” and a smile goes a log way to say, “I’m not out to get you; you can relax around me”) so I’m going to focus on grades and time management:

1. You are not defined by your grades.

You are a person of infinite value, hidden talents, and incalculable creativity. When a teacher hands you back a piece of paper with a red mark on it, that’s not a reflection on your worth. It might be a measurement of your progress in one particular area. But it is also in the past. Whether bad or good, your assessments do not define you in the future; they provide you with a starting point from which to continue in a positive trajectory.

When a toddler falls down trying to walk, her parents don’t throw their hands up and say, “Oh! We might as well give up – she’s failed!” No. They keep encouraging the toddler to try until she can walk with confidence. Your failures will scare you less when you see that failure is not a final destination, just another learning opportunity. This is the growth mindset. For more on how your mindset might be the thing holding you back, and how to break that, read New York Times Bestseller Mindset by Carol Dweck.

Getting used to short-term failure is key to finding long-term success.

2. Ask for help when you need it.

You understand you’re not defined by your grades, but you still want to do your best in school. Great! Do you ask for help? From a young age we are taught to be independent, but really we are inter-dependent. We need each other. A good place to start is to admit that there will always be someone better than you at a particular skill.

Not asking for help can be a sign of unresolved pride. It says, “I don’t need you” to people whose expertise, wisdom, and guidance could be the exact key we need.

3. Ask for help even before you need it.

Why wait to run into trouble? The best kind of education is when we have a consistent feeling of growth. Schedule a weekly drop-in to your teachers at a convenient time for them and ask them how you can do the best you can. Make sure you understand the week’s concepts by explaining them back to your teachers and asking if you got it right.

Make a habit of studying by doing it with your friends over snacks before there’s a huge test. If you review your notes at the end of class for 5 minutes, then review them again that evening, your retention rate rockets.

4. Make the most of a calendar.

I’ve stayed up way too late finishing assignments. In university a friend gave me a good tip: on a calendar, mark the due dates of your major assignments with a D. One week (or three days, or whatever) before each is due, make an advance completion date (C or X). Then give yourself an estimate of how many days it will take you to finish it (a week, three weeks) and mark the start date S.

You can colour code your classes or figure out your own system. You will never turn in an assignment last-minute or late ever again, you will have enough time to edit all your assignments, you will feel less stress and more proud of your work.

5. Talk it out.

The worst thing is to bottle things up. If you are stressed about school, do talk to someone. Not just your friends. Griping to them might make you feel better momentarily, but it won’t help resolve the root stressor.

Talk to a teacher preferably, or a guidance counsellor, a mentor, a youth leader, or someone in your faith community. Ask them to hear you out and ask them for their advice. Ask them how you might approach the person, class, or project that is causing stress.

6. Stop trying to multitask.

The latest brain research tells us that we really misunderstand multitasking. It’s not as effective as we are led to believe. Instead focus. Say no to new distractions. Complete one task at a time. This method is less stressful and develops our powers of concentration.

7. Don’t get stuck halfway.

The worst place to be is halfway. Not fully working and not fully resting. I catch myself doing this, flipping back and forth when I need to make my mind up. Right now, decide whether you are working or resting. Then make that time clear. Are you going to watch TV for 30 minutes? Watch it guilt-free. When 30 minutes is up, be honest with yourself, turn it off, and start working until you’ve accomplished what you set out to do.

This requires discipline, and there’s only one way to achieve that. Just do it. You can. I believe in you.

Education Pays

seeketchum:

For all the naysayers who speak against the value of further education, it appears that having post-secondary actually does pay off. See this graphic.
For me, education is more than just the money you can make with your degree (I did study English and Social Sciences, after all), and I also find I have more options at my fingertips because of my degree.

Originally posted on Teach and Create:

A friend of mine shared this lesson idea with me, and I think it’s just fantastic, especially if you have students in your class who are inclined to doubt the value of a having a high school education/diploma…

In my friend’s class (which is in a NYC public high school), she showed her students the following chart, which indicates the median weekly earnings as well as unemployment rates in the U.S. in 2012, broken down by education degrees earned:

Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 7.29.19 PM

She discussed and interpreted the chart with her students and asked them to identify patterns.  Then, she had her students create a monthly budget based on the average income of an individual who has less than a high school diploma.  They used this chart to create their budgets:

Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 7.41.33 PM

Needless to say, the kids quickly saw something wrong with this picture.  “This isn’t enough money to live on!” many began to exclaim…

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Your Straw Man’s House Won’t Stand

The Internet may be the most powerful democratic force in the world. Theoretically, every user has an equal voice. There are still a few problems, of course. Every once in a while a user  encounters a seriously problematic idea. Send in the trolls.

A tweet I read by Lauren Dubinsky (wife of Max Andrew Dubinsky, whose hyper-creative multimedia is worth checking out) this morning said:

@laurendubinsky I have yet to meet a homeless person that doesn’t praise God for what little they have.

Two replies followed thus:

@GabrielGadfly @laurendubinsky I wonder if homeless atheists feel uncomfortable receiving aid from faith-based support centers.
@GodlessAtheist @gabrielgadfly Many of the religious groups force their religion on them in return for food. Also much of the support is state funded.

In the first reply, Gabriel Gadfly (surely his birth name) poses what seems like an honest question. Do homeless atheists, in general, feel uncomfortable receiving aid from faith-based support centers? We will get to his question in a moment.

Meanwhile, both Lauren and Godless Atheist have made claims.

Lauren’s claim is based on her personal experience on the ground. Personal experience is good, but can be misleading. It’s easy for me to have an experience that is counter to the norm. But if Lauren’s sample group was large enough, we’d say her claim is statistically safe. So, Lauren, you’re off the hook for now.

Godless Atheist’s claims are:

1) many religious groups force their religion on them in return for food

2) much of the support is state funded

You, the reader, have a choice. You can believe these at face value, or you can question them.

If these claims were made in an academic setting, these arguments wouldn’t fly because they completely lack evidence, are unspecific, and are logical fallacies. They aim to persuade through rhetoric rather than evidence.

We are not in an academic setting here, but that doesn’t mean we throw out our brains. It’s simple to see when someone is making a broad claim to change someone’s mind, but doesn’t have a sufficient basis to do so.

At best, Godless Atheist’s claims contain several logical fallacies found on this beautiful illustrated chart: 1) Appeal to Ignorance, 2) Appeal to Popular Belief, 3) Division (or Spotlight), and 4) Sweeping Generalization.

At worst, Godless Atheist saw an opportunity to stir up angry debate. For now, we will give him or her the benefit of the doubt, and deal with why this claim they’ve made is such a problem.

1) Appeal to Ignorance: In both claim 1 and claim 2, Godless Atheist has not given any evidence for, but has not received any evidence that points the other way. Their own ignorance plies our own ignorance until one of us becomes better informed.

2) Begging The Question/Red Herring: Because it’s a common thing for states to fund humanitarian work, it’s not a stretch to make, or believe, claim 2. But what is the author’s intent with this comment? Are they trying to undermine the work that religious groups do because funding comes from the government? This would be like saying the work of teachers doesn’t matter because the government funds schools.

3) Sweeping Generalization/Composition: Claim 1 applies the characteristics of one or a few of these “religious groups” on all of the religious groups. This is unfair. It’s equivalent to calling all American citizens pro-war, because of their government’s position and their military prowess. (This links with guilt by association)

4) Generalization: Use of the word “many” and “most”: these are vague and generalizing, and can steer evidence very poorly, in the same was as using superlatives like never or always.

5) Appeal to Emotion (Fear): Use of the term “force their religion”. A vague term to begin with, no definition, examples, or evidence has been given. Has Godless Atheist observed an instance of this which they can cite? Forcing religion, in this situation, seems to me to be a general statement expressing potential discomfort from encountered ideas that are foreign to a person. And this happens every single day.

6) Division/Generalization: If a religious group exists that does proselytize to needy people before they give them anything, that group would not be representative of the majority. It is completely unfair and untrue for Godless Atheist to use words like “most” in their claim.

 

So, let’s get back to Gabriel, who has been waiting patiently to have his question answered. If Gabriel is in earnest, can we find the answer to his question? Yes, we can!  We will need to ask the only people qualified to answer: homeless atheists themselves.

But I’m pretty sure that if we do ask them (and there may be none, or very few, or very many), that they’re likely not going to all give us the same answer. I’d say it’s safe to assume that some will say yes, some will say no, and some will give a conditional answer.

But to further the discussion, why don’t pose a corollary? Do religious people feel uncomfortable receiving aid from non-religious organizations? Do religious people feel uncomfortable buying groceries from an atheist supermarket cashier or receiving tax breaks from secular governments? Sometimes it helps frame the nature of a question to think about its reverse.

If Gabriel’s question is not in earnest, it might instead be an incendiary comment meant to stir up debate on a completely unrelated topic, for example, whether religious groups oppress others.I chose to take some time out of my morning to respond to this discussion at the risk of feeding a troll, because I believe we can all do our part to make the Internet a place where good ideas are valued and fallacies aren’t simply let off the hook.

We Need More Faith in the “F-word” [Part 2]

Some social conservatives (Christian ones, at that) argue that feminism is to blame for the breakdown of marriage and society. One well-known evangelical sadly suggests that feminism turns women into “lesbians who hate their husbands and kill their children”. But I’m sure he means that with love.

Some Christians, reading into admonitions for women not to teach or speak in church from New Testament epistles, have used scripture to legitimize their culture’s own existing sexism, settling for the status quo instead of envisioning a kingdom of Heaven culture where “there is no male nor female, slave nor freeman, Greek nor Jew” (Galatians 3:28).

These narrow-minded and ill-informed views couldn’t be more wrong. Feminism neither destroyed marriage nor created abortion. Feminism is mistakenly blamed for abortions, but in China, third trimester abortions and even infanticide takes place regardless of the rights of women. Women’s rights is not some kind of culprit. The subtext of the argument against feminism is that it’s a bad idea to empower half of our society – that somehow women cannot be trusted to handle freedom. It reeks of fear and manipulation. Feminism isn’t responsible for breaking marriage, either. Marriages have been deeply broken for a long, long time, and children die where patriarchy (a force that generally opposes feminism) reigns like a lion. In some regions of Somalia, the men take the first portion of food and whatever scraps are left over – if there are any – are given to the women and children. The family friend who witnessed this tragedy said it reminded him of child-sacrifice cultures associated with the god Moloch.

One cannot quote the Letters to the Corinthians or letters any other 1st century church with disdain for context. The people of Corinth wrestled with a pagan culture whose association of women’s involvement in religion was as temple prostitutes. Further, women were largely uneducated and untrained in literature, speaking, teaching – things necessary for a woman to teach in church. Paul’s admonitions, offensive when read void of context in modern times, actually safeguarded the reputation of Christian Corinthian women and prevented poor teaching from being spread through the church in its fragile early years.

Nowadays, the story is quite different. Recent studies concur that higher education is tipping heavily to the side of women, with females comprising more than 60% of enrolment in higher education. Modern women are articulate, empowered, and educated, and St. Paul’s reasons for cautioning women in Corinth are absent in today’s Western context. Is it possible that God is asking us to be rational about it?

To entrust our education to female teachers at school but not at church is to hold a pretty laughable double standard.

So, what’s Christianity’s problem with feminism? The biggest kickback seems to be the link between feminism and humanism. Fine. Humanism is an ideology underpinned in naturalism, with a bone to pick with Theology. But for the moment, let’s look at the common ground between Christianity and feminism, since it’s pretty clear that some Christians have found a way to harmonize their beliefs with feminist thinking. After all, we are called to be peacemakers.

Dr. Allyson Jule at Trinity Western University‘s Gender Studies Institute helped me to see how both Christianity and feminism desire for fullest human flourishing, freedom from all forms of oppression and compassion for the powerless. Both involve aims of justice and self-reflection. Both involve seeing others as equals. That’s significant common ground. From this, I would gladly argue that Christianity and feminism can inform and empower each other.

Let’s just consider one important distinction. While there are lots of intelligent, well-spoken, wonderful, prayerful Christian feminists, there is a temptation to claim Christ was a feminist. People who do this usually point to the book of Luke, seeing how Luke the physician made careful note of how Jesus interacted with women and with the disempowered. The problem is that we apply a 20th century school of thought to a 1st century man (who happens also to be the omniscient Creator of the Universe whose ways are above our ways). According to Christian belief, God is infinite, eternal, and transcends all of our notions. To apply the label “feminist” to Jesus is actually to limit his scope. It’s a bit like saying “God is a builder”, “God is an artist” or “God is a parent”. While these things are true about God, he is not limited to any one of them. There is a great children’s book about this called Old Turtle, which I recommend highly. He is, in the words of Pura, “all balances struck”. While Feminism has been helpful in critiquing injustice, promoting women’s rights, and pursuing equality, Jesus is God, and his plan to restore humanity is larger than that of Feminism. Instead of forcing Jesus into boxes, no matter how nice they look in the catalogue, let’s allow Him to deconstruct ours. He promises “behold, I make all things new”.

We Need More Faith in the “F-word” [Part 1]

As I write this, Malala Yousafzai lies in hospital the victim of Taliban gunshot wounds, and she inspires me to reiterate some thoughts from last year on the state of equal rights for women:

Women now make up more than 50 per cent of those attending post secondary institutions, but very few are making it to the top. As The New Yorker pointed out last year in ‘A Woman’s Place’, “Among the hottest new companies— Facebook, Twitter, Zynga, Groupon, Foursquare — none . . . has a female director on its board.” This isn’t only true for Silicon Valley. In politics only thirteen per cent of seats are occupied by women while in the corporate world many women are stuck in C-level jobs. The majority of women, it seems, fill what have been named “pink collar professions”, industries like clerical work or childcare that are often low-paying.

At the school where I teach, a female colleague shared with me that she was glad that I was taking a job in the elementary school. Her reason: because males carry a natural authority that women don’t possess. “The boys just don’t respect women teachers as much as male teachers”, she expressed. Regrettably her observation may be true, even if her reasoning isn’t. I am the first male teacher many of my elementary students will have had thus far, and many others have expressed their satisfaction that a man will lead this rambunctious male-heavy class.

Females have fought hard to gain an equal place in society. Now, in the 21st century, women appear to have equal rights (at least on paper). But how much has actually changed?

Conflicts surrounding gender challenge every society. Westerners gasp at the concept of cultures forcing women to cover themselves from head to toe or to undergo circumcision. Yet even in the perceivedly liberal West, our patriarchy is as notorious as any for diminishing women in the worst way possible: by silencing them.

Through history, there have been witch hunts, church splits over appointments of female clergy, and omissions of influential women from history books (see The Book of Women by Lynne Griffin and Kelly McCann). Yet unlike other revolutions, (and we believe women have had their revolution), it hasn’t really been considered cool to be an “f-word” . . . a feminist. Does the word stir up a glamorous image?

Women maintain the same basic rights as men. However, they remain constrained by our ingrained social values. Let’s be candid here: can we celebrate equality when a strong man is seen as “powerful”, but a strong woman is seen as a “bitch”? Or conversely, a passive man is seen as “weak” and a passive woman is the booming pornography industry’s bread-and-butter? If the majority of males view sexual content in which the woman’s role is degrading, it’s no wonder that diminishing attitudes towards females continue to prevail, or even worsen in our society. I was disgusted this week at a youth rally when a young supposed “world-changer” grabbed one of my female high school students… somewhere he shouldn’t be grabbing.

Listening in 2011 to Vancouver station The Peak FM the radio ad for the census form caught my attention. First, a female voice gently reminded citizens that the deadline was drawing near. Then an authoritative male voice came on and said, “by law, all households must complete a census form.” At first I thought nothing of it; coincidence, surely. Yet our common mental associations with females and males respectively are motherly compassion and fatherly authority. The radio ad, knowingly or unknowingly, played to our gender identity associations. Two weeks later, the roles were reversed on the ad. It made me wonder if someone else had picked up on it…

Reflecting back upon my elementary school anecdote, are we still teaching our children to respect dad (the forceful one) but not mum? If so, we are deeply ingraining attitudes that continue causing problems for women in an old boys’ world.

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Music’s Limited Menu

A bland diet

Great chefs can create so many dishes even with a limited set of ingredients. They can produce meals that require you to step out of your comfort zone and acquire tastes. Some dishes might not be your natural inclination, but they would acculture your palate.

Unfortunately, establishing a regular restaurant clientele based on experimentation is improbable. “Go with what you know”, custom states. Most people aren’t looking for perpetual culinary adventures. To make money, it’s expedient to reinforce a limited menu with a few standard dishes and drinks (always seeming to include a few vomit-worthy light beers), offered with enthusiasm, attractive packaging, and daily specials.

In other words, one relies on how the options are presented to sell them, rather than the inherent quality of the options themselves.

Manipulating the market

Sensational music performances are everywhere. Yet, like a limited menu, the contemporary music industry relies on marketing to sell its products. Marketing has the power to present consumers with an option that they may not be inclined to pick, and present it as desirable.

This way, a music label can offer you a product that is average and tell you it’s great until you believe them. Once you’ve lowered your own standards, they’ve got you. The industry can sell you any average artist because you’ve been led to believe they’re all fantastic.

The truth is, the music industry:

  1. Sees music as a product.
  2. Sees fans as consumers.
  3. Trains consumers to desire their product.
  4. Manipulates their product to appeal to the greatest consumer market possible.

It sounds disturbingly mechanical. It sounds nothing like art.

Changing clientele

A great shift in purchasing took place in the last century. Products used to be marketed to adults; they were the only ones with purchasing power. Products were advertised in sensible, grown-up places like the newspaper. But in the 20th century, companies began to open the untapped youth market. Marketers found the youth were the most impressionable, and could be groomed to continue to purchase from them for years to come. It made a perfect business strategy. Glossy colour images, jingles, and catchy slogans came into force. Parents were encouraged to give children disposable income, and to purchase youth-targeted products (toys, candy, apparel, music, etc). You’ll probably notice that music has a definite youth edge to it nowadays. It’s not encouraging anyone to mature, but to buy stuff, party hard, and live with no regrets (even though some of the consequences are dire).

Dictating choice

A trick of the trade is to present customers with options and convince them of the importance of their choice. A radio station/music label/television channel will offer an option it has picked (for example, Justin Bieber) and expose consumers to it until it catches on. When Justin Bieber began his rise to fame, a lot of people snubbed him, saying, “Ha. Some twelve-year old kid singing about love. How ridiculous is that?” But Justin Bieber has been snapped up by one of the most powerful labels in the world with virtually limitless marketing potential. He’s been advertised as aggressively as the iPhone. Now, Bieber’s “BABY, BABY, BABY, OH” and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” are in the air like second-hand smoke, and we’re all breathing them in, mystified by their infectious, ubiquitous power. Struggle as you might, you’re still going to wake up with that chorus in your head morning after morning.

Oh! Look at that, they’re doing a duet! Never saw that coming. The fans will adore that.

If you enjoy being told what you should like and why you should like it, this is fine. But deep down, you don’t.

Before The Music Dies

Several years ago, some music fans were reaching a climax in their concern about where the music industry was headed. They noticed declining creativity and increased repetition in music. They took action by producing a fantastic expository documentary titled “Before The Music Dies“. The award-winning film investigated the issue of a stifling music industry. It features some pretty surprising interviews with a host of famous names like Dave Matthews, Eric Clapton, ?uestlove, Arykah Badu, radio hosts, and music industry executives who have the inside scoop on exactly what’s going on. It’s worth a watch below.

Distracting us from the decay

It seems improbable that in today’s world of mass media and social mobility that our music industry would be decaying, especially since the cream is supposed to rise to the top. Furthermore, there are more music artists than ever in history. It’s quality we need to worry about, not quantity. Lyrics are reduced to the lowest common denominator. Mainstream music sounds repetitive and unoriginal. The focus is on providing a groove you can “just dance” to. You can’t do anything but dance. If you even pay attention to the words, let alone think, it begins to scare you.

The industry doesn’t want us to think. Thinking is bad for the current business model, which centres on whimsical spending. Consumers are most pliable when they are distracted and anaesthetized. If music encouraged us to think, we might begin to call into question what is happening. We might realize we are not in actual need of the products they are selling us. We would be critics of the art, not consumers of a brand.

Today, great artists are emulated, but never surpassed. As it is today, the music industry will not support another Bob Dylan or another Tupac. Artists like Soulja Boy appear, glorifying the things they once lambasted. Who cares whether you have something thought-provoking or revolutionary to say? It’s not important. It’s peripheral to the system. The bottom line is money. Don’t upset the balance. Don’t stir the pot unless you are following their recipe.

Escaping the system

I don’t want to say that big-label artists are inherently bad, uncreative, stifled, emasculated, or to be avoided. I don’t want to say that entire music industry fits the description I’ve given. What I do want to say is that we’ll all be better off if we continue to think creatively about music, which, I will remind you, is art. The point of art is to challenge. To think differently.

Right now, we’re in desperate need of some art.

Video courtesy of Sam McLoughlin, a writer friend of mine whose innovative multimedia publication “The Default Life” this clip comes from. Read and watch it by visiting here: www.sammcloughlin.com