Artists make lousy slaves: Why the arts deserve respect

In the words of the renowned author Oscar Wilde: “the artist should never try to be popular. Rather the public should be more artistic.”

With this quote comes a problem in the modern age of digital downloads, bootlegged music and YouTube converters that can get you any song at the click of a button. The public has lost almost all respect for people who make art and also for those who teach it, deeming art in almost all of its forms unworthy of respect.

Young men and women are losing out on a beautiful world or visual arts and music because they have been conditioned to disregard most of what they see and hear as useless.

In previous decades, when young people had to walk a mile to the record store to buy an album – yes I said buy, implying an exchange of currency – they took care to respect their purchase, keep it in good condition and treat it with respect.

Now that it is possible to download 80 songs in 80 seconds without spending a single penny, we have forgotten how to respect the valuable commodity that we possess. In forgetting this, people have started to demonize the industries that entertain them on a daily basis and that have entertained the masses for decades.

Films that take years to make, with casts and crews of thousands of men and women will sometimes see little return because of exuberant numbers of illegal downloads and bootlegs, effectively injuring the industry. Yes, movie tickets are expensive and sometimes it is easier to have a friend make a copy for you, but in doing that the industry and the artists suffer.

Imagine a day when music and movies have budgets less than $1 million no matter what because there has become so much theft that the industries cannot stay afloat. That is a scenario that is not too unlikely to become reality, with most major films making less and less money each year. Films and records made decades ago still have the highest sales and gross numbers because people were willing to pay for the entertainment that was being provided.

Not only are people today less likely to respect the art forms, they are less likely to respect those teaching the art forms. Art education budgets are being cut and eliminated all across the United States to make room for other subjects.

The subjects being funded by money that should be going to the arts are important in their own right, but deleting art education from a young boy or girl’s life makes them less likely to learn certain things.

Learning to play an instrument teaches dedication and persistence in the face of struggle. Learning to appreciate hundred-year-old works of arts teaches people how to respect those people who came before them. Finally, learning how to respect these things makes us all better people.

Some of the most respected societies in the history of man respected and loved the arts. We still see the impacts of these societies today, but the current climate in which the arts are struggling to survive will not be looked upon favorably in the future.

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