Thursday, September 1, 2016

Skills By Any Name Are Invaluable

I've often considered social media, in almost all of its forms, to be like having a kind of low level telepathy. Sometimes you see a funny picture and immediately know if your friends are laughing along with it too. Other times it lets you know when your friend is feeling down, as you can pick out the subtext and go "Hey buddy, what's wrong?" Then there are the times when it lets you know what your friends are really thinking about you and your friends when you see comments like the following:

"Why should I pay taxes for someone who went and got a degree in art? They should be made to go and get a technical job where they're actually useful!"

"Yeah, they'd be too busy working but instead they got a job in liberal arts and now sit around all day doing nothing."

"Tax money shouldn't go to colleges that teach worthless degrees and instead focus on jobs that mean something."

First, let me get this out of the way: technical jobs, like electricians, plumbers, welders, mechanics, and the like are fucking INVALUABLE to society! When my house is flooded and I had no power, I relied upon the skill and expertise of people who know how to fix it. While I could try to put new wiring in the wall or pull up rotting floor boards, I'd much rather leave that to people with the skill to do it! There's this strange, fucked up elitist stigma that gets attached to jobs like those. "Of course he's a landscaper, he couldn't get a real job." Keep in mind that he's spending his day making your yard look beautiful for your Sunday brunch, but no, clearly there's something wrong with him for knowing how to safely cut limbs off a tree and dispose of them.

And that's wrong. Our modern society functions because of people with jobs like those. But you know what else is wrong?

Shitting on the artists, the writers, the make up artists, and the designers for "not having a real job."

Your grandparents knew how invaluable it was to have art in our lives. If you walk through your grandparents house, you will see paintings on the wall that they got from their parents. You may have even grown up looking at these paintings and dreamed about what they were and what was going on. I remember the old paintings in Grandma Spears place, even when they were as cheesy as a wood cutting of The Last Supper that was also a clock. I grew up looking at these paintings, and they added to her home. It wasn't just a blank wall that formed a shell for human habitation; the art helped make it a home.

The same goes for all the things we use that make life better for us. For all the posts I see shitting on those in the I see ten times the posts from them where they're excited about a new movie coming out or a book they read that they felt was amazing. I see people talking with their friends about how awesome DC Rebirth has been or how cute the new pair of earrings they found make them feel. 

Art is more than just getting paid to put color on a canvas, or sitting in front of a computer and writing words about Drake Manly and the Cave Of Endless Explosions. It's the thing that we use to fill our lives with. For some of us who sit around working jobs that we hate and wishing that we were anywhere but there, art is the thing that makes us smile. It makes us laugh. It's the glue that turns us from insects perpetually working a job until we die and instead makes us who we are. 

Art cannot replace the importance of technical jobs, and nor should it make people who do those jobs feel bad! I can write role playing games that provide escapism and fun for people but I'm not a plumber, and when I need to shower without sludge backing up into the tub I need the help of a guy who knows how that thing works. I could stand there and be haughty and pretend like his job doesn't matter, but then I would literally be stuck there with a tub full of shit because I disrespected the man or woman who knew how to fix it.

We need the Technical Schools to help us live as humans, and we need the Liberal Arts to feel human. It's not jockeying for position as King of the Hill, but instead a partnership for going through life.

No one needs to justify their job to anyone. Artists don't need to justify their work. You can critique it, and say whether you like it or not, but do not assume that just because the artist tried to make something that they are wasting everyone's time. 

So don't shit on people who went a different path than you. If I can make a suggestion, actually look at what they do for you. If in some way they make your life easier or brighter, then they've done their job. And if whatever they've done doesn't effect you in one way or the other? Then move on and find someone that does. 

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