Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Loving your City: A prerequisite for art?

I'm feeling a little philosophical tonight, so bear with me.

Recently I heard the Beastie Boys' An Open Letter to NYC, and it has just stuck with me the past few weeks. I know it is a post-911 song and all, but there is still a lot of love doled out to the individuality and character of the city and I realized that I've never lived someplace that I enjoyed enough and was so interesting to immortalized in an love song to the seemingly inanimate yet breathing entity that is a city. I sort of envy that feeling.

Perhaps it is my own fault, as I may be closed off to some of the things that make my mildly cosmopolitan place of residence interesting, but love is probably the one thing that I don't feel. Or it could be that I indeed live someplace that has some problems. I mean, for a few years we had our art gallery at the mall to make way for a casino, which is weird in a sad way.

Now a lot of people love New York (if they didn't, they wouldn't buy the t-shirts, would they?*), Chicago (oh how I want thee), Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle... the list goes on and on, and of course a lot of laudatory work has been produced about most of them along with a fair share of derogatory works of verse, fiction and non-fiction. So I guess the more general question is this: can great art be derived from a locale that the creator is apathetic towards or outright loathes?

* I know they are for tourists. Really, I do.


Anomie-Atlanta said...

I think so. Hate can be as inspiring as love.

snackiepoo said...

I think you can find the good in the bad; maybe that even makes it easier because you have to search for the small things.

I have that love that you are talking about for the state of California in general, so I know what you mean. I don't love LA, blech....but CA as a whole, inspires me.

jody said...

I loathed where I grew up and couldn't wait to get the Hell out of there. I didn't even enjoy going back for visits until very recently so I too thought it unlikey for me to ever "fall in love with a place"... If I wrote a song about it... let's just say it wouldn't be a mellow one.

I love where I've been living for the past 6 years, can't imagine living anywhere else.

I also love the North Shore of Kauai and I literally shed a few tears everytime we leave there.

MC said...

A-A: I guess you are right. I did something like that in high school come to think about it for a long individual project about a certain American political figure.

snackie: The so-called gems in a field of coal-like apathy... (that almost came out as cola-like apathy, which would be both odd and perhaps strangely profound).

Jody: See, I wish I knew that feeling, as bittersweet as it is.