Hypocrisy Rules, OK? Dept.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2013-04-01 14:00:00 No comments

Badass Interview: Kathleen Hanna And Sini Anderson On SXSW’s THE PUNK SINGER | Badass Digest

[Kathleen Hanna]: I believe in the power of failure, of public failure, I believe in changing your mind and being allowed to change your mind. It’s fine to be a fucking hypocrite. It’s fine to put out a record that everybody hates. ...

{Sini Anderson]: ... I think that what society would like us to believe, and people that make mainstream media and what they call art would like us to believe, is that we have to strive for some perfection. And if we sit around and strive for perfection before we put anything out, guess what? We’re not putting anything out.

Maybe "hypocrisy" is the wrong word here -- or perhaps it's the right word, because it is seen as being hypocritical, especially in any politically-charged public space (and what public space  isn't politically charged, especially today?), to change your mind.

Paul Krugman talks about this a great deal, albeit from the point of view of an economist who changed his mind about a few key issues and never looked back. When he surveys his own profession, he sees a great many people sticking with discredited theory after discredited theory mostly for the sake of political succor -- for the sake of being able to say they were "consistent". What good is consistency when it amounts to being nothing more than the stopped clock that's right twice a day, and sometimes not even that? Hobgoblin of small minds, and all that.

We don't mind this sort of thing as much from artists, in big part because we think of it as being their job to test-drive experience (and not always emerge from the vehicle unscathed). It's OK for them to entertain questionable things, as long as it's being done in the context of their art and not as something that spills over into the real world -- pace Mishima or Orson Scott Card. Outside of that sort of behavior, there is a respect for the kind of experimentation and "fail early, fail often" mindset that rewards persistence.

wrote earlier about how concepts of perfection only trip you up, both as a creator and an appreciator of things. That doesn't mean we can't look for, and demand, better -- but how we go about doing it makes all the difference. Being upfront and public about our failure and what we're looking for seems like one way to do it. Then instead of handing down wisdom from the mount, you are starting a conversation that encompasses the very people you want to reach. You still have something valuable to say, but it's a starting point and not a terminus.

Tags: art creativity creators