Why is art not considered “real” work?
4 September 2009 3 Comments
This may be something I’ve talked about (or at least alluded to) before on the blog, but I don’t remember for certain so I’m bringing it up again. Earlier in the week I asked this question in the Facebook forum: “Why are the arts and crafts not considered real work?” The responses went like this.
- I don’t know. Maybe through some false, Puritanical idea that work should be cheerless drudgery? That if you’re enjoying it too much, it’s not really “work”?
- I think it depends on whom you’re talking to. Great societies need art as well as industry and politics (Actually, do we really need politics?). I, for one, would love to quilt or knit, but I’ll apparently have to wait for Heaven to succeed at those arts.
- Arts and Crafts aren’t considered “work” because people can do them as hobbies or in their spare time and don’t realize that (perhaps) there is a great amount of craftsmanship and skill in what you do than in (perhaps) what I do, when I’m not punching a clock. The correct answer is, “Paul, we’d all love to do what we love to do but have to punch a clock and it’s more fun to mock you than to say, ‘I’m jealous.'” I’m not jealous of your vocation but I wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to do what I loved either.
- Probably for a similar reason that being a “homemaker & mother” is not considered “real work” — because it doesn’t bring in the bread.
Through the course of these responses, I began to wonder if part of this cultural sentiment might also result from the underlying and powerfully subconscious underpinnings of our mass producing consumerist culture. The value of handmade has, perhaps, been relegated to the status of hobby because such objects don’t make significant contributions to national statistics. They don’t pay homage to the god of the economy. They don’t create enough of the right kind of jobs.
The value of imagination, beauty, leisure, philosophy and so forth also fall short of the god of efficiency’s standards, all of which often tie into the arts. These things take time out of an otherwise productive life and are generally frowned upon by American society.
Those are the beginnings of my thoughts anyway, and I’d be interested in hearing more from readers.