Erykah Badu and the Definition of “Art”

8 04 2010
Photo, Erykah Badu at the North Sea Jazz Festival 2009

CC Image courtesy of tnarik on Flickr

By now you probably know Erykah Badu‘s “Window Seat”  music video stirred a little controversy recently. In it, she strips down to nothing at the site of JFK’s assassination in front of a bunch of tourists who weren’t told it would go down. And if you don’t expect some of us to get worked up over naked bodies, you don’t know Americans very well.

Badu says she was making an artistic statement. Some of her defenders are pretty persuasive. But critics like Bill O’Reilly say the video isn’t real “art.”

The argument actually reveals the weaknesses in our use of the word “art” itself.  The appropriate question is not “Is it art?” The real question is,  “Is it good art?”

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To boldly split infinitives where they have never been split before…

8 04 2010

“A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct.”

Princess Irulan, from Frank Herbert’s Dune

This blog has been a long time in coming. One question had to be answered before I started. How can I write about big things (truth, justice, democracy, religion, etc.) and still make this fun for me to publish and others to read? I have little interest in reading blogs that are merely personal diaries, and even less interest in writing one.

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