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To start with the assumption that all the many thousands of options available are equally valid, subject only to consumer choice, is deadly.

This talk never once mentions the two most important things in any debate about the arts: 1) what function does art serve? and 2) how can we tell the good stuff from the crap? In fact, Cameron operates on the unfounded assumption that the only values ascribable to art relate either to the market or to social services. At no point does he question the postmodern ideology that asserts all artistic objects to be of equal value-in-themselves.

It is vitally necessary now to question the role art plays in human life, for the simple reason that all those YouTube videos and amateur dances and instant concerts are not, necessarily, of any worth; nor are they, for that matter, necessarily art in even a broad sense. Why assume they are? Why be driven only by an economic/social idea of art as a commodity? This is a weak leftover of orthodox Marxism at its most absurd, seeing everything through economic lenses.

To see all created works of art as equal in nature and worth is to immediately banish everything outside the best-selling this or that to worthlessness. Sales become the measure of all judgement. And then to say that an artwork does something wonderful because it promotes some social agenda is nothing more or less than using art for propaganda. Gone, for Cameron, is art's worth as art - he doesn't even pose the question of what art's value is! This is thin intellectual work without any clear philosophical basis. And this approach is damaging.

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    Gail .

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    Mar 15 2013: I found the talk confusing because he posits some things that I do not agree with and some things that I do not foresee.

    He speaks of how the performing arts draw us together into our shared commonality. But is he looking at only the part he wants to see?

    Back in the 80s, I decided that it was time for me to educate myself. I didn't know how to do that, so I began learning about science and I started reading the classics. I subscribed to a series called "100 Greatest Books Ever Written". I was about 18 books into it when I realized how obvious it was that men had chosen the books and that women in them were generally devalued to one degree or another - even if she was the protagonist.

    When some of these books were turned into movies or stage productions, did they draw men and women together into their commonalities? Yes, if women are lesser people than men. No, if thy are of equal importance in the scheme of things.

    My generation was raised in the culture that told us that we were inferior beings because of our gender. It was a position upheld and encouraged by the performing arts for centuries.

    I love how art is being democratized. I'm glad that it has moved out of the realm of theaters and salons of the wealthiest who were expected to support rare talented artists. I enjoy supporting talented local artists. I don't need "experts" to tell me what I will like before I see it. I know that all art is not equal in nature, and I know that I like some things more than others.

    Cameron is not, in my opinion, suggesting that sales should become the measure of all judgment. In fact, he says the opposite.

    I too found his talk to be intellectually thin and not resting on any CLEAR philosophical basis. But I don't find his view to be particularly damaging. I find it to be irrelevant.
  • Mar 15 2013: Choice is often emotional not rational. That is a human problem.