Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bullshit or Not?: Leonard Bernstein Edition

There's an old sketch film called Amazon Women on the Moon and one of the bits is a parody of the old Leonard Nimoy show, "In Search Of..." called, "Bullshit or Not?" with the tagline "Bullshit or not? You decide." It's a line I like so much that I've stolen it for an irregular series of posts.

Yesterday was Leonard Bernstein's birthday, so let's go with a quotation from a man who was not only a great artist, but a great thinker.

"A work of art does not answer questions, it provokes them; and its essential meaning is in the tension between the contradictory answers."
Certainly it is true that some works of art can raise questions, give occasion for reflection that could lead you to deeper issues, but is this true of everything we would want to term "art"?

In the other directions, is it not possible that art can answer some of these questions? Can't art be used to express deep truths and not just raise deep questions?

So, bullshit or not? You decide. As usual, please feel free to leave comments anywhere from a single word to a dissertation.