Every now and then, it’s nice to trip over something that puts it all in perspective…for example, all the great artistic fears and heated debates about selling out and so on and so forth are not new. Og the caveman probably took heat from his detractors when he was offered half a mammoth to paint purple rhinos on the cave walls of the Purple Rhino tribe. “Og,” they said, “It used to be about the cave walls, man. You used to do these amazing reindeer. What happened to the reindeer?! You just do rhinos ‘cos they SELL.”
Significantly more recently, the poet Issa, whom I quite admire, writing haiku right about the time that the American Revolution was winding down, wrote:
Writing shit about new snow
for the rich
is not art.
Tripping over that poem today made me happy. Not because I worry about selling out any more often than I worry about a whooping crane having a heart attack in mid-air and thus landing on my head with bone-crushing force, but because it’s just more proof that people are fundamentally people no matter where and when you go.